Archives for the month of: August, 2015

How do you properly thank an extravagantly generous quilter? You make her a mini-quilt! In the past few months, I have three amazing friends who have given their time, talents, and joy to bless my family. Finding words was not enough, so instead I did a bit of research on what they enjoy – styles they use in their own work, photos they post, fabrics and textures and approaches – and attempted to make them something they would love. One of these will be delivered today, and the others await a trip to the post office, but hopefully they won’t mind spoilers!
   
    
 
“Follow the White Rabbit” was inspired by a quote from the original Matrix film. I like the sentiment of going on an adventure, following clues into the divine purpose of life, meeting unexpected characters, and having new experiences. Can you detect the hand-stitched rabbit trail through the quilting?

   
 
Next is a combination of traditional and modern for a Denyse Schmidt fan. I combined traditional hand-stitched cathedral window form with some of the newer, machine-stitched iterations I’ve seen in blog land. I like that the results aren’t too refined, but the hand-stitched elements reflect a lot of love.

   
   
Finally, my homage to the Caribbean island Dominica (pronounced dom-in-EEK-ah), the place where my friend grew up and recently visited again with her husband. She uses a lot of raw-edged appliqué and batiks in her work, so I played her way to reflect some of the beauties in her travel pictures. The island is more known for its jungle than its beaches, so I omitted the ocean and instead focused on the little towns and Mother and Father waterfalls inland. I had to add my friend’s favorite hibiscus and even a few scraps from the quilt I made her years ago. This one will be delivered today after another delivery is made… But more on that later. 

I’ve really enjoyed making these minis! They are quite gratifying and fun with quick turn-around and payoff. They are also a great way to experiment with new techniques. I’m sure you will see more minis from me in the future!

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I finished my new purse (using this tutorial)! I tend to wear a lot of black, white, and grey, so I chose favorite prints from my stash. “Ghost bunny” was my first Cotton and Steel fabric purchase. I figured hoarding a favorite fabric would not give as much joy as using it for something getting as much practical, daily use as this. Now it’s done, I know I made a great choice!

  
    
    

I made it more complicated than I needed to in hindsight, but I am so pleased with the way it turned out! Instead of webbing, I made the strap from fabric and a bit of batting. The slider was rescued from a thrifted jacket I took apart awhile ago. I used batting scraps as a layer of lining and did a little subtly-colored hand stitching on the outside. I also lined the bag in denim, and this made inserting the grommets more time-consuming. But oh! It’s worth it. I’m so thankful it’s done and I can use it! 

Linking up with the 2015 Finish-A-Long!

For my eleventh birthday, I received Felicity, an American Girl doll. Soon after, my grandmother taught me how to sew on her sewing machine by making doll clothes. I still have those patterns, so when my flower girl pulled out her AG catalogue to show me what she wanted for her birthday, I was inspired! It just so happens that I keep my doll trunk on hand, so Felicity was available for fittings and modeling.

   
    
    
    
   
The Internet is rife with free AG doll patterns, so I used two for a pair of starry fleece pants and striped tee made from a top I rescued from the Goodwill pile. (Sadly, I am unable to find the original links to those patterns!) The tutu was inspired by a ruffled skirt tutorial, and the cherry dress was a modification of the original paper patterns I used with my grandmother.

Finally, knowing my little friend is very creative and eager to learn to sew, I included a hand-written coupon for either one doll outfit or one doll quilt, made with my help, of course! I hope she is inspired and empowered from the experience! I can’t wait for her birthday party this weekend and spending time sewing with her later!

How many of my third quarter sewing goals can I accomplish before our baby arrives? Here’s hoping for a few more!

   
   
Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings includes a pattern for a newborn sleep sack. The pattern calls for it to be made kimono-style with overlapping velcro tab closures. Having babysat for children using sleep sacks before, I opted to modify the pattern in favor of a zipper closure.

Figuring out how to put it together took a little bit of trial-and-error, especially since cognitive prowess is at an all-time low due to “baby brain”. But in the end it came together! The flannel back and lining are a print from JoAnns, one of very few non-cutesy, non-stereotypical boy themed prints I could find. The pieced front is tacked with a bit of embroidery thread, and the tab at the top covers the zipper pull, finishing with Velcro. A bit of leftover bias binding finishes the armholes and collar.

Now we are just waiting for the little guy to find the exit! Who knows – maybe by the time you read this, he will already be here!

Linking up with the 2015 Finish-A-Long!

   
    
 
Hooray! Another goal completed! A few years ago, I was part of the Sew Blues Bee and requested bow tie blocks. I had the top pieced before moving to England in 2013, so it sat safely in storage while I was away. Gracious Maria did a phenomenal job long-arming it, playing with rosettes and textures to set off the one raspberry ring. As I type, I’m cuddled under it on the couch (feeling tiny punches and kicks on my innards!), loving the drapiness created by the dense lines and flowing loops. I grew so much in my sewing through that bee, and as some of the ladies included extra bow ties using their own fabrics, I feel their kindness and camaraderie through it! 

Linking up with the 2015 Finish-A-Long!

Finally!

   
    
 

Looking back, it seems I finished these blocks a year before completing the quilt. They were the last big non-wedding project I worked on. Now, as my husband and I approach our one-year anniversary and the any-day-now birth of our son, we have this quilt to celebrate the best bits of how life has changed for us.

Setting the blocks, piecing the back, and bringing it to my fabulous long-arming friend Maria were part of my goals for the first quarter of the year. In the “make it your own” spirit of the book, I added ten extra blocks, pieced from favorite scraps with improvised design. (Several are visible towards the bottom of the last photo.) This made the quilt a proper size and shape for our bed and, if I can stretch it, reinforced the analogy of “quilt-as-life” – making space for the unplanned beauties that can emerge when committing fully and letting go of control.

Over the course of a few nondescript days (spent watching seasons of Project Runway Australia on YouTube), I finished binding the quilt. Rather than straight-cut double-fold binding, I used what was left of the scrappy bias binding I created for my Generations II quilt, the one combining a top by my great-grandmother with a back from my mother and hand-tied with crochet thread from my grandmother. It seemed appropriate to nod to heritage as we step into this new phase of life.

My patience husband served as my quilt holder in the bright morning light. I didn’t belabor the process for the sake of his arms, so the blocks might not be clearly visible. But you can see the delightful texture of Maria’s quilting! I love how it unifies each unique block into a complete whole. Kind of like the experiences of these past few years – every little bit of effort coming together for a beautiful end result!

Linking up with the 2015 Finish-A-Long!