Whoops.

I did not intend to take more than a year off from my blog. It began with a brief lack of interest in sitting down to sew. When I got back in the groove, I was so focused I didn’t want to dedicate what would otherwise be sewing time to blogging. I blame hormones. You see, THIS happened during my hiatus.

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He’s five months old now. My best WIP yet.

Anyhoo, I was back in the groove. Then I developed gestational carpal tunnel syndrome. I hadn’t even known it was a thing. So, back to no sewing. For FIVE months! It taught me an interesting thing about my quilty self, though: When I can’t sew, I am compelled to BUY. ALL. THE. FABRICS. It got kind of ridiculous. I think my stash doubled in size during those months.

I also spent a lot of time stalking YOUR blogs, even though I wasn’t typing any comments. And let me just say wow. WOW. You have all made some incredible things. Inspiring. All that cool stuff is part of what made me buy fabric. (See how I managed to blame part of it on you?) So that as soon as I could sew again, I could make similar cool stuff.

Oh, and we bought a house and moved. Apparently we are gluttons for punishment.

Once I delivered, the pain in my wrists and forearms vanished, but how much time can you dedicate to quilting with a newborn around? If you’re me, not very much. But he’s growing, I’m learning, and every now and then I get to slice into some fabric or stitch a few seams.

So, since I last blogged, here is a very brief rundown of quilting progress:

*My Beanstalks quilt is nearly complete–it just needs to be trimmed and bound at this point.

*I finished and gifted the VOWIP. My aunt loves it.

*I made two baby quilts.

*I started another baby quilt that just needs the binding. (This is actually a family quilt because I didn’t get to make quilts for the two big brothers and they would have been jealous.)

*I started yet another baby quilt, but this one faltered at the piecing stage due to a miscarriage. I haven’t yet decided whether to complete it.531

*I traveled to Kodiak, Alaska to visit my sister and take a Quiltworx class. I started the Fire Island Hosta Queen, but haven’t been able to work on it again since.

*I made some progress on my husband’s quilt. It’s my own design (as I go), which means I often get hung up as I decide how to proceed. (Sorry, no current photo for you.)

*I finally made a quilt for MY baby.Β  πŸ˜‰ Only four months after he was born. He’s laying on it in the photo above, but here’s a shot of the whole thing. It’s the Gumdrops pattern from “Sunday Morning Quilts.”002

*I’ve cut out and started piecing what I’m referring to as “Big Swoon.” It’s currently on my design floor. It’s queen-sized, so I can’t really do anything else until I get it out of the way.048

I’ll do my best to blog in more detail about the finishes, and give progress reports on the in-progresses. At least, I really hope to try, as this space originally had two purposes for me: 1) document my quilting, and 2) allow me to connect with other quilters. Neither will happen if I don’t carve out some time to actually sit down and write. Right?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednedsay: The Stalks are Growing

My primary goal over the past week was to get my wedges stitched together for the Tula Pink Beanstalks quilt I’m working on. 008

Having accomplished that, I hemmed a pair of work pants that I’d purchased something like six months ago. Embarrassing. And there’s another pair waiting.

Then I wanted something quick and fun and NOT beanstalks, so I took a look at Sarah’s September palette for #opgivewarmth. The Pirate Block from 13 Spools had been on my mind since I stumbled across the tutorial earlier this summer, so it seemed a “two birds, one stone” kind of moment. Here’s what I came up with:001Adorable, right? However, the first time I read through the tutorial, I didn’t really pay attention to how teeny tiny those finished squares are. One half inch by one half inch doesn’t leave much room to press your seams open, but it is quite excellent for using up very small scraps. As much as I really do love the end result, I’m going to try up-sizing it just a bit on the next go. I’ll aim for the smaller squares to finish at 3/4 inch. Could be a complete failure.Β  πŸ˜€Β  I’ll let you know either way.

As always, I’m linking up to Freshly Pieced. There’s always so much good stuff to see at the link-up! Plus the chance to win quilting goodies.

WIP Wednesday

“Peace In Color”

A.k.a. the MIL Quilt. Since it was for my mom-in-law, I asked my husband to help brainstorm names. He took one look and said, “Peace In Color.”

#LotusQuilt

#LotusQuilt

A few of you have already seen it, as I shared the finished top last month. (I also posted progress here, and fabric purchase here.) I added some white to the back to lighten things up a bit. Also those Jane Dixon poppies are awesome (you can still get some here), but the white of the background was just too bright to work on the quilt front.

"Peace in Color" back.

“Peace in Color” back.

The Laura Gunn “Daylilies” and “Tile Mosaic” fabrics had been lurking in my stash for a few years, waiting for the perfect project. And even though they lean more toward aqua than the “deep teal” my MIL requested, they provided just the right jumping-off point for me in terms of color. This was not a combination I would have been comfortable creating on my own.

Then I set about finding some deep teal fabrics to coordinate, which led me to one of the Moda Bella solids (sorry I can’t remember which one!) and more Laura Gunn (Painter’s Canvas in teal). Several of the reds came from my stash, and more came from various Christmas fabric collections–it seemed when I was shopping that they had the best “true” reds. One of my favorites is this crane print from Kona Bay Fabrics circa 2008:

Due to the large scale of the design, many cranes were decapitated during the making of this quilt.

