27 February 2012

Rainy Monday

Today is a rainy, chilly day here and all I want to do is be in front of my sewing machine happily stitching away. Duty calls though and I'm working. Sorta. (What? I'm blogging while I'm lunching. Doesn't count.)

This is my final baby quilt of 2011. Yes, I'm well aware of the fact that we're months into 2012. He's still a little baby. It still counts.

I knew when I was told that this momma was having a baby that she needed the surfboard quilt. She grew up on the island and is a surfer. New little man actually has a tiny surfboard on the wall in his room.

Pattern by Crazy Old Ladies is here. Easy peasy. Came together over a weekend - with a few modifications. I reduced all measurements by 25%. I thought this made for a more baby sized quilt. I also didn't do the appliqued flower boards. Completing this thing quickly was more important to me than absolute adherence to the pattern. (And truth be told, I don't think I'm a huge fan of machine applique after a few disasters I've had with applique and washers. And since this is for a baby, I expect it will be washed a lot.)

I used organic sort of wavy line quilting which I think looks like ocean waves. I was a bit nervous at first because I was worried that it looked like I was a really bad straight line quilter but I think I ended up with the right effect.

This is the quilt that generated the scraps for the square quilt I posted last week. While I was cutting the surfboard shapes, I went ahead and cut the squares for the other. I bought half yards of each of the fabrics and used up almost all of it. Just tiny scraps left now. Just to recap though, fabric is Surf Baby by Carina Gardiner for Northcott Fabrics. It was cute and perfect for the baby's room. He has monkeys, giraffes, elephants, etc in his bed linens and the colors were a great match.

Check one more off the list for me please! Yip yip yippeeeeee!!!  Linking up to Sew Modern Monday. (I don't know why the button looks odd. . .)


26 February 2012

Sunday works in progress

I'm working on yet another baby quilt. This baby will be a month old tomorrow so I'm doing better than my standard lately of new quilts for six month old babies. . . I'm hoping to finish piecing the top for this today although that may be a bit ambitious since I've done very little sewing and it's nearly noon.

I also finished two more stars for the blue/grey/orange quilt I've been working on for James so I'm one-fifth through the stars for that. (I like percentages.) I've already got my next few lined up and it's turning out SUPER cute. I'm glad that I'll still be able to see this quilt on the reg even after it's out of my hands.

And on the long term goal front, I started an applique quilt. Needle turn applique is a new technique for me so it's very slow going. This was what I did last night. I bought the pattern last year when we were in South Africa. The designer of the quilt won awards for her version. The nice thing about her pattern is that it is really free form. The pattern is very basic sorts of line drawings as starting points for the blocks. And since there is no picture of her quilt, I don't have any ideas of what fabrics/colors/textures she used so I don't have any preconceived notions of how it is "supposed" to look. Which means I have to be resourceful and I can't fall back on what I've seen before. Particularly when I don't know what I'm doing, I tend to play it safe and reference the artist's idea of what something should look like instead of making myself the artist. I'm excited. This is the first (and smallest) of 19 blocks. They get large and very detailed. I thought this tiny pumpkin was probably a good place to start. My goal is to finish this one by February 2014. Simple goal right? Two years? And then I can enter it into my local guild's quilt show. (It's every two years and no matter how hard and fast I stitch, I don't think I'll make it into the show that starts this Friday.)

Finally, I had a friend talk sense into me while I was trying to baste my quilt for Kelly. It really is too much for me to handle on my own. I just don't have the setup to quilt something that large on my own. So it's going out to be quilted this week. In all honestly, it'll save me so much stress and probably be done faster. Plus it frees me up to work on one of the 22 other quilts I still need want to make this year. Yep. Two have been added. And guess what they are??? Baby quilts, of course. Sigh. . .


23 February 2012

Lulu's dots

I've known and adored my good friend Lulu for more years than either of us are happy to admit. We met in eighth grade and though appearances would lead you to believe that we wouldn't be friends - she was preppy, I was the one with the partially shaved head - we were pretty instant pals. In high school, if you'd asked her favorite color, she would have told you plaid. (She had this FANTASTIC outfit that consisted of plaid pants and a matching plaid jacket. You can't fault her for it. It was the eighties. I seem to remember it was Esprit but I could me making that part up.) We lost touch after high school. I thought of her often.

Cut to an undisclosed number of years later and I started work for a   major retailer in their corporate offices. It was my second day on the job and I was going through my predecessor's old files and I ran across Lulu's name. WHAT??? She has an unusual last name so I knew it had to be MY Lulu. I asked one of my new coworkers about it and it turned out that she worked just down the hall. Oh happy days! It was wonderful to find her and fall in love with her all over again. We've been friends now for years and even though I'm in South Carolina and she's in Atlanta, we do a pretty decent job of keeping in touch and seeing each other when we can. I miss her terribly and wish we were geographically closer always. Although that could be dangerous, especially to my liver. . .

My dear quilty friend Alice from whom I "borrow" many ideas made a quilt like this last year. I took one look at it and knew I had to make it and who would be on the receiving end when it was all done. It was a bit more difficult than I was anticipating but I'm happy with how it turned out. And I think Lulu was happy too.

And yes Lulu, I know dots don't go with plaids. Hopefully you can make it work anyway.

20 February 2012

One down, one to go

Here's quilt finish number 1 of the weekend. This baby is going my sweet little friend Liam, who is two and a half. I made this quilt for his new sister several months ago but just delivered it in January. When Liam saw it, his eyes widened and he said "oooh. pretty." and then proceeded to plop himself on the floor and roll around on it. I decided that Liam needed a quilt of his own.

