pneumonia and baby quilts

A bit of a ditch on the road of life the last couple of weeks.  I was hospitalized with pneumonia and a tummy infection and crud and stuff.  Prior to spending a night in the hospital, my longest and worst night was an overnight train ride from the sticks of Romania to the capital.  Pee kept gurgling up in the sink in the train car and drunk people kept crashing into our car and I spent the night willing myself to just make it to daylight without throwing up.  That night was a dream compared to the first couple nights in the hospital.  Really, truly scary and the deepest loneliness I have ever known.  Not to make too much of it, but truly horrible.

I am a week out from getting to (finally!) come back home.  And still the surreality of it all is overwhelming.  My appetite is back (boo!), I can go more than a few hours without needing a nap, and all of my symptoms that sent me to and kept me in the hospital are gone.  But the feeing of dread and fear and loneliness still can come back in an instant.  And in my dreams I still am stuck in the room with the IVs and the beeping and the pain.

All this to say, my heart goes to those who are in the hospital now.  And I am so thankful to be home and getting back to normal.

This weekend (in between marathon naps), I finished a couple of baby quilts.  Baby girl quilts that are just so darn cute.

First up is a quilt where the colors of the nursery are teal and coral.  Teal and coral become elusive colors – so easily becoming mint or aqua and orange or peach.  I think the scrappiness covers me – so many different teals and corals and mints and oranges and peaches, that at least some of them have to be right…

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The blocks are simple, but I love the secondary pattern that is created.  But the best part of this quilt is the back.  The stupendous Disco Kitty print by Ms. Pink…

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Those little kitties are just the cutest !!!!!  And this is going to a family that loves kitties, so win win win.  I did my favorite cross hatch quilting that gives a little diagonal pop.  And the binding is a teal (aqua? mint?) stripe that I think echoes the teal-and-white blocks well.  I am really, really trying to get better at the binding.  Time and practice and patience.

Next up is a frothy pink delight…

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I super sized a block from 12 inches to 24 inches and off-center framed it in my most girly pink fabrics.  This palette and flowery goodness is my jam.  Had so much fun making this  – and truly love that some people still want pink for little girls.  Very un-hip of me, but I love pink.  It just makes me happy.  And I think the old-fashioned blue-and-white floral works well with the pinks… and the big8flower sugar centerpiece makes me squeal.

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I backed this one with a peppy little floral to introduce a few more colors.  And bound in a simple solid french-ish blue.  And again simple cross-hatch quilting.

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Boo to hospitals and pneumonia and IVs and breathing treatments.  Yay to quilts for baby girls and pinks and coral and flowers and sunshine.

Bye for now… hope your summer days are filled with joy.

 

Fall!

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Doesn’t it seem like Fall flies by?  Definitely the best of the seasons and it always goes too quickly.  This year is no different.  We only have the kids every other weekend, so our fall weekends are precious.  When my stepson had an all-day debate tournament last weekend, we tried to get some fall fun in with my stepdaughter, but it was tough.  Every place was busy, no parking, etc., etc.  We did get this one adorable picture of her though.

I have been enjoying some sewing.  I have tried to focus on process rather than pushing to finish a lot.  I have worked on this quilt several weekends in a row – which is pushing against my desire to GET STUFF DONE.  Which is probably good for me.

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I have fluctuated between loving and hating it – but I think I am solidly in the loving it camp now.  I love all the interesting shapes the 1/2 square triangles and triangles make.  And I think I like the color palette – lots of low-volumes and neutrals and a purple-less rainbow.  I had cut several black squares, but it was too overpowering, so they were edited out.  Which means I will be several blocks short to be able to finish my quilt.  But I am ignoring that fact right now.

 

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I had to make 240 1/2-square triangles for this quilt.  Actually, 480 because I got a little baby 1/2 square triangle by sewing a 1/2-inch over from my seam for the big 1/2-squqr3 triangle.  About a third through the process, I taped guides on the machine so I didn’t have to mark my squares.  Lesson learned – going to do that from the beginning next time.

Happy Fall – I am hoping for cooler weather here so that this little guy will want to cuddle at night.

 

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Obsession

I love purl soho too much.  The gorgeous projects, colors, materials beckon me to a life that is not mine.  Simple, pure, fresh, minimal color palette.  My life is full of complications and color and chaos.  And that is how I like it – for reals.

But I can get lost in the purl soho website.  And I have more than once.  I have banned myself from it.  NO. MORE.  Does that seem excessive?  It probably is, but lets examine the evidence…

It started with this bag…  the wraparound pocket tote.  I love the style of the big pocket on the outside.  I made this as a thank-you gift for a woman at work.

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It was a challenge.  I powered through and like what I ended up with, but it was a challenge.

And so I made a second of the same tote in the color palette of my life.  And I really, really love it.  The pattern was a lot easier the second time – and very satisfying to make.

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And now I have a sea of in-progress purl soho projects.

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Upper Left: A selfish-sewing modular block quilt

Upper Right: An advent calendar with felt pieces.  This one definitely has a deadline.

Lower Right: Letters for my niece.  This is a wonderful project – making an alphabet using purl soho’s amazing felt (you can’t get stuff like this at Joann).

