While all the cool modern quilters are at QuiltCon in Austin this week, I visited my regional quilt show, the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival yesterday. So so much stuff that wasn’t my taste. It only took an hour for me to see everything I wanted to see, including shopping. The last time I went was three years ago and I found a lot more to be inspired by, but I was also a lot newer to quilting then.
It’s funny how when you spend time online reading blogs of modern quilters, you can start feeling like there’s nothing left original to do because other people are already making so much cool stuff. Here’s what I realized yesterday: the majority of quilters are still older ladies making traditional quilts, there are wide open opportunities for expanding people’s visions of modern quilts, and we all are thinking about essentially the same things, like fabric, thread, how to make our machines do what we want them to, etc.
There’s a modern quilt guild starting up locally that I haven’t gotten a chance to go to yet, but I’ve been following their blog. Looking at the pictures I was starting to feel like it would be just another group of older lady quilters who didn’t really understand what modern was, but I felt newly excited to go one day after seeing a couple things.
One was this quilt above, which was by someone in the VA Beach Modern Quilt Guild who was stretching herself to work with all solids, and had found this pattern (by John Adams aka quiltdad) in a Quilter’s Newsletter magazine and gone to the trouble of re-drafting it in EQ to make this size. The other was this quilt based on a Heather Jones pattern, which is so far from the original colors but still neat to see someone obviously stretching in a new direction.
My phone battery was dying so I don’t have the name of this quilter, but if I had voted for a fan favorite it would have been for this one from Fredericksburg, VA:
The other photos in this post are the vintage and art quilts that I enjoyed at the show.
Without setting a goal, I read about twice as many books in 2012 as in 2011. Go figure – 3 months off of work plus a definite lack of sleep equals finishing more books! I read the Hunger Games and finished the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogies. I haven’t included crafting books (because there were probably too many to count), cookbooks (I don’t think I read any start to finish) or devotional books. Here’s the list, in case you don’t follow me closely on goodreads:
- The Girl Who Played with Fire, Steig Larsson
- The Bird Sisters, Rebecca Rasmussen
- The Secret Lives of Dresses, Erin McKean
- Then She Found Me, Elinor Lipman: so annoying, and they made a movie of it in the 80′s? weird.
- The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins: did you know she used to be a writer for Nickelodeon?
- Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, Lee Goldberg: Listened on CD, it was like a super long episode of the show
- Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling
- Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
- Let’s Panic About Babies, Alice Bradley & Eden Kennedy
- Whose Body?, Dorothy Sayers
- The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Steig Larsson
- Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones
- The Memory Palace, Mira Bartok
- Kisses from Katie, Katie Davis: So amazing
- A Grown-up Kind of Pretty, Joshilyn Jackson
- Bloom, Kelle Hampton
- Orange Jumpsuit, Letters to the God of Freedom, Tarah Leigh-Cobble: Read this, seriously
- Oddfellow’s Orphanage, Emily Martin: definitely for younger audiences (so pass it on to the 3rd graders in your life!)
- Cold Tangerines, Shauna Niequist: I relate to her, makes me want to write more
- Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing, Kathy Cano-Murillo: light fiction about crafting. why isn’t there more of this?
- Bossypants, Tina Fey: may have been Carl’s first book on CD experience
- The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls: reading this and The Memory Palace too close together is a lot on mental illness of mothers
- Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Stout: v good, not much else to say
- Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosney: made it to book club! twice this year!
- Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, Vendela Vida
- Caleb’s Crossing, Geraldine Brooks: Fascinating history of Native Americans at Harvard, made me want to know more about the same time period at W&M
- Riversong, Tess Thompson
- Love Walked In, Maria de los Santos
- A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan: listened on CD and didn’t actually finish it. I liked some characters a whole lot more than others, but those characters didn’t appear enough
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer: nice quick read
- The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro: not at all what I expected, but a really beautifully written book
- The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood: a little ironic to read on a digital reader, yes?
- Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walters: I didn’t need both storylines in this book. It was about twice as long as it needed to be.
- Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese: amazing. I’m afraid to read more of what he’s written, because it may not be as good. Super long, well researched, and well crafted all around.
- My Berlin Kitchen, Luisa Weiss: probably best read within the context of her blog, but I enjoyed it
- Heart of the Matter, Emily Giffin: ugh. no.