Due to the large scale of the design, many cranes were decapitated during the making of this quilt.

And my unexpected favorite block came from a random Asian-inspired fat quarter. There was no selvedge, but I’m going to guess it lived in my stash at least as long as the cranes did before finding a home. I love the way the ombre stripes radiate out from the center.

I think it would be fun to make another #LotusQuilt that intentionally uses stripes as part of the design. This was a complete accident.

I think it would be fun to make another #LotusQuilt that intentionally uses stripes as part of the design. This was a complete accident.

I selected a floral (pansy?) pantograph stitched in aqua thread. I was too lazy This quilt was too big for me to wrestle it through my machine. πŸ˜‰

Once the binding was on, I took it downtown to a mini arts park here in Vancouver (the original Vancouver, not the cool one) and photographed it around the shoulders of a statue called Winged Woman. I felt the statue represents some of the qualities I see in my mom-in-law, plus it coordinates with the quilt.

Sadly, some jerk decided she needed metallic-marker alien eyes on her face. I disagree.

Sadly, some jerk decided she needed metallic-marker alien eyes on her face. I disagree.

011 007 009Then I packaged it up and sent it off to my MIL for her birthday. She cried tears of joy when she opened it. That made me happy. Not the tears part. The joy part.025Quilt Stats: 70 x 90 inches; from the pattern “Lotus” by Julie Herman/Jaybird Quilts; completed August 2014.

Notes for next time: 1) I’d like to play more with stripes and color placement to emphasize different aspects of this pattern. 2) Consider starching fabrics before cutting–especially the large jewel shapes, as the bias edges can get a bit wavy as you work with them. (I’m probably too lazy to actually do this, but I want to at least remind myself to think about it.) 3) When assembling the rows, start from one side and add one triangle block at a time. On this first go, I chain pieced two blocks at a time, then stitched those to create sections of four blocks, etc. It meant that my last seam for the row was in the middle, combining two long chunks like this:002It was a bit awkward to work with long pieces that angled off in different directions, and I think it contributed to the stretching of the bias edges I mentioned above. This would be even more exaggerated with the queen/king size.

I do highly recommend this pattern and the HexNMore rulers it’s based on. The combination of straightforward written instructions and clear illustrations make it super easy to be successful, even if you’re like me and you only read the directions if the pictures don’t make sense.Β  πŸ˜‰

Linking up to TGIFF, hosted this week by Ms. Midge. Her Metro Twist finish is so pretty!tgiff-button-blog

Someone is loved.

This is what 49 QAYG blocks look like all in one stack.

The block on top was made using an orphan flower from my Radiant Orchid challenge quilt, Rainy Day Garden. And no, I haven't finished that one, either.  ;)

The block on top was made using an orphan flower from my Radiant Orchid challenge quilt, Rainy Day Garden. And no, I haven’t finished that one, either. πŸ˜‰

I finally boxed them all up and sent them off to Alison for her Soy Amado project. Yes, I am very late in doing so. Something strange was happening in the interwebs and my comments were not showing up on her blog for a long time. By the time I succeeded in contacting her, she had already reached her project goal. In spite of that, she agreed to take them. I don’t know if they’ll end up as Soy Amado quilts, or if she’ll utilize them for another group in need, but I’m excited to see what other blocks they get combined with. They should arrive on Alison’s “Little Island” today or perhaps early next week. So you’ll have to keep an eye on her blog for the “real” finishes.

Since I hadn’t photographed them earlier, here are some of the last few blocks I quilted to complete the stack:

I didn't want to let this one get girly, so I kept the quilting simple. It ended up reminding me of Tron lines, though.  :D

I didn’t want to let this one get girly, so I kept the quilting simple. It ended up reminding me of Tron lines, though. πŸ˜€

To quilt this block, I attempted to imitate the design from the Quill fabric (part of Valori Wells' collection) in the center.

To quilt this block, I attempted to imitate the design from the Quill fabric (part of Valori Wells’ collection) in the center.

The quilting shows up better on the backs of these two: spirals practice and Leah Day's Heart Confetti. I'm not generally a heart kind of girl, but I really like the way this turned out AND it was super easy.

The quilting shows up better on the backs of these two: spirals practice and Leah Day’s Heart Confetti. I’m not generally a heart kind of girl, but I really like the texture this design created AND it was super easy.

I also finished adding borders to my VOWIP. I decided that my aunt would like it better this way. So the top is now done and I am piecing the back.001

That’s it this week, but I’m sooooo close to finishes on two other quilts. I hope to have at least one of those to share next week. Linking up to TGIFF, hosted this week at Quilt Matters.tgiff-button-blog

Delay

I must confess these were added to my stash sometime in late June, but haven’t had time to photograph them until now. I succumbed to another of those dangerous emails that tell me what a great customer I am and here’s a coupon for my next purchase and it’s even valid on sale merchandise. They know I’m a sucker.

