Friday, October 21, 2016

Vintage Dresden {Quilt}

"43 years in the making"

Many years ago, my good friend, Rebecca, were baseball moms.  You know.  Those moms that have only boys and live at the local Little League ballpark all week long?

She used to watch me work on quilt bindings at baseball practices and games and one day approached me about finishing a quilt her grandmother had started around the time we were born. 

She delivered a gorgeous Dresden top that her grandmother had added embroidery on the centers of. It had a backing and even the batting was basted to the backing. Just waiting for some quilting. 

Originally, the plan was for me to help HER finish it. We agreed we would set up a date.  Not quite that much later, Ole Betsy came into my life and I asked for her to wait for me to get to know my longarm.  I thought probably be a really enjoyable experience for her and I to do together.

Then, she moved to the northern suburbs in Houston from our southwest corner. And if you know the area well? You know that's equivalent to moving across the country. 

I messaged her a few times to set up a date. Then. We moved to Salt Lake City. I told her I was taking it with me and I would be mailing her a finished quilt. 
One year later, with house renovations out of the way, I finally worked on it.
And looking back?  All those years of waiting were worth it. I have 6 years on my longarm under my belt, I "found" my feathers last winter. I had quilted a few vintage quilts up to this point also and had learned so much from my research. 

 It would have been a completely different finish if I had quilted it on my domestic machine 7 years ago. 

It just seemed meant to be. 

Things of note.

Batting:  I did end up adding another layer of batting. The original batting caused a lot of tension issues in the beginning because it was lumpy in some areas and very thin in others. It still was uneven, but it quilted more smoothly and I love the extra depth it created. 

Quilting: Free motion feathers in the blue sashing and borders. Meandering/stippling around each Dresden. Loops on the pointy dresdens and indents on the straight plates. 

The binding?  A yellow gingham I had in my stash.  
That actually matched a few of the dresden yellow gingham in the top!

I embroidered a quilt label on the back. I sent her the proof to make sure she liked the wording.
I wanted all the hands that had a part of it recognized on the back!!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Dresden Plate
Fabric: Vintage fabrics
Thread: So Fine/King Tut Brooklet Variegated and Omnithread Natural White
Quilted: Free motion quilting on HQ Avante


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A New Leaf {Quilt}

 "Everyday is a new opportunity. Another chance to make it.
Better, brighter, happier.
Please never forget.  Promise you'll hold tight.
Because wonderful surprises await you and everything
will turn out right"

On May 1, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. 
On May 3, it swept through the community, destroying approximately 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Albertan history. 
It is the costliest disaster in Canadian history.

And my good friend Sherry had to evacuate her family.  
But not only evacuate, but leave her husband behind to fight the fires.  He is a firefighter.

To say she was terrified and anxious during that time is an understatement.

I'm always unsure if a quilt is the right gift during these moments. I've done charity quilts before.  But this one was different.  This was a fellow babyloss mom that was in need of a hug.  And if a quilt isn't a hug? I don't know what else is! 

I knew I wanted to do a leaf quilt for her.  Something that was "Canada" but also something that reflected all the photos she was posting.  The area is gorgeous and I knew a modern maple quilt might work the best.  I raided my stash and literally pulled all the colors I saw in her "before the fire" pictures. 

The blues were for the skies, but also a color I've seen in her home decorations.
The pattern I used came together really easily.  But I was a bit stuck on the quilting.

All I could think of was wind and movement and went with it.

I originally wanted to do a blue or black binding to match her home decor, but sometimes you just have to accept that it may not be their color, but a color the quilt needs.  An orange tone on tone leaf print was begging to be used!

I had a paisley blue 108" wide backing that fit the bill from my stash.
And I had to make an embroidered quilt label with a Canadian Leaf!

 Quilt Stats:
Measures: 59" x 70"
Pattern: Modern Maples by Lark Craft
Fabrics:  Complete stash
Quilted: Free motion on HQ Avante longarm

My favorite moment was seeing the quilt on her couch.  
The couch is in her home.  
They were one of the "lucky" families that finally were able to return to the area.

  I hope they find their way to recovery and the area returns, especially the leaves in all their glory, just as beautifully as it was before the fire.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jamie's 7th Birthday {Quilt Block}

"In this life we are going to be disappointed. We will hurt. But there is great joy in the shadows if you know where to look." ~Angie Smith

Friday marked a special day. Our daughter, Jamie Lynn's, seventh birthday. This is the day when I have to awkwardly tell people that she was born very much alive and breathing, but swiftly left us an hour and fifteen minutes later. Her birthday isn't so much a celebration, but a Memorial Day. 

