Friday, February 26, 2010

more metacognition

of quilting, that is.  I finished my February Bee's Knees blocks last night...

fg angle 2

::  I officially love quilts made only of solids.  There's a flickr group for this, in fact (I think there is a flickr group for every topic conceivable to man).  I'm not sure I'll ever commit to a solids-only quilt, though, because there's some small part of me that would feel disappointed to not be using prints, which makes no sense, but so it is.

::  Even though I didn't love each of these colors individually, or even each pair of geese, I definitely love how they work as a whole (also true of my star--the less I thought about it as I went, the better it looked).  I can't wait to see this quilt finished!

::  I had a theme as I sewed, but you'd never know it to look at the finished blocks.

::  Bees blocks are great for motivating me to try new things.  I don't think I would have chosen this block on my own, but making these certainly got my wheels turning.  Half-square triangles and variations are amazing to me.  So many different design possibilities from such a simple base.

flying geese chair

::  How can the back of a quilt play off the top?  In the tutorial Claire asked us to use for the blocks, Crystal mentions using the triangle scraps for mini-pinwheel cool would those be scattered over the back?  I'm sending my scraps back to Claire in case she wants to go that route.

flying geese scraps

:: it is extremely satisfying when points match. It is extremely irritating when they are off by a hair.

and finally...

::  For heaven's sake, what do I have to do to get my blocks to lie flat

fg angle 1

Happy weekend, all!  Mine will be full of cleaning the kitchen, spider web blocks for Brioni, and pizza!  Oh, and we'll get our basement floor back.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

what's happening?


Not too terribly much.

A star.

Some bee blocks in the making.

A quilt in my head.

A stack of fabric for another.

A hat I just have to finish.

Fundraiser business.  Do you know how annoying it is when graphics files don't upload properly?

The highlight?  A meeting.  Check out the photo on KateKwiltz...I'm third from the left.  A terrific group of talented women.  Fun!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

as promised...

What most people would call the guest room, we call Grandma's room.  Other people have stayed in it, but she is our most frequent guest.  Since I try to keep our room relatively gender-neutral, Grandma's room is the landing spot for all things pastel. 

When I was pregnant with Alex, my nesting instinct zeroed in on his room and this room--I was obsessed with tiny details that she probably didn't even notice when she stayed with us after he was born, but they were critical to me.  I'll never forget how I forgot to buy flowers (difficult to do with a newborn and a c-section), and was crushed.

Fast-forward two years.  71 to1, I was the winner of this giveaway from Ashely at Film in the Fridge; in my comment, I thought I'd try a pillow if I won.  This was early in my quilting life.  I didn't have a sewing machine that could handle free motion quilting, and so once I got them in the mail, they sat.

bento pillow close-up

Fast-forward six months.  A new machine, a first quilt under my belt, and a little courage in my heart since I hadn't inserted a zipper since about 1997--and the blocks are, as promised, a pillow.

bento pillow

I spent a really long time deciding how to arrange them (which I'm OK with because in the process I came up with another really fun idea), and finally settled on this design, where the centers face up on one side and down on the other.  I think it best spaces the prints, and adds some movement to the front.  I know the actual bento block design doesn't use sashing, but since the quartered blocks weren't switched out with others made of different prints, I liked the way it broke things up.

The sashing and back are Kona muslin, and I tried a kind of longer stipple on the diagonal, to both echo and contrast the design of the blocks.  Ashley was kind enough to include her scraps, and I used them in the pieced binding (with tips from Malka of A Stitch in Dye) and for the back,

bento pillow back

which I love because it's like the butterfly is flying through the pillow.

These photos employ the time-honored blogger photo technique of cropping out the disaster that surrounds the subject.  When you're remodeling the basement, everything has to go somewhere, and somewhere at our house is Grandma's room.  She had to climb over all of this junk as she made her way to bed on a recent visit, but our Grandma is a good Grandma, and she doesn't complain.  Of course, the pillow is hers.

Monday, February 15, 2010


letters in action

The perfect February show and tell item, beautifully made by Mike's grandmother back in the early '80s or so and a recent obsession around here,


was missing three stuffed cuties.   What with the valentine signing and all the night before (conveniently, show and tell and the Valentine's Day party fell on the same day), I was stitching and dodging stuffing ball launches up until the moment we left for school.

