Monday, July 30, 2007


The neverending quilt has come to an end. I made a big push last week and dedicated every free minute to getting this quilt done. While working on the quilt I had a million things running through my head that I would like to mention about this quilt here on my blog. Right now all I really want to say about it is "Done". But, if I don't go into it now, I never will.

First I want to talk about the inspirations for this quilt. Back about 5 months ago I fell in love with the Freshcut line by Heather Baily. So pretty. Pretty colors. Pretty designs mixed together with cool designs and I just really wanted to make something with this fabric. Lucky for me, I was pregnant with a little girl. What better reason to make a quilt? I couldn't decide (because I had pregnancy brain) which colorway to order, so I got the whole line in fat quarters.

This meant I needed a quilt that would be sort of scrappy. I perused many quilt books, magazines, web sites trying to decide on a pattern. Let's just say now that pregnancy brain held up the flow of this quilt at many points. Finally, I choose Marquee from The Modern Quilt Workshop. I have no memory of why this seemed like the right pattern to go with.
When I had it all pieced, I felt like all those empty white squares needed to be filled with stuff. So, started trying to come up with some applique designs. I did okay on my own for a few of them, and then I came across the amazing Geninne's Art Blog, which inspired several of the designs as well. At the time that I did this I didn't think one way or the other about it. I looked at her drawings and made them into applique designs. Since then I have read on other peoples blogs about how protective they are about people replicating their work. I feel like my end results are quite removed from her work. Nonetheless, I hope I did not cross the line.

Once I decided on all the applique designs, I traced them onto fusible web, adhered them to fabric, ironed them all down to the quilt top and started to stitch around the edges. Nope. I didn't like the way that was coming out at all. I pulled them all off and re-did everything as freezer paper applique. This way all the applique is sewn on by hand and I like the result much better.

I wanted to include her name or initials on the quilt, so I did one square with embroidery. No worries that I don't know how to embroider at all. The name came out all crooked, so I added a flower motif to balance things out a little.
So far, so good. Then it was time to quilt this quilt. I did not have the patience to hand quilt like I think would have been best. Instead, I stuck it under my machine and plowed forward. The quilting is probably my least favorite part of the quilt. I did all the quilting with my free motion foot. This was very hard to do. Don't ever be fooled by people who make free motion quilting look easy, or say things like "it's just like drawing with my sewing machine". It is hard and frustrating. Of course, practice makes perfect (or at least better in my case). The quilting right in the middle, and most obvious, is terrible, while the quilting as I moved toward the sides is much better. Oh well.

At one point while I was working on this quilt Betsy looked at it and gasped "oh! That's so cutieful Mama". In the end, I will agree with her that it is "cutieful". It has a lot of special meaning to me and hopefully to Tess someday. I think it will look nice as a wall hanging over her crib if you stand back and blur your eyes at it a little bit so the mistakes aren't too glaring.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Crafts are taking over the house

With the encouragement of my reader (thanks Janet), I will do a post without even having a completed project to show. In an effort to contain all the crafts around the house I'm trying to make our living room the primary area where I craft. Mostly now I have stuff all over the place. When I get going on a project, I basically destroy all order in the house. I can make the biggest messes in about one naptime. Now, I don't want everything in my living room, but I would like to keep the fabric, notions and machine in there. One of the key things needed for the room to be more crafty was a good size table big enough to spread out fabric, paper, patterns or whatever. Not to fancy that I would worry about marking it up, but not so ugly that I wouldn't want it in such a highly visible spot. Up until now I have been working with this. Nice table, but too small and the top is uneven so I couldn't use it for cutting.
As great luck would have it, my next door neighbors had a garage sale this weekend and were selling a dining table. I told them I was interested and when it hadn't sold by the end of the weekend, they said I could have it for $60. So, that's what I'm showing in the picture above. I'm so happy with it. It doesn't look crumy at all. I think it is a very pretty table. And it works great! Nice and flat for cutting. Big and roomy for spreading out unfinished projects.

Currently the table is sporting the neverending quilt, which is now a quilt sandwich waiting to be quilted. EEEKK! By machine? By hand? Both? I'm doing a little practice on the machine before I touch the quilt.

In other news, Tess is a jumbo size baby! At her two month checkup she is in the 95th% for her height and 85th% for weight (10.8 lbs). So funny to have such a big baby. Betsy is so tiny she has never made it on to a growth chart, Patrick has hugged the 3% curve for years and Maria has always been around 25th% for everything.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Back to school dresses

I don't really know where I'm going with this blog. I would like to be able to keep up with it more frequently, but I don't make the time. I do some sort of crafting almost everyday, but right now it might just be sewing a few seams, making a few embroidery stitches, or at the least thinking up some ideas for future projects. I usually have nothing terribly interesting or complete to post about. I also feel like posts without a picture are just boring. So should I take photos of incomplete projects? I've already posted so many photots of the quilt I'm working on that I can't keep doing that. It's really the completed photo and post that is the motivation to get the project done.

Nonetheless, I have finished two dresses this week. The green jumper (Butterick # 4718) has a super cute lightweight canvas from Superbuzzy with a Wizard of Oz print for the bodice. The skirt is green corduroy. I first made the skirt out of a light blue cord, but that didn't work at all. The green looks better, but it is kinda stiff. I hope it will soften up more as it is washed. I think it will look really cute with a red turtleneck and tights for back to school. If you don't wear a dress like this in Kindergarten, when will you ever.

The white dress is a repeat of a dress (Butterick 4176) I made for Betsy in the spring. I had some of this white linen left over, and used scraps (left over from the neverending quilt) for binding. It is crazy cute. I love it.

This has been a good summer so far. I've been getting the kids to the pool all the time. Betsy has totally learned how to swim and she is not even four. Maria and Pat are doing great in their lessons too. Tess loves to sleep while we are at the pool, she must love the sound of the water. She really is a great baby. I've booked flights to the Cape for August. I can't wait to be at the beach. I hope I can manage another post before I leave.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I have not been able to make much time for crafting over the past month. I added some embroidery to the quilt top that I am working on. I did it pretty much freehand. I was really stuck on how to do this. I don't have any software at all on my computer, so I couldn't type it out and trace. I didn't want to buy any more crafting books that might show some nice ways to do letters. So, I just made it all up myself. And it looks like it. Oh well. Sometimes road blocks in a project can be maneuvered with grace and finesse, and some just need to be plowed through. I hope I can get back some of the enthusiasm I once had for this quilt so I can get it done soon. I don't like starting new things when one is still lingering near completion.

I can't believe Tess will be six weeks old in two days. With a new baby in the house, time has taken on new meanings to everyone. I swear it seams like Tess was born last week but it was over a month ago. The kids think waiting just one year for her to walk will take so long. My mom remembers the cicadas of 17 years ago only being around for about 24 hours. Yep, we are in a weird baby induced time-warp. I'm hoping we will be out of it soon, so when she takes a 2 hour nap it feels like more than 10 minutes.