Tuesday, March 27, 2012

pillow love.

I haven't been getting in as much quilting as before Lito's arrival, but I've gotten in a bit. I finished my glider pillow and its inverse twin.

I'm planning to send the inverse (pictured on the left) to my BFF back home. We've been friends since our freshmen year of high school, and she is also a HUGE hot pink fan. I can't think of a better person for my twinny pillow. I considered keeping it, but both would look funny on my glider, and I can't think of anywhere else in my home where I need a hot pink and white pillow. (Odd, right?) They both have envelope closure backs, and I used a large scale chocolate brown and white polka dot print for the back.

I also picked up a pillow form for this bad boy. It'll go on Banzo's bed, though right now, it's serving as glider pillow because the glider is--you guessed it!--still in Banzo's room. No plans to move it any time in the near future, but Lito is such a mellow calm baby (so far) that we haven't needed to use it. I'm surprised it isn't entirely worn out from using it with Banzo, but I guess its good quality is why it survived a glider-lovin' kiddo.

I've started quilting the solids quilt, and to be honest, when I sewed the first line of stitches, I was sure I hated it and would want to rip it all out. I persevered, and I'm glad I did because I LOVE how it looks. I was originally planning to place the quilting lines fairly far apart, but after making one run through the quilt, I decided I liked the look of lines closer together, so I'm going back between the existing lines and adding another. I'm always surprised at how much texture and interest the quilting adds to a piece. In the case of the solids quilt, I'm using a variegated purple thread and sewing in lines that are diagonal to the piecing, so the quilting on this quilt definitely stands out. I had hoped to finish the quilting last night, but first one boy, then the other decided that their needs stood above my quilting ambitions, and I find myself 80% (ish?) done. Hopefully tonight, but I'm tired, and sleep has to take a higher priority.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

gone curvy.


It may not look like much, but this is my first attempt sewing anything but a straight line using Agatha. The first lines were sweeping curves until I got a little braver and started making tighter ripples. Friends, I'm stoked. Agatha can handle curvy lines, meaning I can get on with quilting the pinwheel quilt. (Yay!)

Oh! And that blue and white blanket underneath? Handsome Assistant Numero Dos has joined our ranks! (Meaning, I have no idea when I'll actually get around to quilting the pinwheel quilt, but that was sort of to be expected.)

Friday, March 16, 2012

new fabric.

Armed with coupon in hand, this morning I slipped into my local Joann's Fabrics to hunt down some pillow forms. It's time to get some pillowcases stuffed, y'all!

Unfortunately, I left the store without pillowforms. I believe they had all of two in the building, and they were huge. Much too huge, let's say, for my 12" x 12" glider pillowcases.

But I wasn't terribly disappointed. I also left the store with a stack of fabric since the entire store's fabric collection was 50% off, as the store is closing.

Oh, still my beating heart! 50% off? Trust me when I say, I exercised great restraint and didn't buy several of the fabrics at which my heart (and my hands) leaped. I only bought fabric that I could see immediate plans for, and while I feel good about that, my feet are already wondering if I should head back to the store. Thankfully, my lovely assistant is taking his nap, preventing Mama from doing just that.

These are the beauties I picked up. It's impossible to pick a favorite. I keep clamoring between the different fabrics. I mean, who doesn't love a good herringbone? But the peacock feathers! But the purple! Did you see the pink? I even bought a half-yard of solid magenta fabric, which I feel is a good investment, just knowing my personality. 

If that wasn't enough, a friend of mine recently returned from a several month stay in Africa, and she brought me fabric. (Well, technically she brought Nathan and I fabric, but too bad so sad for him, I claimed it.) It is amazing and wonderful and fantastic, though very large scale (hooray!) and so awesome, I'm not entirely sure that I want to cut into it. It feels like I'll need a very special project for it. I've been wanting to learn how to sew a simple A-line skirt--and actually, I had a dream last night that my mama taught me how, which wouldn't surprise me because when I was a kid, she used to make us these elaborate Easter dresses, and so a basic A-line skirt would probably take her about fifteen seconds to whip up--and I think this fabric might be awesome used in apparel. Of course, I'll have to practice with other fabrics first because there is no way I'm learning with this gorgeous piece, but goodness! I'm excited! There is some debate--are the big red things mushrooms? Spinning tops? Parasols? I say tops, but maybe only the fabric designer really knows.

