Pastel Rainbows

20140731-134428-49468531.jpgThis little beauty is much beloved by me.  I have a friend having a baby girl in the fairly near future.  A friend who is modern, stylish, and generous.  I hoped that my love of pastel rainbows could translate into a lovely quilt for her.  I started the quilt for her using a quarter-circle block, aiming for a modern drunkard’s path.  but it didn’t look quite right.  So I quickly switched to large blocks in pastel rainbow color order.

Paired with Kona Smoke (my favoritest solid gray), this was a quick finish and checked all the boxes for me (and I hope my friend).  I took a bit of time with the quiliting – really trying to get my stitches straight in groups of three lines across the quilt.  I used a scrappy rainbow binding to finish.  And I finished the binding by machine and didn’t cry or whine.  Woot!

I backed the quilt in an adorable nursery print from JoAnn that I fell in love with.  20140731-134429-49469217.jpg

I appliqued a little rectangle of the print on top of this Paris Postcard fabric.  I really love it and gives the simple quilt a little something more.20140731-134428-49468057.jpg

These pictures look so dreamy – I am not sure why… I didn’t use a filter and I took them during the day.  Must be the magic of the pastel rainbow.  Lately when I am feeling a bit down, I search for pastel rainbows in Instagram or Pinterest.  They really are gorgeous.  And lift my spirits.  I am not done with pastel rainbows yet.  I started this little hexie project.  I am planning on making a pillow for my bedroom, but it may turn into a whole pastel rainbow quilt.  Now that would keep me busy.

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Fraunhofer Lines

20140731-134426-49466521.jpgI had a space in my hallway to fill, just right for a 40ish inch square quilt.  My favoritest size of quilt to make.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do – a combination of bright rainbow with low volume.  When I described my beginning of an idea to my husband, he thought of Fraunhofer lines.  I won’t go into what they are, but they definitely speak to the geeky side of both my husband and I.

I did diagonal straight line quilting – like for the bazillionth time.  And bound it in one of my beloved Suzuko Koseki fabrics + Moda grunge + a low volume print.

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It now hangs proudly in my hallway – and is very hard to get an in situ picture of.  But trust me, it looks pretty good there – with all of our other rainbow + black items.

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WIPs – The Unruly State of Things

This year I have completed 29 projects.  Basically a project every week.  I think that pace is too fast.  But like many quilters, I want to move quickly so I can sew all the things.  Many (most) of my projects were smallish…4 mini quilts, 1 table runner, 1 mug rug, 3 wall hangings that were bigger than a mini, 13 (!) baby / kid quilts, 7 pouches, 2 pillows, 2 scarves, and one actual quilt used for snuggling.  That is a lot.  But…

I still want to sew all of the things.  My house is filled with quilty stuff, almost all my friends who have a baby or a toddler girl has a quilt.  But I want more actual snuggly quilts around the house.  And to replace the wall hanging in the living room.  And… well, there is a lot. Did I mention I want to sew all the things?

I have 16 WIPs / not quite started projects that I want to finish by the end of the year.  All while fighting the urge to scrap it all (pun intended) and make Christmas quilts.  In the last three weeks I have completed 4 WIPs – which I am *very* happy about.  But have also added 3 things to my to-do list.  Sigh.

So, here is the state of things, sort of in priority order…
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1. Irish Chain Interrupted…  top finished, backing purchased – just need to have enough $ on hand to send to Missouri Start Quilt Co for quilting.  I want something more than in-the-ditch for this one because I like it so much.
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2. Warm Star Charity Quilt… This was made during the time I was obsessed with 8-point stars and warm colors + grey.  That obsession left as quickly as it came and this block was abandoned.  Last weekend I finished the borders and quilted.  I just need to zip down the binding and it will be a baby quilt ready for Project Linus.  I used this gorgeouse DSQuilts backing on this quilt.  Luckily, I still have lots.  This is one of my favoritest fabrics ever.

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3. Bluebird Park Charity Quilt… Sigh…. this thing.  I made this baby quilt for a friend and then decided it was too girly for a baby boy.  So I made her something else and set this aside.  This is my longest lingering WIP.  I really should finish it this weekend so I can donate it to Project Linus.  I just don’t like it and don’t want to work on it.  Waah.  But it would be *so* satisfying to have this one done, for sure.

4. 20140731-172614-62774969.jpg5. Minecraft Diamond Sword… This should be very easy to knock out and would make the daughter of a dear friend really happy.  I bought the solids, have a pattern… just need to get to it.  Most likely will start as a reward for finishing the Bluebird Park quilt.

6. Blue and blue and blue HST quilt… This would be for the *other* daughter of my friend.  I have designed this quilt in my mind and I LOVE it.  Getting to work on this will be motivation to power through some WIPs.  I bought some awesome HST paper piecing sheets to use on this one.  Let’s see if they make HSTs less time consuming?

