I’ll make this short and sweet.

  

My to-finish list this quarter includes my two holdovers from last quarter which, at this point, are tops, backs, and batting awaiting services of my long-arming friend.

I have been consulting on a large-ish quilt for a Disney-loving little lady, but I’ve yet to firmly decide whether to take on the project. If I do, it needs completed by June.

“Baby Sets” refer to the number of friends pregnant along with me! Among my friends, there is one baby due per month between June and September. I’d like to get all the shower sewing done in one go, so I’ll make four of everything (probably a quilted bib, a softie, and an article of clothing). 

I cut all the pieces for the X+ quilt I’m working on for a friend. It won’t be a proper finish, but I’d like to at least finish the blocks and piece the top.

  

Not sure if I will get to any lap quilts, but I may be able to complete a few holdovers from my Lillian’s Stitches days. (Apologies for the poor lighting.)

   

 

Two Soaking Quilts are ready for quilting as well! Can you tell I am trying to clean out my wardrobe of incompletions?

Finally, I volunteered to make a new version of a four-year-old’s favorite stuffed monkey. Chocolate Milk will be remade in pink, but the project is a bit daunting as the original has lots of pieces and cannot be taken apart for a pattern. Yikes! Here’s hoping it works!

  

Linking up with the 2015 Finish-Along!

This is why I don’t throw away tiny scraps.

   

 

While in England, I hand-pieced half-square triangles trimmed from corners of bee blocks into a free-form unit, then later added swaths of favorite fabrics. The piece was up on my design wall until inspiration struck. I folded the piece in half, then drew a rough outline of a kitten on a scrap of junk mail lying around. After cutting out the kitten, I decided to line it with batting, so I dove into my scraps there, too. A few quick stitches later, he was ready to stuff stiff and ladder stitch finished. He came together so quickly that I expect to make more! But maybe I will omit all the hand-stitching.

I got teary when he was done. I could easily imagine, really for the first time, tiny fingers grasping the tail, or tiny gums chomping on the ears. And he coordinates with the two baby quilts, so he will be right at home in the nursery, like a first friend. Hard to believe it’s all really happening, but little by little (or should I say kick by kick?) it’s sinking in:  in a few short months, I get to meet my first baby!

We have come to the end of the first quarter of 2015! I had four quilty goals, and though I made tremendous progress, I only fully completed two. My first was a baby quilt, and this second is – surprise! – also for the baby!

      

I pieced the top from sampler blocks, then sandwiched it with two layers of batting scraps and a favorite IKEA print on the back. I think all that wacky batting affected the tension as I wrestle-quilted each block separately. Going back and sinking threads was also time consuming. But over all, I love it! Until the little one is ready for tummy time, it may drape over a crib or changing space to facilitate vision development. Mommy will at least love looking at it – if I can ever tear my eyes away from him once he is here!

Someone was nosing around the remnants of our woodpile…



He is a native of Tennessee river systems and quite friendly. He is an original design and made of repurposed cast off clothes. Little toes and webbing are quilted with batting scraps; that telltale tail is filled with Insul-Brite, delightfully crinkley to hear. I embroidered his face, hesitating over the teeth as they seem more prominent in illustrations than photographs. But I like how he turned out. He will make a sweet squishy friend for the bun-in-the-oven!

Once upon a time, years before I met my husband, I cut up a striped cashmere top and a thrift store silk necktie. Yesterday, thanks to the snow and ice, those pieces became a bunny! (Pattern and tutorial via the Purl Bee.) I’m proud of the way he turned out, especially as I had to navigate matching stripes, stretchy knit, and bias-cut, slippery silk!





After a romp in the snow, he warmed by the fire and wrapped in the baby’s quilt! He looks quite at home there, I think.

He is floppy and squishy in all the right places, and he is so very soft! His satiny ears remind me of the “slicky” appliqué blanket I rubbed raw as a baby. Later, I realized that the embroidery thread I used for his face is the same my mother used on the Raggedy Anne’s and Andy’s she made for my brother and me before we were born. I am so happy to be part of a line of mothers who demonstrates care and affection through the work of her hands.

Once upon a time I fell in love with an adorable fabric, and I made the cutest baby quilt top I could imagine. Thanks to recent snow days (and encouragement to Finish-Along), it is now finished!



And it’s about time, too, because come August…



… Our family of two will become three!

Looking forward to lots of baby and pregnancy sewing to come! Oh, and the bun in the oven, needless to say, is a dream come true. We can’t wait to meet our tiny human soon!

