Tuesday, January 14, 2014

... my little huckleberry

solveig1

oh yeah, so i guess i should mention that i had a baby a couple of months ago, huh?

solveig-firstpicture

this is solveig hilda. she was born november 8th after half a day of labor (shorter than my labor with ingrid, but much more intense) and only a few minutes of pushing. it was crazy and scary for a few minutes (cord around her neck, dropping heart rate, fluid not fully cleared from her lungs) but all turned out well and i am still a huge fan of the epidural (for both my girls it seemed to help me relax enough to let labor, that had been slowing down, speed up and progress). she was just over 9 pounds, which i know is huge, but after 9-1/2 pound ingrid seems quite normal to me.

Baby smiles! It feels like everyone grew up a little while I was away. #dailysolveig

she is a delight most of the time, a little dictator the rest of the time. you know, constantly needing attention and food and cuddles, as infants do. but she is sleeping relatively well at the moment and laughs and coos enough to be charming and obviously i love her to pieces.

ingrid-solveig

having two kids is quite different than having one. i look back at my life with just ingrid and think about it much as i did when i looked back on my life without children when i only had ingrid. that is, i wonder, "what did i do with all the precious free time i had? i must have been squandering it and not appreciating it at all!" because i have so little time right now for much of anything, even though both of us are at home and ingrid goes to preschool in the mornings four days a week. i am finally out of that period of the baby-fog enough that i really want to get things done (namely: sewing) but i don't have enough time or free hands to do it. i'm sure things will change soon and i am trying to appreciate these quiet, uncomplicated days, but i really do miss just doing things.

big-sister

ingrid is doing pretty well and, i think, might actually enjoy having a little sister. things were weird at first (mostly that she wasn't interested in me right after solveig was born) but now she's happy and likes to talk about the things she'll show solveig when she's bigger.

so, for now, you can look at pictures of our little solveig. she's quite the charmer. (that beautiful vintage sheet quilt below was made for solveig by the amazing emily. i am continually flabbergasted by the kindness of internet friends.)

Get out of town @emmmylizzzy! I can't believe you made this for #dailysolveig! What a sweet, generous, beautiful surprise. (And the book for Ingrid is perfect, as is your insanely cute wrapping paper.) Thank you thank you thank you!

(and the next quilt for solveig was made by my seattle mqg friends! seriously, isn't the quilting community the best?) You guys! I love Solveig's quilt so much. Thank you so much to my #seattlemqg peeps @sewkatiedid @seasona @samilou01 and others I'm not sure of in my babybrain state. Who else helped? Please let me know! #dailysolveig

and i am trying to keep up with another weekly photo project (this time with plants rather than fabric), but i'll put those up here later (you can check out the flickr set in the meantime, that is, if you have patience for the new, slower, uglier flickr... ugh).

Thursday, January 2, 2014

... a courthouse steps quilt block tutorial

courthousesteps9

this is a mini-tutorial for a courthouse steps block for the love circle of do. good stitches. this is a very straightforward traditional block but i wanted to point out a few details for our group.

courthousesteps10

  • please use any cool color of your choosing for each block (blue, green, purple, or grey) and make two 11-1/2" square blocks. i used blue for my sample block.
  • use a variety of fabrics in shades of that color that are dark and light value (or high volume/low volume, brights/pastels, whatever term you prefer).
  • the center block will always be a dark value fabric.
  • try to use a good number of solids along with prints that read primarily one color.
  • this is a great block to use up scraps, though you can also pull from your stash.
  • all strips are 1-1/2" wide in a variety of lengths.
  • you can cut your fabric strips in advance according to the measurements (below), or you can use strips that are slightly longer than specified and square up when done (this is how i do it to ensure the most accurate piecing).
  • use a scant 1/4" seam allowance to allow room for error.
  • i find it easier to press seams to the side on this block to avoid bulk, but feel free to press however you like.
  • this is a simple log cabin block variation where instead of going around from the center square you sew the pieces across from each other.
  • the most important thing is that the two sides contrast in terms of value. if you're unsure of the value of a fabric, try taking a photograph in black and white and you can see how it compares to other fabrics.

courthousesteps1

start with a 1.5" square piece in a dark fabric. cut two 1-1/2" square pieces in light fabric and sew on either side of dark square. this piece should now measure 1-1/2 x 3-1/2". always check to make sure your block is the right size and square up after adding each new set of sides.

courthousesteps2

sew two 3-1/2" strips of dark fabric to the long sides of this unit. when done, it should now measure 3-1/2" square.

courthousesteps4

courthousesteps5

courthousesteps6

courthousesteps7

courthousesteps8

continue alternating dark and light strips on either side. after each round of dark and light it will measure 3-1/2", 5-1/2", 7-1/2", 9-1/2" and finally 11-1/2" square.

courthousesteps9

feel free to add some piecing to your strips. you can see that i added some small bits to the text fabric in the last round of dark fabric. i also pieced two lengths of light fabric together in one round, and another is made up of two horizontal pieces in a middle round. this is optional, but feel free to be creative if you like!

if you want to cut your fabric in advance*, here is what you'll need for one block (all strips are 1-1/2" wide):

for the dark fabrics:

  • 1 1-1/2" square
  • 2 3-1/2" strips
  • 2 5-1/2" strips
  • 2 7-1/2" strips
  • 2 9-1/2" strips
  • 2 11-1/2" strips

for the light fabrics:
  • 2 1-1/2" squares
  • 2 3-1/2" strips
  • 2 5-1/2" strips
  • 2 7-1/2" strips
  • 2 9-1/2" strips

*again, i like to cut my fabric as i go and cut a little longer than i need to allow room for error and then square up as i go. but if you feel like your cutting and piecing is very precise, feel free to cut in advance.