It’s been awhile…but I got my groove back!

I finally broke out of my crafting funk!  Anyone still here to read about it?

I decided to make Kiarda her first big quilt (I made her a small floor quilt before she was born for tummy time and the like).  The focus fabric is the paisley that I used to make her room decor stuff.  I’ve had this pattern and fabrics hanging around since before she was born, and I figured now was a good time to make it for her.  It took about 20 hours total.  I’m particularly pleased with how my binding came out (save the one off miter on the back by the label, the only one that got photographed, go figure!).  I used Sharon Schamber’s gluing method, and MAN, that binding is damn near perfect.  I’ll be using it every time – it’s so worth the results!

Kiarda loves her new quilt!  She got all excited this morning when I gave it to her.  She proceeded to dance on it, roll all over it, pretend to go to sleep on it, and just be silly on it.  While she likes to get tucked in on the couch, she still doesn’t want blankets in her crib, so she’s not currently using the quilt for covers at sleep times.  Ah well…in due time.

Here are a few pictures of the silliness:

She’s got a pretty good downward dog, dontcha think?

The label. I decided at the last minute to use some of the leftover binding around the label, and I like how it turned out!  “Futterflies” is how Kiarda says “butterflies” right now, and it seemed appropriate given the backing fabric.

I also found a mini quilt – likely a round robin quilt in progress, from the looks of the piecing – in my UFO pile tonight.  I think I inherited this from somehwere, because I can’t for the life of me place where it came from.  It did have the coordinating fabrics with it to continue adding onto the center.  I opted to just square it up as is, quilt it, and bind it.  I’m pleased with my binding, but I’m still figuring out what the “magic” strip length is so that I can machine stitch down the back of it and not have too much extra overhang.  I went with 2.25″ on this one, and I think 2 1/8″ woudl be perfect.  Ah well.

Again, I didn’t piece it.  It did lay flat, though, so that’s good.  It came out ok overall though!
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Christmas stockings in progress

I have been wanting to make Christmas stockings for my husband and myself since we got married. I decided to wait until after we had children to do it, though, so we could have a family set. I did not get to make them in time for Kiarda’s first Christmas, given that at that time I was averaging about three hours of sleep a night spread across the entire night.

Anyways, I finally made a decision about how best to create the images in my head about how I wanted them to look: wool felt! I’m about halfway done with them so far, so here’s a picture.

Each will have a white cuff with the person’s name on it. There will be a few embroidered details, as well as a few snowflake sequins added to the background of each one. I think I will opt for a “less is more” with these – I want them to be whimsical and too much detail can detract from that. The stockings will be lined. I may use fun prints for the insides…will have to dig through my stash and see what I can find!

A few nursery items

I realized I hadn’t updated since I finished the things for Kiarda’s nursery! I made a valance, crib skirt, pillow for the rocking chair (my first zipper!), and painted some letters for the wall. I don’t have much to say, so I’ll just post lots of pictures!

I found this shelf at Goodwill a few years ago. The colors were HIDEOUS but the shelf itself was solid wood and in good condition. Here are the before and after shots:

Turning 20 top completed!

I’m calling it “Turning 20 30″ as I celebrated my 30th this February. (The pattern is called “Turning 20” for the non-quilters out there.) I thought it fitting. Edit: I goofed. This is a Yellow Brick Road. I’ll have to come up with another name, DOH!

There’s a little bit of yellow in two of the fabrics that I wanted to bring out, so I added the thin inner border. I’m really pleased with how this came out! The black dot fabric was the perfect finish, IMHO, as all of the colors of the dots are in the center. I thought a plain black border would be too plain for the fabrics I used.

Been busy!

I haven’t posted in what seems like forever. Just as the weather was turning nice enough to open the windows (and therefore not die of heat exhaustion in my sewing room), we found out we were pregnant! Needless to say, the fatigue of the first trimester put an abrupt halt on any potential crafting. I’m hoping there’s still someone here to read! 😀

Now I’m almost to the third trimester (Kiarda Nicole is due July 11!), and I’ve been busy making stuff for the nursery as well as stash-busting. My sister is pregnant as well, and due about 5 weeks before me. I made a few things for my soon-to-be-here niece, Eva.