So! This weekend, my plans include locating pillow forms, purchasing batting, and hopefully getting some quilting done on the solids quilt. (You know, in between last minute baby stuff and other errands.) The above blue batik is my planned backing fabric, though that picture doesn't really show it off to the fullest. It's a gorgeous blue, but it features circles that contain white, orange, and purple that match the quilt top. Also, I need to pick a thread color for the quilting. Ideas? Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

glider pillow.

Last night, I really did intend to go to bed at a reasonable time. With Banzo's inconsistent nighttime sleeping and occasional screaming episodes (night terrors?) it seemed like the smart thing to do. I told myself I would just square up the half-square triangles for my glider pillow. I could start piecing them later....

After I had 16 done, then I figured that perhaps I should maybe start the sewing, but I wouldn't pull out my iron and ironing board since I could start pressing seams and finish the sewing later. When those were sewn, I didn't want to leave the seams looking so yucky, so I figured I would run the iron over them really quickly and then I could go to bed, really!

I'm pretty sure you've caught on by now, but when I finally stumbled into bed at close to 11, I had finished piecing the front of my glider pillowcase. (I did show some restraint and keep from sewing the envelope closure.) I'm happy to report that while we are still not BFFs, I seem to have forged some semblance of truce with the HSTs, and my corners are either perfect, or so close, I can't be bothered to change them or care! As you can see, I was tired at the end of this process, and my ironing is not gorgeous, but I'm excited nonetheless. I did stay up a few extra minutes to sort through my stash and see if I have any fabric to use for the back, and I'm planning on a chocolate and white large scale polka dot print that was actually used for Banzo's crib bedding. I may just take the time today to start working on that. (Oh, who am I kidding? Certainly not myself! I expect this puppy will be done tonight.)

Instead of cutting 16 HSTs, I accidentally cut 32, so now the question is, do I hang on to them and find another project or make another pillow, but maybe flip the white and pink? So. Many. Options!

I did finish piecing my solids quilt top, and I think I've decided to use the leftover solids fabric as the binding fabric. When talking to K, she had suggested a batik, which I think is genius, but I have the solids fabric, and I should be a twinge more conservative in my fabric purchasing and maybe just buy the batik for backing fabric instead? The added benefit to that plan is that I'll get to use more of it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

quilt #5. solids.

Yesterday, I marathon quilted with my quilting sensei, K.

I had my fabric washed and cut, and I had one set of strips pieced, but yesterday I managed to piece the other three sets of strips and cut all four into blocks. Of course, K managed to pretty much piece her entire quilt top, but she's awesome, so that's not really a crazy thing. (See why I want to be her when I grow up?)

I was a little frustrated when my 8.5" blocks turned out to be more like 8.25", but as usual, K was the voice of reason and calmly suggested I merely cut them to 8.25". Which was a good idea. Because otherwise I wouldn't have had enough to make five cuts, and I would've been even more cranky because I did my quilty math correctly! My fabric rebelled!

Pieced, they'll look like this, and I'm hoping to get the rows sewn today. Maybe the entire quilt top pieced tomorrow? It'll only be a little under 32" by a little under 40", so it's not a huge quilt. Then to decide on backing and binding fabrics. A part of me wants to go print, especially for the backing, but maybe the binding too. I saw a photo of some hot pink binding this morning that moved me, but obviously that won't work for this quilt. But maybe something patterned? Once I finish piecing the top, I'll take the entire thing to the store to look for the remaining fabrics. I didn't bother with the backing and binding when I bought the solids because there simply wasn't time. I do, however, have an idea for the quilting....