All of the prints are scraps from baby quilt 2 which I'll show you in the next few days. The prints are from a line called Safari Baby by Carina Gardiner for Northcott Fabrics. The solids were from my stash.

And this backing fabric was initially purchased for baby quilt 2 but works better here.  I had an idea for that solid strip in the back that was much different in my head but I was really pleased at the way it ended up. The rest of the quilt feels so ordered that I liked the randomness of it. And no pattern was used. The idea came from a conversation with my sweet friend Alice about a quilt that she'd seen on another blog. I never could find the blog but her sketch got my brain whirring. It's 52" square with all of the print squares finishing at 4" each. Super easy. I just had to make sure that no two squares of the same print were touching.

The best part about this quilt and the one I'll show you next? I started cutting them on the 4th and finished both (apart from hand stitching binding on the 2nd one) in 15 days. That's kind of a record for me. Seriously. Full time jobs kinda get in the way of being a full time quilter. Can't a girl win the lottery or something???


18 February 2012

Work in progress

I'm no good at documenting works in progress. I have the feeling that nobody really wants to see a block here or there of an unfinished something. I know this is crazy because lots of people show things underway. There is the whole "process pledge" thing. I just don't do it very often. Which means that my blog is quiet a lot even when I'm super busy. And at the moment, I am.

I finished a quilt this week that I started back in September. I can't show it yet because it hasn't arrived at its new home yet but that should happen early this week and then it's fair game. And I'm this close to finishing two other baby quilts. I quilted one today and just have to finish up the binding and will quilt the other tomorrow. Then I'm not allowed to touch another quilty thing until I've finished my sister-in-law's Christmas present. (Kelly, I still love you. And I'm sorry I'm a slacker.) It's the biggest thing I've ever quilted myself and it is as intimidating as hell. I'll finish it too though because I have an insane laundry list of projects ahead of me that I'm crazy excited about.

So the little stars above - they're the start of a quilt for my sorta nephew. This was a quilt that I was completely obsessed with last year at this time. You know - the one that inhabits your every waking moment? I did the math and graphed it all out, collected the fabrics, spent a few hours with my Go Baby, made one star and then packed it away. I kept meaning to go back to it but the baby mill happening last year kind of knocked everything else off of my list. So I'm back on this one. My goal is that whenever I pull out my machine, I have to make two of these stars. Not a huge time commitment since all of the fabrics are cut. The stars above will make one row, with sashing. Only six more rows and a border to go.  "Inspiration" - or the place from where I totally ripped this off- is here.

Off for hand stitching. More so very soon.

05 February 2012

Knitting ahead

It's crazy to even think about right now since our February is apparently going to be mostly in the mid-70s, but we'll be going back to South Africa this summer and it'll be chilly there. You may remember that I knitted hats for our trip last year. They were pretty but not so warm. . . This year, I'd like to be toasty on the bitterly cold morning drives. (I'll also knit another hat for Scott but I think that might be the extent of my trip knitting.)

I loved this hat from the moment I laid eyes on it. I debated about what yarn to use and finally settled on Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter in Homemade Jam and Hayloft. On my monitor it reads more purple and chartreuse. I was a bit disappointed with the colors when they arrived. Scott tried to make me feel better by saying that they looked very Gryffindor - which oddly didn't make it any better. I hate when you have an expectation about something and it doesn't live up to that expectation. Anyway, I wasn't so disappointed that I didn't dive right into the project. My other beef with this yarn is that it is harboring lots of vegetation. That might be a selling point to some but also not my jam. I spent lots of time while winding the skeins into balls picking out sticks and twigs and grass. Let me say though that my complaining ends there. This yarn is a dream. It's stretchy, warm, fab. I'd definitely use it again. In fact, I think I may order some of the fingering weight for Scott's hat.

I'm pleased at the way this hat turned out. I wish that I'd followed the instructions and gone up a needle size on the body of the hat. The hat on the pattern is slouchier and I like that better, but I didn't have size 8 16" circulars so I made do. Now if the months will zoom by so that I can wear it I'll look like this -
South Africa, I can't wait to see you again.

01 February 2012

Ahhhh. Finishing.

Here's my first big finished project of 2012. Not the one I really need to be working on but my sewing machine was illin' - and not in a good 1980s way but in a way where it was making a crunchy sort of noise and was sometimes sewing on its own. . . Yikes. So I shuttled it off to be repaired last weekend and all seems to be right with the world again. Now I can get back to the big queen sized quilt that I need to sandwich and quilt and bind. The Christmas present that I haven't quite finished yet. (Love you Kelly!!!)

In the meantime, I felt more comfortable piecing together a little quilt. Figured I probably couldn't mess this one up too badly and it went so quickly. These were all blocks left over from this quilt that I made last summer. I started it last Tuesday and finished it last night. Happy. And my goal was to finish it before the end of the month and it was in the dryer before midnight last night. This little quilt will be going to a charity called Covering South Carolina Kids, an organization that distributes quilts to children in hospitals and medical centers all over the state. I definitely have several more donation quilts in me this year.

And can I just tell you how much I love Shout Color Catchers??? I know that I would have had red splotches all over this quilt and it came out with nary a smudge anywhere. I heard that there was some report that they didn't do anything but I always use them and they always come out some different color than when I put them in the wash. In this case it was red. Saved me, I know.

I have a hat to show you too but I think that will have to wait for tomorrow.  Time for me to go help with dinner.