Brace yourself, lots of pictures!

First, the nursery fabric I picked out for Kiarda.
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I’m glad I bought extra, because it doesn’t exist anymore. This was the Makower challenge fabric, and they told me that it has been discontinued. I can’t find it ANYwhere now. I love it! The walls will be the light aqua color, with an accent wall of the medium blue.

Here is the wallhanging for Kiarda’s nursery, which matches the one I made for my sister’s baby in design. The paisley looks odd from a distance, and the colors didn’t turn out quite right in the picture. The lighting in my sewing room isn’t the best for picture-taking!
Kiarda wallhanging top

Close-up:
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Backing fabric and binding – it’s hard to tell but the design on the binding coordinates perfectly with the blue cupcake wrapper!
Kiarda wallhanging backing

This is the one I made for my sister. The print fabric is what she’s using in her nursery.
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Close-up:
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I have been trying to do some stash-busting. As I started pulling out coordinating fabrics, I ended with enough for two tops of similar colors. I didn’t realize I had so much pink, turquoise, and lime green LOL.

A Snapshots by Atkinson Designs top. This will probably end up being a floor quilt/tummy time quilt for Kiarda. The dark pink border actually coordinates with one of the fabrics, but you can’t tell from a distance, or really, the close-up I took, oops! It will also be used for the binding. I couldn’t get the color to come out quite right – there is a pretty dark, royal purple and a chocolate brown with skinny black swirls on it. This entire quilt, backing included, is 100% stash!
Flamingo Snapshots top

Fabric close-up (see the flamingos?). The colors of the dots are pink, blue, brown, and green – so perfect for this top!
Flamingo Snapshots close-up

Backing for this top:
Flamingo Snapshots backing

A Turning 20 top in progress (blocks), also by Atkinson Designs. I just finished piecing the top (sans border – need to get some black fabric) but took this picture once I got the blocks up on the design wall. The binding will be turquoise, which I have also already made.
Turning 20 blocks

Fabric close-up:
Turning 20 close-up

Backing fabric – LOVE these cute frogs!
Turning 20 backing

Crochet baby car seat blanket

It’s been awhile since I last posted, but since summer nationals, I’ve a) been in a car wreck and getting over whiplash, b) had my sister’s wedding and all the craziness therein, and c) moved. Needless to say, I haven’t done much crafting! I did get this done, though.

I made two crochet baby car seat blankets, using a pattern by my friend Jennifer. One was blue and for my nephew-on-the-way and was given to his mom at a shower two weeks ago. I also did a purple one for a good friend, whose baby is due on Halloween that I’ll get to meet when I go to my conference in New Orleans in November. There is a hole in the bottom center so the car seat straps can hook through it. I took pictures of it on our friends’ baby, Mira. She makes a great model, don’t you think?

Christmas swap top completed!

I finally made a decision about the borders after much deliberation and several inputs – thanks everyone! I opted for a narrow inner border in cream, with the green holly fabric as a larger outer border. I’m pleased with how it turned out. I’ll probably bind it in either cream or red – or maybe mix it up like a candy cane? That might be too much. We’ll see. I’m glad I finally got this done – I’ve had the borders cut and sitting on my ironing board for a month. It’s about time!

