Tuesday, May 31, 2011

... sewing for others

bits and blocks front

have i mentioned how much i love the do. good stitches charity quilting bee? because i really, really do. it's so satisfying sewing for someone in need and, for selfish reasons, i love being challenged by the blocks every month. and, being a quilter for the love circle, i also love coming up with the quilt design, like this one i just finished for the march quilt.

you may remember that i mentioned that for this quilt i was inspired by a technique i learned from my pal katie that she taught it in one of her improvisational quilting classes. (sidenote: if you live in seattle, you should most definitely take a class from her... she has so many great things to teach!) and she was inspired by a technique from joelle hoverson's last-minute patchwork + quilted gifts. katie called the technique tumbling blocks in her original pillow and joelle called hers little bits, so i named this quilt bits and blocks. i'm a little sheepish at how blatantly it turns out i ripped katie off (see her finished split decision quilt here), but i suppose i'll have to be okay with that (and i hope katie is, too). honestly, it was slightly unintentional, but we all know how fuzzy inspiration can be in the quilting world.

bits and blocks back

but didn't this turn out lovely? i asked our circle members for blocks in this style on any solid grey background using yellow to slightly greenish prints for the bits. when all the blocks arrived in the mail i couldn't believe how great they looked together. i really like the variation among the greys and how it breaks up the quilt into segments. i used one set of blocks on the back with yellows that complemented the backing fabric i chose. and it's hard to see in the pictures, but the quilting looks really cool. i quilted straight lines horizontally around the seams of each block and then i ran lines vertically down the quilt that zig-zagged in the pattern of each small bit that it intersected, making it look kind of maze-like.

the finished quilt measures 54 x 48 inches and it is bound in a grey polka dot (michael miller, maybe? my pregnant brain can't remember and my pregnant body is too lazy to go check). thank you to all the love circle quilters for contributing to such a great quilt!

may blocks for do. good stitches

and, speaking of do. good stitches, i also just finished my blocks for the may quilt. melanie asked for two blocks in one color to contribute to a box of crayons quilt. i chose pink.

pink!

may blocks for do. good stitches

for some reason i thought it would be fun to do some paper piecing and made an all-hexagon block. in my head, piecing hexagons went really quickly, but oh, not so in real life! i spent all weekend, hours upon hours, working on this to get these blocks finished in time to send by the end of the month. my second block had to be incredibly simple because i just did not have the time or energy to do anything else. they got shipped off today, just under the wire, and i hope they work well in the finished quilt. i can't wait to see the result!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

... pregnancy, and all that it entails

shower cake

oh my gosh, you guys, being pregnant is so hard! i'm sure it's so much easier raising an infant and then a toddler and then a child and then a teenager... right? (humor me, please.)

rhodies

but oh, you people who already have kids and lives and other responsibilities and who can blog consistently, i salute you.

wagon plants

my life has been quite full, what with preparing for the arrival of the snowdrop, attending baby showers, going to plant sales, putting together a nursery from scratch, madly trying to accomplish a gazillion house projects, and, you know, cramming in more work/teaching hours than i ever usually do because that seemed sensible when making my schedule several months ago.

tulips

also, i have just not been taking many photos. i have no excuse for that. just plain and simple negligence. what is contained herein is a smattering of what i discovered on my camera after downloading the contents the other day.

belly and binding

in happy news, i am thisclose to finishing the march quilt for do. good stitches. i just have an hour or two more of hand-sewing the binding and then it's done! a little late, still, but not as late as my last one.

garden path

and, fortunately, there is still time for simple things like watching our garden blossom in the recent warm weather and eating ice cream and making popsicles and sleeping. precious, precious sleeping.

Monday, May 2, 2011

... the happiest quilt

the happiest quilt front

an alternate title for this post could be "you know what i hate?... cancer." because in the last six months three wonderful women i know have been diagnosed with breast cancer. and i'm sure you don't need me to tell you how truly terrible that is. i lost one of my best childhood friends to cancer when she was only 23 years old, and on a purely selfish level i just can't bear to go through that kind of loss again.

my neighbor and friend, deb, was diagnosed last month with a particularly nasty type, and has already undergone a mastectomy and started chemo last week, to be followed by more chemo and then a bunch of radiation. with everything she has been through and everything she is going to have to go through i wanted to make her a quilt to provide maybe just a little comfort through the next few difficult months.

i call this the happiest quilt, because i wanted it to be as cheery as possible. bright colors, happy prints, warm, simple and cozy.

the happiest quilt

i tried my hand at some embroidery on the back, and yes, it's not great, and yes, i need more practice with embroidery (that O just keeps mocking me), but it expresses what i feel and what i want deb to know. so i'm okay with the imperfections. (and speaking of imperfections, these photos were taken quite hastily, before i noticed how terribly wrinkled the quilt looked due it being folded up overnight, but after it was delivered so i couldn't take better pictures. i promise the quilt doesn't look this terrible in real life.)

the happiest quilt binding

this is just a simple patchwork using many of my favorite prints in orange, pink, yellow and turqoise with some bright kona cottons mixed in. the back is mostly kona tangerine and the binding is pieced with the same kona colors i used on the front.

the happiest quilt back

it measures 56 x 64" and i did my usual straight line quilting, not too fussy, because i wanted to finished this quickly for deb to have as soon as possible.