Monday, January 28, 2013

… bee business

rocky road to kansas

i'm feeling quite productive this january. at least for me. before i turned my attention back to my pearl bracelet trip around the world quilt, i wanted to get some bee business out of the way.

rocky road to kansas

for january's do. good stitches love circle quilt deborah asked for foundation paper-pieced blocks using this tutorial and template from fresh lemons quilts. as an extra bonus stash fabrics sent us a bag of scraps to use for these blocks, which was awesome. there were some lovelies in my bag, and i added in a few of my own. i love the look of this block and am sure it will make a spectacular quilt.

wichita planes foundation paper-pieced block

i also made this sweet little block for a special project. i bought the pattern--called wichita planes--from equiltpatterns. paper piecing is fun and i love how precise and clean everything looks, but it was starting to hurt my brain, especially because this one didn't tell you what size to cut the pieces, and apparently estimating that kind of thing is not my forte.

geese colors

and now february is my month to make the quilt for do. good stitches. i'm into flying geese so i'm asking everyone to make me any kind of geese blocks they want in this color palette. seriously, i'm really digging these colors right now. i think this one will be super fun.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

… my second christmas quilt


yay for finishes! i was finally able to complete my second gifted christmas quilt for my other brother-in-law. only a few weeks late (ahem).


i kind of struggled with this one. it started with a stack of fabrics from my mother-in-law's stash that were red, white and blue, but my husband took one look and nixed that palette. too patriotic. so i decided to add some yellow, but then it looked too much like a little boy's quilt. so i pulled out the brighter yellow and added in a little bit of teal and some grey. i think that made it a little more interesting, but still, looking at the photos after the fact, part of me is still not quite happy with these colors. oh well. i do love the triangles, though!


the back is very simply pieced, but you can see the quilting a bit better here. i simply followed the triangles with some straight-line quilting. i like the look. i think i will always love straight line quilting.



and it appears i have a little photobomber on my hands. i could not keep her off this quilt, for reals. good thing she's cute.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

… a long-awaited finish


so, i officially started these pillows last june. i guess i am that person who takes seven months to make two pillows.

they weren't really that hard. i am just really that lazy.


this was the first one i started, inspired by this thing i pinned. for this pillow i wanted to stick to an orange/salmon/red/grey/black color palette, but if i make something like this again i might do it in solids to look more like the inspiration photo.


i started the second with the idea of using drunkard's path blocks again, and after playing around with them they morphed into this squiggly, intestine-like design. or maybe they look like tulips?

you can see that in the first pillow there are some small puckers around the curves, something i was struggling with. but then i changed my approach and, using this video, tried sewing my curves without pins, which was a revelation. no more puckers! it seems so counterintuitive, but it really works amazingly well.

for both i did some simple quilting following the curves so as not to complicate things. i think they have kind of a cool 70s vibe going on. i like it.


i backed both with my old stand-by, robert kaufman yarn-dyed essex linen in black. these pillows are destined for a guy, so i had to macho them up just a little. (i know, i know, these colors are not traditionally male, i'm taking a chance here. go with it.) i installed invisible zippers (well, mine are a little visible, i'm not great at this yet) to class things up, using katie's fabulous tutorial. soon, these will be packaged off and shipped to a very cool person.

at last!

Monday, January 14, 2013

… tripping along

i could not resist. i had to join in the fun. it started here.

scrappy trip along

and then it grew.

scrappy trip along

plus, my scrap baskets were overflowing and this seemed like a good way to put a dent in the many, many scraps i have accumulated. or at least, i am telling myself that to justify launching into a new project while i have so very many other things to be sewing.

scrappy trip along

i think i'll stop here. it will make a nice baby or very small lap quilt.

I just couldn't help myself. #scrappytripalong

(oh, but then this also may have happened. whoops.)

Friday, January 4, 2013

… playing catch up

in my combined sloth and stupor of the last few months, i neglected to share a few bits and bobs i made.

shoo fly blocks for jacey (november do. good stitches)

shoo fly blocks for jacey for the november do. good stitches love circle quilt.