It turned out much larger than I had thought it would be in my head, oh well! I’m holding it up as high as I can, and I’m 5’8″ – DH couldn’t even get it all in the picture. Sorry the color is a bit off, but you can get the idea.
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Miniature Booty Swap Quiltlet

I got my quiltlet done tonight for the Miniature Booty Swap. I’m running a bit behind (today was the mail date), but it’ll go out tomorrow so it should be A-OK. This swap was a kitchen quilt swap – and in addition to the quiltlet, we had to come up with a dishtowel to coordinate. I made a little crocheted one with variegated red/white yarn, to be used as a dishcloth for washing dishes rather than drying them. The yarn started out making kind of a cool pattern, but then it changed. I tried to square it up when done, but alas, no luck. It also has bits of pink where the colors transition…I hope it’s okay!
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My partner said she has retro red, white, and yellow in her kitchen, so when I saw the little bee fabric (a 30’s repro I actually LIKE) I knew it was perfect! I like vertical layouts on quilts, but don’t usually make them, so I decided to do it here. I left the inner columns (note: I *hate* that quilting instructions call them “vertical rows”!) shorter on purpose, to draw attention to the vertical aspect. It is just quilted in the ditch, and backing fabric is the WoW of the front, which has little line hearts on it.
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Another top done!

I started this top about a year ago with the intent of giving it to my friend’s daughter Leah on her first birthday, which is tomorrow (as is the party). You may remember I made this pattern in the same colors, but reversed, awhile back for older sister Shannon’s first birthday. I’ve been so swamped, I knew I wasn’t going to finish in time. Thankfully, Molly (the mom) understands. 😀 I did get the top done tonight, though, so that’s something! I have some fun flamingo fabric for the back (sort of like I did for Shannon’s quilt!) that I’ll take pictures of when the whole thing is complete.
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Fabrics close-up:
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Country Calendar BOM – April

I got another Country Calendar BOM block done! I still need to do March. I haven’t decided what background fabric to use yet, so I went ahead and did April’s.

I opted not to put whiskers on him; I thought it would be too much black, and I was happy with it as it were. So here is my block!
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Which border?

I got the center done for these Christmas Louisiana Star swap blocks that have been sitting in a pile for over a year, yay! I used a blue border to tie in the block in the center that has blue in the fabric, and I quite like the contrast with the reds and greens. The swap hostess goofed, though, and I got two of my own blocks back – see them? 😀 There is also a pinwheel going the wrong direction, but oh well. I’ll keep this quilt as a backup throw or something for the couch at the holidays.
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I also want to put a border on this, and use fabrics from my stash. Which of these do you like best? Each color coordinates (even if the lighting in my sewing room doesn’t show that), but each color gives a different feel to the quilt. The cream one says “joy” all over it and has some holly leaves, the green is straight up holly, and the blue is shimmery and glittery snowflakes.
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Knocking out UFOs

I got a lot done this weekend with Toni visiting me! First and foremost, I went stash digging and have enough SETS of fabrics for about eight new projects – to be started later, but after some more UFOs get done. She brought a little project for us to do together that was really cute…chicken pincushions! I used the wrong size square so mine is a little bigger and er…dumpier than hers but he’s still cute. 😀 Mine is on the left – of course, if you know either of us, the lime is a “Toni” color and the turquoise is definitely a “me” color!
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I also got the top for Cherry Cordial done. I can’t decide if I want to make a wall hanging out of it or use it as a baby quilt. I found some leftover binding from my neutral Jacob’s Ladder quilt and there’s plenty for binding this little quilt. I still need to square up the top – I had to do the corner triangles a little differently, so they’re a little too big…
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I made a penguin pillowcase for DH. We have those ergonomic pillows, and they slide out of traditional pillowcases. This one is an envelope style. I left it on the bed to surprise him.
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I’ve had this UFO for over a year. I had the blue and red batiks that I thought were so cool. This was originally going to be a baby quilt, but then the gal that it was for quit (we worked together). I didn’t finish it because there wasn’t enough fabric even following the pattern. Fortunately, Toni has this one at her shop AND I found the other one while digging in my stash. 😀 The top is as close to being done as can be at this moment. Toni – the one from the stash will get only the little square missing on the bottom right..
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Needleturn class, part II

The class yesterday was good and bad. The good part was that I learned some new tips and tricks, particularly with outer corners and preparing applique pieces. The bad part was due to how the teacher treated me for the first half of the day.