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7. Teal Star Charity Quilt… This is the awesome quilt top I made in class with the awesome Vanessa.  Love this so much and could make more and more and more.  This one I will finish for Project Linus.  Just quilting and binding left.
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8. Pirate Economy Block Charity Quilt… I loved this when I started it and now really don’t like it.  Too weird looking.  But I have purchased backing for it twice (yes, really).  And I think it would make a cute quilt for a baby boy.  really.  So I will finish it.  All the blocks are done, just need to wrap it up.
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9-13. Lots and lots and lots of red/pink/aqua orphan blocks… I got so sick of making these for a sampler quilt for me – because I realized that a bunch of random blocks a cute quilt does not make.  So I am going to add lots of borders and split them up into 4 Project Linus quilts.  And I learned my lesson.
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14. SD’s Brick Quilt… Of all of the red/pink/aqua blocks I made, I loved this one best of all.  So I  started on making a quilt for my stepdaughter that uses this block throughout.  This will let me use a lot of lovely low-volume prints and bright pops of her favorite colors.
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15. Up Parasol Windmills… Oh my do I love this fabric.  A LOT.  I started making some windmill blocks and want to make a quilt using the windmills and one of the cool settings from the Modern Vintage Quilts book.
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16. Gypsy Wife…  It is hard to call this a WIP, I only have a handful of blocks made and I will probably want to remake them now that my stash is so much stashier.  I really love this quilt and want one of my very own.  So my pledge to myself is to finish all of the list above, and then take my time enjoying making this quilt.  Knock on wood.
 

Quilting Minimalism

I have been on a slllloooooow path to minimalism.  I discovered that I wanted to embrace some of the tenets of minimalism earlier this year – about the same time my fabric obsession kicked into full gear.  I have done pretty well with my foray into minimalism – I have a very small wardrobe now, have cleaned out lots of things, really don’t buy many consumer goods at all.  EXCEPT for fabric and patterns.  Oy.

I love fabric.  And I have experienced scarcity first hand (uh, Ledger by Carolyn Friedlander) so feel compelled to buy in case I can’t get it later.

Well, that is silly.  And it isn’t.  I love fabric.  And I have found that the whole quilting community is great, but it very much is a capatilistic endeavor, of course.  Giveaways, blog hops, vendor postings.  I.want.it.all.

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But I really do have it all.  In the past six months, I have developed an awesome stash.  Truly wonderful piles of gorgeous fabrics in all the colors.  I can stop buying and have enough fabric for projects for quite awhile.  But I know it will be hard.  Because I love fabric – and I am not the best at “making do”.

But I know I will be happier in the long term if I stop buying and start finishing.  And so I try to embrace quilting minimalism again.  Here is my plan:

1. Do not buy any non-fabric quilting stuff EXCEPT for thread, batting, needles, and replacementrotary cutter blades.

2. The only fabrics I am going to buy are Kona Solids as needed and my Fabric Shoppe color bundle club. 

2a) I don’t really like using or working with solids – I see them as a necessary evil tokeep quilts looking fresh by balancing all of the prints I love and use.  So I know I won’t go overboard.  (knock on wood)
2b) I love the color bundle club unreasonably.  I have built my stash with so much cute stuff I otherwise wouldn’t have chosen – and I love that it is a surprise every month.

3. Stop following blogs that are heavy on product endorsements or sponsored giveaways vs. finished projects, patterns, and inspiration.  I definitely see the point of all of that – this is ‘merica after all – but it just builds up all this desire in me – unneccessary desire.  Here is an example – did anybody else feel like they would get kicked off the island if they didn’t buy a shitton of cotton + steel?

Here is the downside:

1. I HATE piecing backings and batting. HATES it.  But it will build my character. Or something like that.

2. Much fewer endorphin rushes that I get when I receive fabric in the mail.  Gawd, I love that feeling.  Happy Mail, indeed.

Waaaaay much more upside!

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1. Lots more endorphin rushes of using up scraps and stash.  Turning fabric in drawers into cool and pretty quilts and things.

2. More money in the bank.

3. Building my creativity while “making do”.  Although calling working with my stash “making do” is a bit of a stretch.

4. Not being distracted by shiny new things so that I can finish the patterns and WIPs I want to…  V’s houndstooth, Allison Glass’ Celestial, Gypsy Wife, my pending Project Linus quilts.

So the adventure begins…

Twin Baby Boy Quilts for the Space Age

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A friend of mine at work is having twin boys. She is a wonderful person – she possesses the sort of kindness that is rarely seen. Quiet and kind and smart. Did I mention she is a wonderful person? We aren’t close friends by any stretch – but she is the sort of person you just want to do things for. And so fairly late in the game (I think she is due any day), I decided I wanted to make her quilts. And then the next thought was what I wanted them to look like…

I envisioned little blue, orange, yellow, and green squares, with a healthy mix of low volume. I started to tot up the number of 2″ squares needed for 2 40″ square quilts and got a bit scared. In the design in my mind, I added a 4″ border around the center 64 patch. I thought all of this in about 15 minutes at 8:30 am at work. Ugh. Don’t you hate that? You have an idea and it is hours, if not days, before you can get started? I hate that.

But when I got home, I dove into my scrap piles and started cutting. 632 squares. I haven’t done a scrap project before, and it was fun to dive into the past. And I had lots of scraps of cute fabrics. And I am learning what sizes of scraps are worth keeping and what isn’t worth keeping.

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I had embroidered a rocketship for a reason I don’t completely remember. And so I put it in my center panel, and one evening while watching TV with DH, I embroidered a robot. Not as cute as the rocketship, but OK.

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I used two different awesome DSQuilts fabrics for the backings, with a strip of Kona Navy in one and a strip of Kona Chartreuse in the other. I used the same Kona for the binding.  I quilted these simply (of course) – straight diaganol lines in a medium grey.

IMG_1755This project was A LOT of work. Lots of cutting, lots of piecing. Like LOTS. But I absolutely love the result. The little squares of adorable fabric made slightly more modern with the solids really makes me happy. I want to make a ton more of these. And, coincidentally, I have lots of scraps.

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My friend (the recipient) has become too uncomfortable to come into work, so I will be mailing it to her this weekend – I so hope she loves it as much as I do.

Linking to Amanda Jean for Finish It Up Friday.  Woot.