6 point stars

english paper-pieced six-point stars for rachel for the october do. good stitches quilt. (see the beautiful finished quilt here.)

more curves

more drunkard's path-style curves for a pillow set that i just can't seem to finish. someday… someday.


and this delicious toscakake that i baked for christmas eve. it's a traditional norwegian cake that has a caramelized almond topping that was beyond delicious. recipe from scandinavian classic baking. both the cookbook and the cake are highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

… a sentimental gift

modern maples front

for the past few years i've promised that i would make quilts for my brothers-in-law for christmas. good thing i only promised myself, since i never made good on that vow. until now! i finally got it together enough to make two quilts for my husband's brothers this year. (scratch that: i didn't manage to finish the second quilt by christmas, but it should be done in a few days. or at least by next christmas, right?)

so, this one is for mike, who is a moderately outdoorsy type. and when i saw a few versions of this modern maples quilt from pretty in patchwork: holidays (pattern by amanda woodward-jennings) i figured this was the quilt for him.

and the original reason i wanted to make quilts for my husband's brothers is that after their mother passed away several years ago, c brought back boxes and boxes of her fabric stash for me to use (in fact, that's what got me started with quilting in the first place). so i used a bunch of her old fabrics in the quilts for them, mixed with some newer prints and solids from my stash. due to restrictions in the color palette of her stash, i initially limited the colors of the maple leaves to greens and browns, but in the end couldn't help but throw in a couple of yellow/golds to brighten things up.

the background fabric is a robert kaufman essex linen (in some natural color i can't recall), and the binding is mostly the same essex linen with a small bit of a brown dear stella linework print along one corner and side.

modern maples back

the back is some simple strips of the same brown dear stella print alternating with some green summersville. i quilted around each of the blocks and then ran diagonal lines across the quilt in one direction following the tilt of the maple leaves. though i admit to this choosing this simple quilting mostly due to time constraints, i actually do quite like the effect in the end. the blocks finished at 12 inches square, so the quilt measures 60 x 72", which makes a pretty decent lap quilt.

modern maples

i finished binding this late on december 23rd, and only had time to take a few photos on christmas eve before i had to wrap it up to give, so i'm wishing now for better pictures. but this one in front of the christmas tree makes me very happy. unfortunately, and i hate to say this, i was disappointed in the reaction the gift got. i think it must be that i'm used to growing up with women (it was just me, my mom and my sister growing up, and then i went to a women's college, for pete's sake!) but trying to figure out men's reactions sometimes really confounds me. there was no unfurling of the quilt or holding it up to inspect the fabrics or asking about it (never mind any oohing and aahing over it). maybe just a simple thank you? i'm trying not to be disappointed. and c assures me that they liked the gifts. i know that sewing for others should be more about your own process and the joy you get from simply creating with no expectations for how that gift will be received. i'll work on managing those expectations in the new year.

and i'll keep telling myself that as i work on finishing up that second quilt!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

… another new year

new year's walk

oh, 2013! i am so happy to see you. you are so fresh and clean and shiny. you are nothing but blue skies and possibility and i love you for that. i love you for making your first day here in seattle so incredibly gorgeous that we all just had to get out of the house and go for a walk and bask in your frosty sunshiny goodness at the center for urban horticulture (i love winter walks there… see our new year's walk from two years ago).

new year's walk

new year's walk

new year's walk

new year's walk

new year's walk

we've been deliberating over what this year's family motto should be and are having a hard time settling on one. i initially liked "walk it off", as you can never go wrong with a walk, especially with ingrid still saying "walk? walk?" about 50 times a day. and then we joked about "one miracle at a time", but it felt a little too sarcastic. i tossed around some basics like "be kind" and "play nice" but am now leaning toward "clean it up". i like the idea of this on many levels: the first being simply clean up your physical space. but there's also cleaning up your mental space and cleaning up all those dangling, nagging tasks and cleaning up your attitude. so that's the frontrunner. i just need to convince c it's not my way of nagging him into cleaning up the basement. (it really isn't, i swear!)

(do any of you have any mottos or words or resolutions for the coming year? i'd love to hear them!)

new year's walk

new year's walk

new year's walk

this year we decided to forego our annual new year's day party and instead spent today relaxing and enjoying ourselves. instead of slaving over a bunch of cooking and cleaning yesterday, c and i lounged around last night drinking champagne cocktails and watching thin man movies, as is our new year's eve tradition. and this morning i got to sleep in a bit and make scones for breakfast and also got in a couple of hours of sewing this afternoon. sewing! if today is an omen of what the rest of the year will bring, then i'm sure it will be a good one filled with many things that i love (and, i hope, many things that i will do a better job of sharing with you here).

new year's walk

and then there's this little bundle of delight. last year was one of the best of my life because of her, and i can't imagine that 2013 will disappoint.

thank you to all of you who continue to stop by and read these silly words. i truly do appreciate each and every one of you, even though i'm not terribly good at showing it.

and happy new year… let's make this the best year ever, ok?