I have not a clue what the originals were (we'll likely find them around here one day), but together, we came up with a couple of ideas.  W is for water, L is for lollipop: 

l is for lolloipop

and my favorite:

h is for heart

"H is for heart, mommy.  It's perfect for Valentine's Day!"

My even-favoriter favorite:

p is for pilot

P is for pilot.  He came up with that one all on his own.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

happy hearts...

because it's hearts day, and because that's what we have around here.

Funny how after you have children, holidays totally revolve around foods:

pink foods

heart ice cream sandwiches:

heart sandwich

and writing A-l-e-x over and over (32 times!) and stamping and a 'copter, o my!

My valentine for Mike is still in the car.  I hope he knows I love him.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

lemonade, a long time in the making

binding detail

Finally, I am a Fresh Modern Quilter.

front full

A year or more since I figured out that there was such a thing as modern quilting, and a lot of planning, researching, thinking, and new-sewing-maching-buying (thanks, Mom & Dad!) later, I have finally finished my first quilt: Making Lemonade.  Aptly named for its colors, but also because the layout for the top evolved from a cutting mistake--forgotten now, because I just love it so much.

back full 3

I remember reading on one blog or another (maybe here?) about how wonderful the moment of pulling a first quilt out of the dryer would be, and it really, really was.  Certainly a highlight of my crafting career; maybe one of the top ten moments of my life.  Anyone who's a crafter probably doesn't think I'm crazy for saying so, and anyone who does should definitely take up quilting.  I really liked knitting when I first learned, and still do, but the combination of thinking, planning, rearranging, designing, actual making, and the handwork at the end makes quilting just the perfect craft.  I'm completely hooked.

The top is pieced from Ginger Blossoms by Sandi Henderson, with a liberal amount of Yellow Tiled Primrose from Heather Bailey's Bijoux line (which I didn't love until it was quilted and now I wish I could buy more) and Kona muslin.  The backing is random scraps with more of the muslin, and I stippled it novice-style and pieced the binding like crazy.  It measures about 49" by 36"--hopefully a good size for a baby quilt.

back detail

No matter that I'm giving it away...I've already bought fabric for the next one, which I'll be keeping right here at home.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

under (and prisoners of) the weather


Of course we're not the only ones to be dealing with fever, coughs, sneezing, and etc., but a few days home from school, cooped up with a foot of snow outside (plus an earthquake!?!), sure does make it feel that way.

Symptoms aside, he feels fine, so at least we've been keeping busy.

heart crystals

Heart crystals (also above).


Beads.  With which we make bracelets for each other, with names.  I personally am proudly sporting a princess bracelet and a Celia bracelet, which look almost the same.  Very definite ideas about which colors should be used.  Next up for Alex are a fireman bracelet and a fire chief bracelet (not sure how, or if, those will differ).

ladybug stamp

Stamping, for Valentines and just for fun.  "I choosed black and red for the ladybug because ladybugs are black and red."  Later, for a funny joke, a purple and green ladybug was made.  As an aside, taping down our paper with painters tape is my smartest idea in a long time.  I'm sure I'm thwarting some kind of keep-the-paper-still-on-his-own developmental skill, but the decrease in frustration trumps that for now.


Chalk.  We (I) also drew a bug house and a monster house. Very definite ideas about furniture. Note the Mike bracelet.

All with our monster soundtrack in the background, including songs from Justin Roberts, Laurie Berkner, Sesame Street, and of course, the movie.  Dancing was interspersed.

Tomorrow, a quilt.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

a little February cheer


I saw this idea here first, and during our art-and-craft-athon on Sunday, we pulled out an old MSL and punched.  The heart punch was a hit, for sure.


Then, I put the hearts in a bag, and forgot all about them until this morning.  Not a moment to waste.

We wound the bobbin,

bobbin winder

sorted the hearts,

choosing hearts

saved a favorite for later (in a zookeeper hat, of course, the safest place of all),

safe keeping

and (I) sewed.

Lessons learned:


layering back to back will make heart flipping and reflection irrelevant (a lesson for next year), and it's difficult to take a quality photo of a mirror.