First up, some loveliness from Valori Wells‘ Quill and Blueprint Basics lines. I love these collections so much. If I could justify it I’d buy a whole bolt of most of them. I’m still waiting for the fall colors to be made available so that I can finish what I started at Portland SewDown, but these make me happy for now.

Top to bottom: Gratitude in Olive Leaf, Blueprint Basics Sun Kissed, Gratitude in Fig, Blueprint Basics Grappa, Salsa, and Iron.

Top to bottom: Gratitude in Olive Leaf, Blueprint Basics Sun Kissed, Gratitude in Fig, Blueprint Basics Grappa, Salsa, and Iron.

Next, I scored some of the “Out to Sea” line by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller fabrics. I’d used the Nautical Map print in blue to back a quilt I made in July of last year and loved it, but what sealed the deal here was the Find the Narwhal print pictured last. Irresistible! I currently have three (!!!) co-workers who are considering adding to their families, so these will get made into something for the first one to have a girl.019 020 021 022 023

Finally I selected some of the prints from the Mod Geek line by Sarah Johnston, last year’s Fabric8 winner on Spoonflower. (This link is for this year’s win–so beautiful!) I don’t know why it took me so long to buy these. They speak to the science nerd in me. πŸ™‚

Left to right: Atoms Green, Neutron Zig Zag Grey, and Stripe Dark Grey. They are all from the Atmosphere colorway, and are sitting on Eyeglasses in Grey. There is also a Retro colorway which is blues and oranges.

Left to right: Atoms Green, Neutron Zig Zag Grey, and Stripe Dark Grey. They are all from the Atmosphere colorway, and are sitting on Eyeglasses in Grey. There is also a Retro colorway which is blues and oranges.

Ultimately this last little stack will be combined with an Alexander Henry print I bought ages ago and have been waiting for the right fabrics to pair it with. I want to make a quilt based on this sentiment.Β  πŸ™‚

Future-ella.

Future-ella.

Happy stashing! I’m linking to Molli’s Sunday Stash par-tay. See you there!molli_sparkles_sunday_stash_button

VOWIP

We–or maybe just I?–need a new acronym. Very Old Work In Progress. Only because So Old I’m Embarrassed To Admit It Work In Progress is too cumbersome. I don’t even know how I’d pronounce SOIETAIWIP, so VOWIP it is.

Anyhoo. My best guess at the age of this WIP is eight years. It might be as much as ten. Yikes! These blocks were originally destined to be a quilt that would coordinate with the eggplant-colored sofas of a best friend.

Paper-pieced designs from Carol Doak's "40 Bright & Bold Paper-Pieced Blocks."

Paper-pieced designs from Carol Doak’s “40 Bright & Bold Paper-Pieced Blocks.”

Before I could finish, she met her Mr. Right. When they moved in together, he “made” her get rid of the purple sofas (too feminine), she “made” him get rid of the nasty-gross thing he’d been sitting on, and they bought something they both liked. Lovely for them, but bad for me–the new sofa was not going to look good with these fabrics. So the whole thing got sidelined.

Fast-forward to a couple months ago, and a comment by my mom provided me with an idea to re-purpose these into a gift for one of my aunts. She did all of the printing for my wedding in 2012 and would not let me pay for any of it. An incredible gift, right? Right!

So, I grabbed the blocks and all the fabric I’d stored with them and made two moreΒ  on Saturday for a total of nine.005 004Then I spent much of Sunday (more than three movies!) removing the paper backing from each one. BTW, does anyone else despise this part of the paper-piecing process? I love the end result, but egads! I detest that stage.

While doing that, I discovered some incredibly scant seams hiding under all that paper.

Yowza! I still have plenty of that green fabric left over, so I have no clue why I didn't just cut larger pieces!  :P

Yowza! I still have plenty of that green fabric left over, so I have no clue why I didn’t just cut larger pieces! πŸ˜›

Here’s what I decided to do to reinforce those seams.

I very, very narrowly top-stitched around the scant triangles.

I very, very narrowly top-stitched around the scant triangles.

Here’s a good tip from Lily’s Quilts if you have to fix one yourself. I skipped the interfacing this time because I felt I had just enough fabric that it wasn’t necessary.

Monday I cut setting squares and began stitching them together with the pieced blocks and finished this much of the flimsy yesterday.

This is more traditional than most things I make these days, and the only sampler quilt I've made to date.

This is more traditional than most things I make these days, and the only sampler quilt I’ve made to date.

Now I’m trying to decide whether to add borders. I kind of dig it like this, but my aunt’s tastes are more traditional (thus the reason this was perfect for her), and I feel like she might see it as “missing something.” Opinions?

Also since last Wednesday’s post, I got all of my Beanstalk strip sets sewn together. Now I’m just waiting for more of the background fabric to arrive in the mail. Heh. Bit of a mistake caused the need for that, but you’ll keep my secret, right?002

As always, I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. (Never mind! Lee’s on vacation! Good for her!) May all your WIP’s and VOWIP’s become finishes!WIP Wednesday