I'd like to get this piece done soon, but it may not happen before the baby comes. And with the severe discomfort this child is bringing, I kind of want him to come soon. Last night, my body was racked with flu symptoms without actually having the flu. I woke up this morning with a still sensitive tummy, but at least the chills and hot flashes had stopped. And the contractions, oy! the contractions! have disappeared. We'll see. As of today, I'm technically full term, so if I disappear for awhile, well, you'll have a good idea where I am.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I didn't really do much in the way of new year's resolutions for 2012. Nothing against them, and I've certainly had them in the past, but this year, I wasn't really in a resolution-y mood. I figured having a new baby would encompass everything, so why make huge plans? He'll be enough of a life-changer.

That being said, I did decide that this year I wanted to start making more gifts. The plan is that it will encourage me (hopefully) to plan ahead for birthdays instead of waiting until the last minute and then freaking out because I can't think of a gift. I made these things awhile back, but I needed to make sure their recipients had received them before posting photos.

I found this tutorial from In Color Order for a drawstring bag. You may have seen them around. They are popping up everywhere! I've made three so far, but the third (my personal favorite) is waiting to be gifted, so no sharing just yet. I made these two from a stack of five fat quarters. I used ribbon instead of fabric for the drawstring, mostly because I have a huge tin full of reams of ribbon, and it seems like a smart idea to actually start using it instead of just purchasing it when its on clearance. I really do love these bags, and hopefully I'll get around to making myself some soon.

Speaking of gifts, I've been trying to use more gifts bags because hopefully they are re-used by their recipients, but wouldn't these also work as great gift bags? Let's be honest, I also adore bagging stuff because it's much much faster than wrapping with paper. Hopefully I'll get around to making some of these before the holidays. 

Inside of these two bags, I included a box of tea and a mug rug. This one was a simple log cabin offset with two extra strips on the side. I saw someone else make a similar mug rug, and I feel terrible because for the life of me, I can't remember where I saw this, but I really liked the idea. White binding was perhaps not the smartest choice in case of a spill, but I really like how it looks. The scraps are from my first quilt. And of course, my paperchase polka dot mug completes it. But then, paperchase mugs make most everything look better.

I cut into my fabric for quilt #5 this week. Sure, I completely skipped quilt #4, and while I've basted quilt #3, I've yet to do any quilting on it. However! I need to get #5 done quickly, so off I go! Photos of beginning progress...maybe tomorrow? We'll see how I'm feeling.

How about you? Do you make gifts? If so, give me some ideas! I don't think I can gift everyone I know with drawstring bags and mug rugs!

Monday, March 5, 2012

log cabins and re-direction.

It's back to the drawing cutting board.

After a strategy session with my quilting sensei, the amazing K, it's infinitely clear that there is a lot of work to be done this week. Or re-done, rather. Well, some just done.

This is a good thing. One, after the uncertainty of last week's border dilemma, I had very little in the way of sewing to be done. (I had plenty of OTHER things to do, but nothing quite so fun, you know?) Two, it means that my final projects will be more to my liking, and that's always important. However! It means re-cutting, re-thinking, and probably most annoying, more of those stinkin' triangles. (We are going to be BFFs by end of year, let me tell you!)

I've learned an incredibly valuable lesson this week, or rather, it's been lingering in the horizon, but I've been choosing to ignore it until now: Do not buy fabric based on memory. Especially not a solid gray when there are several from which to choose. You will choose wrong, buy a bunch, and then you are stuck with it. Worse, you will have already built two blocks with the other gray, which means you will have to re-do those in the new gray because the grays don't match. True story. Worse, they are my HST BOM blocks, so triangles. 

Besides re-doing the first two blocks for the HST BOM, I'm also re-doing my third because the fabrics are bleh. TRIANGLES. (I think my least favorite part of that process is not the mis-aligned triangle corners, but the squaring up. It takes FOREVER.) The original two blocks I made I am planning to transform into pillows because thankfully, they are the perfect size for a completed 12" x 12". The third I'll probably burn. (No, not really. I'll take the seam ripper to it and remove the erring fabrics.) I don't think I would mind re-doing the blocks so much if it wasn't because I made a silly mistake. That's what irks, you know?

