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.

 

This week’s baby quilt

My life continues to be full of baby quilts.  I haven’t been quilting much lately, but the baby quilt to do list has been stacking up.  The latest one is pictured below.  It is an enlarged block from Farm Girl Vintage book.  I ended up tying it to finish it, but didn’t get a picture of the finished front.  And the backing is MOMO for Moda.  Love, love, love that fabric.

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My birthday just happened (woot!)  I had a fabulous day.  The family took me out for crepes, gave me beautiful gifts and funny cards, and then I got to spend the whole day sewing.  It was really wonderful.

And a new year brings new commitments to being healthy, writing, and sewing sewing sewing.  I have lots of piles of projects, ready to finish.  If I do a baby quilt a week (!!), I will be caught up with gifts and charity projects in 15 weeks.  Stay tuned…

Half-square triangles are cool

I got my mega 1/2-square triangle back from the quilters.  Mega because it took a long time.  And was lots of love.  And I am thrilled with the result.  It makes me very happy every time I look at it.

I love the colors – a jazzy rainbow.  I love the shapes formed by the random placement of blocks.  I have redone the quilt hanging on this wall three times now.  I think I am finally happy enough to let it hang there for a long time.

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I dream of a home that is spacious and new and simple.  But I also am nostalgic for the house we live in now.  Overflowing with books and records and fabric and funky.  This quilt  embodies that.  It is just so darn cool.

This is by far the best thing I have ever made.  I love that if you spend time and energy working on something, you get better at it.  Such a simple concept, but so rewarding.

Hello there!

I do not have a coherent post today.  I am often writing blog posts in my head – coherent, theme-based, elucidating posts.  And then I find time to write and cannot find the good stuff.  Today reflects the chaos of my mind right now – some miscellaneous thoughts…
Happy 2017!  As documented sporadically on this blog, 2016 was a challenging year for me.  The losses were (are) big. But there were some pretty big gains also – a new perfectly devilish kittencat, becoming a museum guide at the Nelson-Atkins, new friends, liking my job, learning new artsy skills.
Today I met with my trainer and pal Mandy and she said that the goal for me this year would be to become a lot stronger.  This makes me unreasonably happy.  Every month working with her I have been able to do more.  And the idea of crushing it is really motivating.  Really motivating.
I am fighting the urge to create 2017 resolutions.  I am fighting the urge to break down my life into a series of goals, create mini-steps to get each of those goals.  Entirely unachievable mini-steps, that is.  And I am fighting the urge to put all of these mini-steps in a spreadsheet and put little Xs next to each achievement.  Because it doesn’t work.
But I am trying to incorporate more of the things that make me feel happy into my every day.  I have started a Bullet Journal – and am avoiding Google Docs and Excel.
Every day I am going to work on getting stronger, meditate, blog, read for a little bit, create something, organize something, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  I won’t do all of these every day, but if I do most of them most of the days, I will be building a foundation for a happier life.
I have done a fair amount of sewing over the last month.  I made a purse, a tote, several  pouches, almost finished an advent calendar and started a baby quilt.  I didn’t get pictures of all of them, but here is what I did capture:

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.

No, really, this one

I recently posted the most dope baby boy quilt  have ever made.  In the year of baby boy quilts (5 and counting), the latest one I made has supplanted the previous one in dopeness…

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I just absolutely love how it turned out.  This quilt is for very special friends, so I used my favorite fabric.. v and co ombre (in navy, lime, mint, gray, yellow, turquoise) and tim holtz dictionary fabric.   I am down to about 7 yards of that and am getting more than a little panicky.

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I quilted the top and batting together and the tied the backing to the top and batting using Aurifil floss (I am such a name dropper !).  Tying takes so much more time than binding, but I love the effect so much more.  I think the quilts look crisper, drapes better, and seems a bit more modern.  This is probably all just in my imagination, but I like it better – you can’t stop me.

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I finished this the night before it was mailed.  So my pictures aren’t the best.  But I know I’ll eventually get a gorgeous picture with a gorgeous baby on this quilt (hint, hint).

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The quilt is a modification of a pattern that is free from purl soho.  I am addicted to purl soho.  More on that later.  If you make piece with the number of 1/2-square triangles you have to make, this pattern is a dream.  And I let go and let the blocks come together “organically”.  That was difficult for me, but the results speak for themselves, I believe.  If I were to write the pattern…

  1.  Get some awesome prints and a ton of v and co ombre
  2. Cut a bunch of squares the same size – I cut 200.*
  3. Use the squares to make 1/2-square triangle blocks s until your eyes bleed.  Or until you have a 2:1 ratio of 1/2 square triangle blocks to squares.
  4. Sew into a 10×12 grid.

* The pattern describes how to make 1/2-square triangles using 2 squares to yield 2 blocks.  I use 2 squares to yield one block because I think it is the only way for me to get my blocks square without spending my life squaring blocks.  BUT I do follow this one tip from Jenny at Missouri Star Quilt.  This method  takes a bit more time, but I think is worth it.  Now all I need is a machine that irons open the seams on 1/2-square triangles without needing me.  I’ll ask for that with my fourth wish.

I sew another seam 1/2 inch from the diagonal seam so I get a little baby block that I can use in a later project.  Because we all know I am not going to use all of those triangle scraps, no matter how much I try to convince myself.

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I started sewing some of the extra blocks together – pictured above.  To the left of the cat… yes, I know the cat is cute, but there is some sewing in the picture too…yes, to the left of the cat.

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For the backing, I got some more zoology.  I have spent a lot of hours looking for cute backings for baby boy quilts, and all that searching brought me back to zoology.  I had enough left over from projects to make a tote bag to donate to a local children’s hospital.  Next to it is another safari-type print from a quilt I made several years ago.  So adorable!

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I loved the finished project of this quilt, and so I embark on making one for myself.  I have cut, cut, cut.  Now I am working on the 1/2-square triangles.

 

A Baby Quilt Update

I currently am working on the most dope baby quilt I have ever made.  Not kidding – truly the greatest.  But because that baby quilt is secret sewing, here are some pictures of some other baby quilts I have wrapped up quickly.  They are pretty ok…

img_3434This was made based on a pattern in wanderlust quilts.  I modified and simplified it a bit so there weren’t any Y-seams.  I used V and Co. Ombre.  Something about the ombres, especially the yellow and turquoise make it look light the quilt is lit from within.  I used Kona Medium Gray… and my favorite baby boy quilt back fabric of the season, this Zoology print..

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I loved giving this quilt.  The mom recipient is one of my favorite people.  And she really loved the quilt.

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Next up is a quilt made for a friend who was going to be surprised by the gender.  When I ask what colors a nursery is going to be decorated, the trend is going to get very specific answers.  Which I would be the EXACT SAME if I was decorating a nursery.  But as a quiltmaker, I yearn for free color  and artistic control.  So when this mom said, “um, I don’t know, green?” I was thrilled.  And wowzer did I get crazy with the green.  I had a lot of fun with this quilt.

 

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How sweet is that?  Love all of those greens – and I do think it will be equally cheerful for a boy and girl.  This has become my favorite baby quilt pattern.  It is on-point 5-in squares and tied.  The tieing and no binding make the quilts lay flatter and look cleaner.

I backed this quilt with a fun all-over numbers green print.

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I have made 4 boy quilts in a row, so I was ready for a girl quilt.  So I used the same pattern and went crazy with the girly flowery prints.

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Oh my gosh, that quilt is my jam !!  I still have to tie it, but then it will go to Project Linus.  I think it will make a small girl and a family happy.  With all those beautiful blooms, how couldn’t it?