Two years ago, I was struggling with the idea that the older boys were no longer interested in cupcakes and balloon releases, and Button was becoming more and more confused by the concept of a sister he never met. 

Her birthday quilt was born. I needed to have a special time "with" her. 
A time where all my energy was dedicated to honoring her and not letting the distractions of our everyday life take her away from me. 

 This year's block is about books.

 I was a voracious reader as a child and I think I would have been so excited to be part of her journey into "girly" books like the Dancing Shoes and Little House on the Prairie series. I happened upon this adorable stack of books and had to purchase the book, The Paper Pieced Home by Penny Layman from Sew Take a Hike. I don't regret it one bit!

Source: Sew Take A Hike

Friday was a quiet day, in general, but I found much beauty in the peaceful time.  I took my time pressing, stitching, and tearing my foundation tissue with Button playing, ever so quietly, in the studio. 

I'm not terribly in love with my embroidery work, but the block in general pleases me very much!

I still need to work on her year one through four birthday blocks. I was able to finalize my decisions on two of them and hope to find time to work on them. 

Year 5: Cupcake Year         6: Mary Jane Shoes            Year 7: Stack of Books

My only requirement is that I work on them on days I can concentrate my full attention on just her.  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Poppy {Quilted Pillow Cover}

"I survived, carried on, glad to be like a weed, a wild red poppy, rooted in life."

This pillow cover is for my cousin's daughter, Fallon.  She lost her grandmother, my dear aunt, to breast cancer.   My cousin, her son, had returned the Blush and Bashful quilt I had made for her, along with some other items.  I had extra fabric and had told him at the time that I had planned on making his daughter a quilt of her very own with it.

Time went by and he mentioned that he wished he had kept it for his daughter.  He immediately felt terrible for saying it and we further talked about me still making her own.  I started cutting out the block parts knowing I really wanted to work quickly on it.  But I just couldn't get it out of my head.  This past fall I sent her the quilt back with her very own pillow.

 The block came together rather quickly from the extra fabric I found.
I immediately went to work on the quilting.

Matchstick quilting with pale pink thread seemed just the ticket.

 I have a big hankering for matchstick quilting on pillows lately.

I grabbed a pink/rosy shade of Robert Kaufman Essex Linen and a pink zipper from my stash for the hidden zipper backing.

Psssst...can you see the dated fabric inside? I love to use the fabrics I just don't love anymore, but hate to waste it!  I just use them inside of pillows and bags!

Instead of a pink binding, I decided to draw attention to the tiny mint/aquas in the print.

And was pretty pleased how well it looked when I was done.

I stuffed it with a new pillow form and packed up the quilt!

I would be lying if I didn't admit, I was sad to see it go. 
 But I still have the fabric and know I can make the second one for myself.  In the note I told her I would make my a twin to remember her and my aunt with! 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Baby Aria {Quilt}

I have a recurring theme this year.  I call it "To the Last Drop Mission".
Basically? When I open up a precut from my stash or new order?
I try to use every single last bit on projects so that I don't have a massive amount sitting around.

After making two large lap quilts and a trivet with my Aria jelly rolls, I cut strips to make a third lap quilt.  And I STILL had plenty of leftover triangles I had cut out of my strips to make a baby quilt.

I could have cut just enough from each pieced strip when I made the lap quilts, but I figured I could piece the leftovers and make a baby quilt.

It was tricky, but I finally found a layout I thought would work.

I raided my stash and found just enough of some leftover Navy grunge to use as a background.

My original plan didn't work out and I did have to settle with the fact that there wasn't going to be more space between each hexagons vertically, but I went with it.

I also found some matching blue minky in my stash for the backing.

I did some simple quilting in each block and meander in the navy.

I am kicking myself for using the blue minky with the white blocks on the front. 

I sometimes find the minky fibers will come to the top when I use a darker color for my backing and a lighter top.

With all the navy in the backing and background, I felt that the pink binding would bring out the great block colors.

I'm not sure where it is going quite yet, but its done and I didn't waste valuable fabric block scraps!

Now all that is left is to piece the other large quilt I have cut out!


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