On Saturday, I bought fabric (solids!) for my solids quilt. With the fabric washed and pressed and hanging over my quilting chair recliner, I'm getting nervous. Is a solids quilt really a good idea for me? Yes, yes it is. Suck it up, Audrey. But I'm not allowed to cut into that fabric until I've made headway on my other projects, including finishing up the solution for Polka Dot Attack Pinwheel! 

I was planning to forgo the border on the quilt top, leaving the dimensions at 36" x 54". It would be a little skinnier than I prefer, but I couldn't find a border solution that I liked. In fact, I vehemently hated all of them. However, K's recommendation was that I sew up another six blocks and add a fifth vertical row, making the quilt top 45" x 54". Still thin enough to fit my batting, but much wider. However, this means my backing fabric (at 44") is no longer wide enough, so I'll be splitting the fabric and supplementing with something. To be honest, I've really enjoyed some of the backings I've seen lately that have followed this strategy, so I'm eager to try my hand at it. I think I have an idea of what I want to do, but I need to sketch it out, then pull the fabrics and see how it looks.

Yesterday, I was piecing log cabins like a madwoman. I managed to piece all six. Then, while my dear husband gave Banzo his bath, I sewed the row, then added it to the quilt top. I have it all ironed and ready to quilt sandwich, but then I remembered this morning that the backing isn't done. My plans for naptime have shifted, but hopefully I'll still have a happy (and productive) result. 

Finally, I picked up some magenta fabric to use for my glider pillow. Since my other glider pillow isn't going to work, I decided to make one specifically with me in mind, and what better choice than a proud member of the hot pink family? Then, regardless of where the chair finally rests, the colors will make sense because anyone who really knows me understands my hot pink philosophy, and all the rest, well, who cares!

Friday, March 2, 2012

hawaiian pineapple.

March 1 arrived and brought a whole bunch of quilting awesomeness with it!

March 1st, of course, means the new HST BOM design has been released at In Color Order--maybe I'm a little too excited about it, but this is my first quilt-a-long, and I'm really enjoying this monthly dealio, even if triangles and I are still not friends. In my March 1st moments of leisure (which equaled about five minutes) I picked out my fabrics for March's block. Today, I hope to get my triangles cut and sewn. (I'm also drooling over this QAL, but I'm showing restraint!)

I think I found a solution to my Polka Dot Attack Pinwheels! border problem. (Mucho exciting.) More on that later.

And if those two pieces of awesomeness weren't enough, a good friend brought me back a souvenir from her recent trip to Hawaii--a pineapple Hawaiian quilting kit! And because she knows me so well, she brought me a hot pink kit. Hawaiian quilting is intense and apparently applique-heavy. My pineapple will be my first adventure in applique, and that makes me nervous, but when I have more of those moments of leisure, I am super excited to put it together. It is supposed to be a potholder when all is said and done, but the non-pink fabric is bright white, and pot holders in this home get trashed and stained within minutes. My plan is to finish it up as a single block, add corners to the back, and I'll hang it in my kitchen. They suggest outline quilting the applique (or even echo quilting, oh la la!) and I may try to outline it by hand. We'll see. I'm pretty stoked to have a hot pink pineapple hanging in my kitchen so I may not be willing to wait for the time it takes to hand quilt.

That photo doesn't do it justice, but it's thunderstorming outside, so the lighting is junk, and I'm too excited to share my hot pink pineapple to wait for a better photo!

Since I still have solids on the brain, and I still need a pillow for my glider, I put together a new plan of attack, and I'm hoping to start on it next week.

Let's tally this up, shall we?

--Polka Dot Attack Pinwheels! -- quilt top pieced minus border
--March HST BOM -- fabric cut
--Pineapple Applique Mini -- not started
--Quilt #4 (solids baby) -- idea sketched
--Glider Pillow -- idea sketched
--Quilt #5 (sept. baby) -- idea forming

And here I never thought I'd be the kind of girl with multiple projects simmering. After tomorrow, I hope to have some fabric to make some of those ideas start to come alive. Yikes!

Adios, friends!


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