This past week had me iced- and snowed-in for several days. The few days I did get to work were a delight as our clientele (i.e. the city’s poorest 3- to 5-year-olds) could not be bussed in. Thus, I had days on my sewing machine at home and days with portable projects! Oh, such glee and delight! I have several completions to report!

I have been sewing through my quilt resolutions, but on occasion, some spontaneity is needed. With the wintery weather, I felt blue for my second home in Newcastle, England. Putting my heart into action, I decided to make something for my English mama, a thank-you for precious breakfasts of dippy eggs and buttered toast soldiers and proper tea.









The block “Love in a Mist” seemed perfectly reminiscent of moist, windy English weather. That bunting print was too apt to chop up, so I modified the block slightly to compensate. I made two small blocks for a tea cosy and a 12-inch block for the table topper. That table topper got bigger and longer spontaneously (there’s that word again!) but I couldn’t help using as much bunting as I could, and I couldn’t get enough of that charcoal grey dot!

Both gifts are tucked away with a handwritten note, ready for a stop at the post office. There is something so indescribable about making something for someone you love, but I guess that is the point of creating:  the creation speaks for you. These pieces are memories of kindness, appreciation for tenderness, a reflection of my DNA which now spans two continents in a way I could never have anticipated. It is a small thing, a small gift, but it is one more point of connection, and my heart feels so much in the giving.

Snow days are ideal for plumbing the depths of the heart and drawing it out into something beautiful, so many  more emotional makes to come!

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This was a Christmas present for dear friends. Only last week did I get proper photos of the front and back. I used five-inch charms for the center squares, choosing colors and prints to reflect each member of the four-person-one-cat family. Though this block has many names, I went with the more modern “economy block”, entitling the quilt, “God’s Economy” to honor the extravagance of the Father who motivated its making. It finishes at 81×72 inches, a suitable size for family snuggles. Best of all, it is kitty-approved!

That really is all of my holiday makes. Now to get onto my list for 2015!

How do I begin the attempt at writing about this particular quilt?

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It carries for me a sense of closure, and yet into its making I poured so many complexities of my heart, feelings and wrenchings and delights and great sorrows, that that closure is superficial at worst, temporary at best. Though life has layered many profound experiences since its making, still a dull ache remains, like the ten drops of wine removed from a Seder glass in recognition that some sadness, while not significantly affecting the feast, is still there. Yet we do not cease to celebrate because of it.

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I miss a land that was mine for a moment, a family made quickly, friends who forever changed me. Northern England did a number on me.

And so I made this quilt for the Mama of the house in which I lived and served. She requested one, and I planned the design, bearing in mind her tastes. At the last minute, I felt it needed to be hand-tied, reflecting the choice to give the best of me, piece by piece, knot by knot.

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Originally I entrusted it to a certain friend, a fellow American who came home just long enough to get her visa in order. But circumstances changed, and thus, though I completed the quilt in March of last year, it took another friend’s visit – this one with plane tickets already in hand – to carry it safely home to its intended recipient.

A few days ago, my inbox surprised me with a short video from Sunderland: Mama of the house receiving her quilt, sending her love, brought to tears by the gift.

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Even now, I do not pretend to comprehend all the impact of those months in England. But I have a sense of settling, deep within, and a knowing in my bones that I have been through fire and seas and come out again, having given the best from the depths of me, and coming out richer for it.

In years past I’ve happily participated in monthly groups encouraging finishing sewing tasks or works-in-progress. This year, I cannot break down my list so easily, so I’ve decided to join up with others on a quarterly basis.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

I made a preliminary outline of what I think I can accomplish. Based on this, I can bang out all my works-in-progress (or perpetually abandoned) within the year.

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The above group stipulates that a project must be complete in its entirety in order to qualify as a finish, which means my list for this quarter is as follows:

Tula Pink City Sampler
Black and White Sampler play mat
Blue Rings bee block quilt
Love Stream baby quilt

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My first priorities are my City Sampler and Blue Rings, which require me to finish piecing the tops and backs so I can have them long-arm quilted, then I’ll bind them myself. The other two, at smaller sizes, I think I can handle on my own machine. I’d hoped to already be knocking through this list by now, but I’ve had some unexpected drains on time and energy this month in particular, so making it a quarterly goal is more manageable, I hope!

I’ve never before mapped out my quilt goals so specifically. I am very excited about this new format and all this year will bring! And I must say, pulling out pieces I’ve not touched for awhile was a delight and a joy. I love when I love what I make, and I can’t wait to bring these favorites to completion!

Happy creating and hoping equal joy for you!

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