Lower Left: Giant scarf.  Lots of tiny, tiny stitches.  I love the stitching and I am sure I will love the outcome – but this one probably won’t be ready until next fall.

These are just the purl soho WIPs.  Too, too many.  And so I need to play it as it lays.  No more pushing to finish lots.  I am going to do my best to enjoy my stitches, delight in each little finish, and try really darn hard not to start anything new and staying off the purl soho website.  Wish me luck.

New storage

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This was my fabric storage.  Lovely and folded.  It looked like this twice in the last year.  The open storage is perfect for a Type A.  When it comes to storage, I am so not type A.

In addition to the general failings of open storage, this shelf needed to have that piece of wood between it and the wall to not sway back and forth.

What is a girl to do?  Ikea.  Ikea is the best and the worst.  So inexpensive.  And my husband put together two of these labor-intensive cabinets.  And ta-da !

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I mean, right?  Just love this part of mu atelier now !  A servicable cutting table, lots of scrap storage, and room to display a mini quilt collection as I build it.  Where is the fabric?  There are two more cabinets coming with lots of those baskets so I can put the fabric in there without folding it all to line up.  More pictures and more squeeing later.

It is such a dream to have a room all to myself for sewing, and this beautiful storage makes this even more wonderful.

All The Greens!

My parents have had a hard year.  Those of you who I have shared the details with know that is quite an understatement.

For Father’s Day this year, I wanted to make something that showed my dad how much I loved him.  So much of who I am creatively and intellectually I can trace back to him.  He has always had a desire to experiment – and I feel I live that today.  I want to paint, screenprint, sew, draw – there just isn’t enough time to do it all.

This piece started in the Discover Fiber course I took at KCAI.  The first two sessions were dyeing fabric.  I made lots of greens, not knowing what I was going to do with the fabric.  Once I put them next to each other, I remember a phrase my father has said many times during our humid Missouri summers… “I love all the greens!”  We do have all the greens in a Missouri summer.  The chaotic tangle of trees and vines and bushes.

This is abstract, far from successful, but it really comes from the heart.

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The tone on tone in the middle says “All the green”.  I put in some purple and blue for balance.  The purple to represent the redbuds my dad loves.

I mastered french knots and made a bazillion of them.  While I was making this, I learned about “all-overness” from the abstract expressionism movement and so kept adding and adding and adding knots to get that effect.

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Just so many french knots!  Maybe I am ready for this?

Speaking of green and abstract expressionism, the fam and I went to this wonderful exhibit at the Denver Art Museum of women artists of the movement.  It was very inspiring, in many ways.  And there was this painting by Mary Abbott called “All Green”

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I love this quote from Mary Abbott about the color green:

“Green is more complex — there’s very little green in nature; you think you see it, but you don’t, it’s variations of light.”

Readjusting Expectations

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I have been travelling for work most of this week.  And it has been awesome.  But I miss my family and my sewing a lot.  In my last post I talked a pretty big game about getting lots of WIPs done.  I was going to conquer all and conquer it immediately.  Yes, not so much.

I have transitioned from being a GO GO GO quilter on the weekends to balancing with hanging out with the fam, playing MarioKart, and getting out of the house.  Much more healthy for my mental state, but I get so much less done.

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Last weekend I got this top done for a project linus quilt and got it basted.  (I HATE BASTING SO MUCH I MEAN FOR REALS HATE)  It wasn’t as much as I planned to get done, but I do love the top after spending time to contemplate what would work best.  Because of the color scheme and improv-y parts, I decide to make it big enough for a kid/teenager instead of a baby quilt because I think it will be more appreciated.  It includes 4 orphan blocks, several of the 1/2 square triangles left over from this quilt, and some scraps and stash I was happy to use up.  Something exhilariting in making a dent in all of the glorious fabric I have.  A lot of this fabric I was not sure I loved, but I love it all in this quilt top.

This weekend I will quilt and bind it.  And maybe that is all I will get done and that is ok.  I am setting new, more reasonable goals.  One Project Linus quilt, finishing one WIP per month and then I will allow myself to work on a “new” project.

Find the gray. Find the gray.  Find the gray.

Happy February!

Kittens! And Hello…

So nothing really since May.  How dissapointing.  My life has gotten pretty good.  Work is crazy, crazy, crazy busy.  But I have a job I like.  What a difference that makes.  I would love some more down time, for sure.  But there are worse things.  Lots of down time and a soul-sucking job.  Very little down time and a soul-sucking job.  So on the balance, not too bad.

Enough about that, QUILTS!  I have not been sewing enough.  My goal is to finish three quilts this weekend, that would give me lots to write about.  So, onward.

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These little kitten faces are part of a quilt I made for a charity quilt auction for the local humane society.  I used Oh Frannson!’s pattern (with her permission).  I loved making the kittens because it was all straight-forward piecing, easy square triangles.

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I backed the quilt with a fun mix tape pattern – to round out the 80s color scheme/feel.  And I used a black/white stripe binding.

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I did free-motion matchstick quilting.  Really, truly loved the texture it gave the quilt – although I am not sure how to do it without distorting/pulling the fabric.

The quilt sold for a decent amount at the auction.  So yay!  🙂