I went with Deana, and there was only one other person (a gal named Sharon) in the class with us. Deana and Sharon both teach classes at this store, while I have never set foot in the store as it’s almost an hour from my house and I’m never in that part of the Austin metroplex. The teacher made a big show of “Well, let’s introduce ourselves since I don’t know you” and pointed at me while emphasizing the “you.”

Then she starts talking about how wonderful the Civil War repros are, and they’re just fabulous for Jo Morton quilts, blah blah blah. Sharon had bought fabrics akin to the ones in the book’s quilt; I brought the ones I posted Friday and Deana brought black for the background and some of her hand dyes for the colored parts. The teacher seemed really surprised that we both went with bright fabrics, and later in the day she made a snarky comment about my using blue and purple for leaves – really? (Deana, did you hear that one?) It’s not her quilt. And I didn’t WANT a traditional colorway for this quilt. Nevermind that my fabrics go well together…

For the rest of the morning, every time she talked to me it was in condescending tone and like I had never touched a piece of fabric. Did she ask what our experience levels were? No. She assumed that because she had never met me I was a brand-new quilter that couldn’t tell a fat quarter from a pincushion. Deana picked up on it, too, which meant it wasn’t just me being sensitive.

The teacher would say something like, “OK we’re going to cut bias strips now…anyone need help?” When we all indicated no, I got up to use the cutting mat. I was positioning the ruler to square the edge of my fabric before turning it to cut along the bias. As I’m doing this, the teacher comes flailing up behind me saying, “No no no not like that you don’t cut along the straight, no no!” When I told her what I was doing, she looked suprised and was like, “Oh. Well. Okay then.” Sheesh.

You would think that when I a) didn’t have any questions, b) had all sorts of handy notions that she would talk about and realize that I had them (e.g. the mechanical marking pencil) and be surprised that I already had them, and c) brought a high-end sewing machine with me that maybe, just maybe, I *might* know something about quilting.

As the day progressed, and it became clear that I was “getting it” as I was the fastest worker, she got better and started talking to me as a fellow quilter. Sharon is new to quilting but has been doing garment sewing for years, so she was still trying to figure out handwork, rotary cutters and such; Deana. while not new to quilting or handwork, is a perfectionist and OCD about handwork, so she was slow because of that. 😀

At least I learned a few things, and I got to spend some time with Deana as it has been awhile. Here is the start of my piece:

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I’m getting better, bu it’s not perfect. I purpose did the leaves where not all of them are attached at the stem; I like the freeform movement of it like that. The little bit of turquoise isn’t out of place; the print fabric has that same turquoise in it. Also, the orange middle of the “tulip” flower is much more distinctive in person, and doesn’t really show well in this picture. There are leaves that go on the inside as well; I took them off for now so I can finish stitching the stem without the leaves getting in the way. I don’t think I’m going to make the whole top (with the pieced border), but rather turn this into a throw pillow and give it as a gift.

Needleturn Class

I’m taking a needleturn applique class tomorrow with a Deana, yay! I also already had fabrics that were coordinated in my stash that I can use. We’re doing the quiltlet on the bottom right-hand corner of this book:

I am using these fabrics:

I plan on using the cream in the same place as noted in the picture. I don’t want to do the second border of churn dash blocks; I think it overpowers the center and is off-balance. I’ll use the print where the book shows the pink setting triangles, and use the red/orange for the little triangles on the medallion. I think it’ll look good when it’s all said and done. Will post pictures and update tomorrow after class!

New BOM

I found this super cute BOM online. The girl that makes it is about my age and Dutch. Her blog is in both Dutch and English, and she makes super cute stuff. The instructions/patterns are in English. I’m using fusible for the applique but doing hand embroidery for each one.

BOM: http://elliesquiltplace.web-log.nl/mijn_weblog/
(Button at the bottom of the page)

I am going to use a little white in every month, so I can use white sashing to tie them together. That’ll also give me leeway to have fun with the background fabrics!

January:
The January is done in orange floss that matches the nose. You can’t really see the detail on the buttons, but if you go look at the pattern you can see what it looks like there.