- Circle of Quilters, Jennifer Chiaverini: listened on my way to work and wished I could be quilting instead
- The Lotus Keeper, K.R. Dial: wannabe Grisham, but an important topic
- The 19th Wife, David Ebershoff: good book, but I didn’t really want to be reading about polygamy
I need to record all of the crafty things I made for Christmas that I couldn’t share on my blog before they were opened! I put most of them on instagram as I went since the recipients don’t check that, but I didn’t usually get better pictures before they were gifted. This year was fun because of all the babies to sew for!
I wanted to make blocks for the babies using these silky & textured Riley Blake fabrics I bought last summer. I have enough left to make some blankets for gifts, too. They were a lot more difficult to make than I thought they’d be and they’re pretty lumpy. I probably should have interfaced the silky sides and made them a little smaller so I could have stuffed them more firmly. I still need to sew closed the set of these for Becca.
I also made E some pants from Made by Rae’s big butt baby pant pattern in a trailer print because I knew Shannon would like that. The plaid goes in the back (I guess I should have included a tag!). Bonus – now I have the pattern printed in the 6 mo size so I can make some for Becca, too.
These dresses (Oliver & S knit hopscotch dresses) were the most time-consuming thing I took on this Christmas. I made them matching for the two girls in the 6 month size, even though they probably won’t get a chance to wear them together. I love how they look finished, even with a few imperfections. The fabric is a modkid interlock stripe. I cut out a shirt for Becca too before I put the pattern away, so hopefully that will get sewn soon.
I also made a few baby headbands – I’ve been making them like crazy from these tutorials and using my Sizzix.
My mom requested a yellow toaster cover – it was a pretty specific request on her list (maybe Meagan can make one!) so I took on the challenge. This is the kind of project that justifies a big stash (in my mind) – step 1: pick a pretty yellow fabric, step 2: realize that fussy cutting means you’re going to need more than a 1/2 yard, step 3: pick another piece of fabric a few years old that’s almost exactly the same shade of yellow. This would have turned out better if I had made piping to go around the corners (and maybe interfaced? I just don’t like to!), but it should do the trick. It was good that I double checked the measurements with my dad before I cut my quilted panels because otherwise it would have been too small for sure.
I had these frame charms for awhile from pickyourplum knowing that they’d make a cute Grandma necklace, but not knowing exactly how to do that. I used diamond glaze on scrapbook paper, but the first batch were ruined because I didn’t coat the paper with gel medium first. I bought the rose charms from this etsy shop and a chain from JoAnns. Jewelry making feels really awkward for me – I buy beads and things and then get a huge mental block about how they should be combined, and never seem to have the right findings to make everything come together. Hopefully it doesn’t fall apart too quickly.
I started cutting fabric for a quilt for my brother, too, but it was taking a long time so I have permission from him to delay! I still may end up simplifying the design – it’s going to be a triangle quilt so maybe I just won’t make the triangles go all the way to the edges of the rows.
I made this 241 tote over Thanksgiving weekend when we decided not to travel anywhere. It probably would have been smarter to be working on my Christmas gift list, but this pattern had been on my list forever and it was ready to happen right then! The fabric is from Amy Butler’s Love line, and the squares are Anna Maria Horner. I didn’t include any zippers or magnetic clasps, but I did include the inside pocket.I used home dec fabric instead of interfacing on the inside. I’m planning many more of these in my head because I love the way the fabrics are feature together in this bag. I haven’t started using it yet because I feel a little silly about carrying something handmade to work (I don’t want to out my secret as a crazy crafter, although I’ve worn a few handmade things to the office).
One of my sewing projects on maternity leave was to make myself a Wiksten Tova top. I made it out of Daisy Janie Tilly fabric (another print from the line is still available here - it was totally great to sew with). Hopefully it was my first of a few more, but it’s not exactly dressy enough for work (or I haven’t figured out how to make it dressy yet), so we’ll see. It was a great project to do as I had time, because the steps were each straightforward, simple things to do.
I made an XL based on my post-partum measurements, but I had to make a huge bust dart, and then re-draw the armhole and was left with a gaping opening there so I won’t really be able to wear it sleeveless without a cardigan over it. I was kind of just making it sleeveless to save on fabric, but it would have been nice if the armhole had worked out. I don’t know if I should size down to a large or a medium for a next one – I’ve seen the armhole problem on other ones but probably need to read more reviews on flickr to see what other people have done. I’ll definitely be using the sleeve pattern next.
I’m also not quite sure about the neckline – I’ve seen pictures of some that flop open that look ok, but on me I like it to stay closed, so maybe I’ll add some buttons on the next one.
When you’re home with a newborn and a toddler, you have to get creative about your time to get crafty things done. But that room full of fabric was just taunting me! I can be disappointed that I don’t have long stretches of time to spend making things anymore, or I can take advantage of the time I have before I go back to work and chip away at things one step at a time. I might have made something more improvisational in flavor if I had more time to waste, but I wanted to make sure that I’d have something to show for my time when I was done, so I planned it out first. I had a fat 1/8th stack of this line, so I wanted to make the most of the fabric I had. I cut the fabrics in Becca’s first months in short bursts, and made the blocks one or two per day during naptime when it’s safe to plug in the iron. There are 20 12″ blocks here, ready to be sewn into a top.
Carl’s sister is having a baby girl soon, and I took the chance to make a really girly quilt for her. The fabrics are all older Heather Bailey prints from my stash, and the layout is a kind of straight line whirligig. It’s only 36″ square, but it’ll make a good playmat and give a pop of pretty for our sweet niece.
For the quilting, I made flower petals where the bolder pink and green come together, and then loops that connect throughout the white prints across the quilt. I might have put buttons in the center of the quilted flowers if it weren’t going to a baby. Maybe I’ll have to design a quilt where that’s possible.
I’m still posting baby quilts – just one more to get caught up on after this! I’m hoping to stretch to some that are slightly bigger and more complicated next, but we’ll see. There’s something nice about getting something done quickly.
My sister’s baby was due 2 weeks after mine. My baby came 10 days late, and hers a few less than that, but they ended up being born only 1 week apart. While we were waiting for our little girl, though, I worked on finishing up this quilt for my sister’s little boy. I hadn’t been pressuring myself to work on a timeline for it, but I figured while my parents were here and I had some extra babysitting help I might as well work on it. My mom commented that the baby couldn’t come until this quilt was done. Turns out I stitched on the binding Sunday afternoon and had the baby first thing Monday morning! Watch what you say around a late baby, I guess! I had to have them take a couple pictures before they took it back to IL with them, since I was otherwise occupied after it was finished.
I had a pattern that I used as reference for this quilt, but it was written for solids instead of prints, and I misplaced it when I was figuring out sizes, so I just used it for inspiration for the layout and pieced the blocks as snowballs instead of piecing the centers. It’s not easy to see the prints in these pictures, but they include Laurie Wisbrun dogs in trucks, Heather Ross gnomes, a traffic print, green Riley Blake chevrons, and Denyse Schmidt prints from Joann’s in greens and blues. The solid is Connecting Threads in Sandstone. To quilt it, I outlined each print in the solid section. Inside the printed pieces I used a sketchy scalloped starburst design that you can kind of see on the back. There were a ton of threads to bury, but otherwise it worked fine. It did work well for short quilting sections to not be doing an all over design. It measures about 56×62 – on the bigger end of baby quilts, but not to big to move around. Hopefully it’ll be something little Edward can grow up with and have fun with for a long time!
In my effort to get caught up on baby quilts (and get it sent out with the long overdue quilt in my last post), I decided to make the quilt for this baby boy very simple. Two half yard cuts of the green animals (by Eleanor Grosch, one of my favorite illustrators / surface pattern designers – still available some places) separated by strips of blue (from Connecting Threads).
The problem is that even simple quilts have to be basted and quilted! Quilting a baby quilt doesn’t take long and isn’t a dreaded part of the process any more (yay for my vintage Bernina 830!), but I always procrastinate on the basting piece, and then the quilting falls to the end of the queue behind several other projects. This almost-whole-cloth design was fun, though, for trying out a couple new to me designs, along with my favorite meandering loops. I thought the zig-zags looked a little like grass for the animals to be hiding in.
When I was done I realized that I had left the feed dogs up this time, but it didn’t seem to make the quilting any harder. I just had to make sure to slow down how fast I was moving the quilt when the stitches started getting too long. I backed this one in a solid green (Kelly from Connecting Threads) that shows off the different quilting stitches well.