February. Outer heart stitched in pink, inner heart stitched in white.
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Hawaiian Quilt

I finally have a (mini) Hawaiian quilt in the works. I have wanted to make one of these since I first saw one, but a) wanted my applique to look decent, and b) I wanted to know how to hand-quilt. (A) is still something of an issue, but I can do reverse applique ok – even with needleturn! Whee. I am taking this with me as we travel for Christmas, so I have something small for handwork. Here’s a sneak peek:

The colors are a deep, purple-y blue and bright turquoise. Traditional Hawaiian quilts are made of two contrasting solids – these are true solids, but they “read” like solids. I love the colors. 😀hawaiian-mini-sneak-peek

I thought this was amusing for a flamingo-influenced blog, but I’m sad that the flamingos didn’t put up a better fight.
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Miniature Booty Swap

Made this for the Miniature Booty Swap, holiday edition…wonder who it’s for? 😀 I’m going to assume that most of the participants don’t check every participating blog to try and guess which quiltlet is theirs, and I’m also relatively anonymous. I haven’t done this swap before, but I was asked to participate because I’m friends with Toni. 😀

I goofed a bit on the paper-piecing, but it worked out okay. I got the last bits for my package ready today, and once I get the ornament in the mail it’ll be ready to send off!

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Fencing tournament this weekend

DH took some pictures for me. He wasn’t sure what all to take pictures of so keep that in mind. 😀

Here’s all of our gear, before being (mostly) taken out of the bags. The bags are about the same size as a golf bag, to give you an idea of scale. Mine is the bright yellow and grey one, DH’s is the black one.

This is me at the end of getting dressed – the glove is always the last part! I always wear a hat backwards when I fence – it catches sweat, keeps my hair out of my face, and keeps my mask from jiggling around.

I just picked up my epees and was about to head to the floor when DH snapped this picture.

A picture of the venue. This was between events, so there’s not a lot of activity at the moment. The silver things are called strips (also called pistes, the French name) – the “in zone” if you will for the fencing bout. They are 14 meters long by 1 1/2 to 2 meters wide. Two meters at each end are a warning zone – if you can push your opponent all the way off the back end of his side of the strip, you earn a point.

Some members of my club (and me in my fencing gear on the right). The man in the middle wearing a suit is my coach, Paul.

Getting ready to put my mask on. At this point, my weapon has been checked by the referee and the bout is about to begin. DH didn’t get a picture of the next part, which I had specifically asked him to take. 🙄 You must salute your opponent (and if you’re courteous, also the referee, your coach, and the audience) before and after the bout. You also salute if the score becomes tied at match point (4-4 in pool bouts, 14-14 in direct elimination [DE] bouts), called la belle touche (“la belle” for short), or “the beautiful touch.” You also shake your opponent’s hand at the end of the bout.

The bout has begun, but barely so. I just came off of my “on guarde” line. And DH managed to get a picture of me in good form. Most fencers cringe when they see pictures of themselves in action, especially video. This was taken during the DE I won against Karen (also a good fencing friend).

A pirate dummy wearing top of the line fencing gear, made by one of the vendors, Scott. Scott and his wife are good friends of ours. Picture taken for Toni. 😀

Finalists for Senior Women’s Epee. You’re considered a finalist in any tournament if you finish in the top 8. I didn’t have a chance to get my shoes back on before being called up to get my medal, oops! The woman that beat me tied for third – she’s the tall one in the grey sweater. The lady in green (Suzanne) and the one in the navy blue and white jacket, fourth from the left (BJ), are good friends within the fencing community. I had to fence BJ in pools – it was a good bout that went 5-4, to her.

And we saw this great sunset on the way back into Austin!

Quilter’s Alphabet

I bought this panel probably two years ago. I ran across it while looking for something in my sewing room, and decided to go ahead and put it together. I bought the quilt-themed fabrics with the intent of putting them with the center alphabet – I’m proud that I remembered where I had stored them! 😀

A Quilter’s Alphabet

Close-up of fabrics:

Backing fabric: