Purple & Olive Squares Quilt

Oh, hey! I have another finished project to share. See those colored leaves on the ground, too? They’re from one of our crape myrtles, and it’s pretty exciting when the leaves finally start changing colors and falling – we have a late, short season for fall colors here in southeastern Virginia.

I finished sewing on the binding Saturday morning (ugh, I don’t yet understand why some say it’s their favorite step, it’s the part I’d most like to outsource). This is my sixth finished quilt this year (one hasn’t been photographed), and my new goal is quilts for Christmas gifts, so I have a few left to finish in the next couple of months. I sewed this top in an evening, and was smart enough to make the backing and baste it at the same time, so that with the simplest quilting pattern ever, it was easily finished.

This was my favorite type of piecing to do – no planning whatsoever. I cut a bunch of squares in various sizes, and the rest into strips. I wasn’t really thinking about the number of squares that I’d need for the larger quilt squares, thus the stripe of patchwork up the middle and down the back. I had to cut a few extra strips as I went to finish the borders of each quilt square. I was happy with the number of squares I ended up with and the variety of color combinations. The dark purple is Anna Maria Horner (bohemian?) and the green is Michael Miller mirror dots. The background is essex linen/cotton in sand.

There’s not much purple left in my stash after using this fat quarter for part of the back. I’ll try to restrain myself, but if I see good purples I may just buy them since they seem to be hard to find! I quilted this in random lines since I was needing to get it quilted so I could use my basting pins for another project, and this project was open in my browser window at the time. I won’t say it improved my machine quilting skills at all, but the randomness of the lines works well for me with the improvised way I pieced the top.

I should probably start measuring these to see exactly what size they are, but this one is another small-ish throw. My husband likes the color combination, so it’ll probably be sticking around our house which makes me happy!

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New (old) jewelry

(Yes, it’s kind of a copycat photo…)

A couple of weeks when my in-laws were in town, my mother-in-law wanted to check out a gift shop she’s come to like, and I tagged along, doubting it would even be open on a Saturday afternoon. Turns out not only was it open, but they were hosting a semi-annual jewelry sale where everything in several larges chests of drawers was $6. The jewelry was estate, deadstock, and close-out jewelry and ranged in style and quality over quite a wide range. We both had fun looking through it, and thanks to her generosity I picked out a few things (these brooches and a few necklaces). The necklaces were easy to choose – I could envision the styles and types of outfits I would wear with each. The pins, however, were a little more difficult. They’re the kind of thing that I realize I need after I put an outfit together, not when I’m picturing the outfit in advance. We’ll see if this group fits the bill once we get a little bit further into the season for wintry layers. The earrings that were for sale seemed more dated in style to me, and I wasn’t brave enough to pick out gifts for anyone since the styles were so eclectic, but they said the sale is held twice a year so I’ll definitely be looking at the chalkboard sign in front of this restaurant gift shop a little more closely in the future.

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Bloggers’ Quilt Festival

parkcitygirl.blogspot.comI was hoping to have a more impressive, newer quilt to share for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, or at least the T-shirt quilt I finished last night, but alas no pictures of that. That’s all right, because I haven’t yet written about the first quilt that I completed from start to finish.

It’s funny, because in my mind I’m quite the quilter, and by looking at my shopping habits and stash building habits over the last couple of years you’d likely think the same. But it wasn’t until April of this year that I made my first quilt from start to finish (I had pieced and quilted another, but never put the binding on it). Since this one was a gift, there was a little more of a deadline on it. My friend, the recipient’s mom, is a big fan of toile, so I knew I wanted to make a quilt out of this fabric before she even got pregnant. Amazingly, I limited myself to a charm pack, which worked fine for this size quilt. The solid green is Amy Butler “linen”, which I really fell in love with. I free-motion quilted it in loop-de-loops. They’re far from perfect with quite a few skipped stitches, but I’m sure that’ll get better and easier with each quilt I make (although I’ve been using my walking foot quite a bit lately). I used a panel of the Michael Miller baby toile print on the back.

Go to the Quilt Festival post on the Park City Girl blog to see everyone else’s beautiful quilts!

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Another puppy post

Yeah, it’s turning into a bit of a puppy blog. I have been making some progress on quilty projects, but I’m not so good at remembering to take in-progress photos. I applied for a holiday craft show, too, so if that happens I’ll be making like crazy!

My in-laws came down on Saturday with their dog, Jack, who is 12 years older. It’s hard to believe that Trigger’s going to get this big, or close to it. He seemed so tiny in comparison, even though we can tell how much he’s growing. It was a little bit overwhelming in our small house! The energy levels of the two dogs were a little bit like that of a toddler and a grandpa, but it was good to have them here and Trigger celebrated with a nice long nap after they left.

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Picnic Quilt

This one’s for us, and I’m so glad to have it around. I considered putting it in the shop, but it was too special to me. I love the mix of fabrics – the reds don’t match exactly, and there are new & vintage quilting cottons, along with a couple recycled thrift shop shirts that started the whole thing off.

The squares are about 10″ each. I cut it and laid it out one afternoon in the spring when I had received some bad news, and about all I could do was look at fabric and put it together. I made the back at the same time, but kind of stalled out when it came to basting and quilting it – partly because it was large enough that I needed to clear out the living room to baste it, and partly a fear of puckering that I should probably just get over.

I used leftover squares & fabric from the front for the backing, along with the ikea heart fabric. The ikea fabric is very bold and graphic, but on the back you don’t have to look at it as long. The quilting is straight lines about 2″ apart, and the binding is a black and white print.

The puppy seems to approve.  We don’t have a fence around our yard (yet…we’ll see), so if he’s outside we have to be with him. Sometimes I know he’d stay out longer and play by himself, but I’m bored and all of my work is indoors. Sunday afternoon, though, I brought the blanket out and sat with him while he slept and worked on my hand quilting project a little while Carl attacked some projects in the yard.

I finished the hand quilting last night, so hopefully I’ll be able to share the finished project soon. I sewed about three seams on the machine yesterday before the puppy was awake and coming to check out what I was doing (and the bedroom floor isn’t quite clear enough for him to wander around by the machine). The iron is what really scares me, though, since he likes to chew on cords and there’s too much room for him to get hurt.  Can I mention, too, that based on conversations before we got married I always imagined that I’d be the disciplinarian with kids and Carl would be more lenient. If it works the same as with the puppy, it turns out I’m quite the softy, and Carl enforces the rules (which he’s usually strict about for the health and safety of the dog).

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What it’s like with my puppy

I knew having a puppy would be a lot of work, but there were a few things I didn’t anticipate. It’s a good thing my job is slightly flexible and I have the freedom to work from home (and we’ve had friends come to let him out on mornings when I needed to be in the office).

  1. He’s pretty willful. I swear he’s looked right at me and peed on the carpet.
  2. Puppies have small bladders! The times when he does let me know he needs to go outside by going to the door, if I have to reach for the leash it’s already too late.
  3. He gets bored easily and needs new toys all the time, or anything could become the new toy. If we’re not giving him attention we can expect a nip!
  4. We’re pretty bonded – he follows me from room to room, and even if he’s sleeping he looks up periodically to see where I am and will drag himself to lay down somewhere else. This makes it really difficult to get things done! Computer work needs to happen during naps so I feel better about going on long walks, but then I’m all tired out.
  5. He does a cute thing where he picks up his leash with his mouth to “direct” me during walks.
  6. He’s slept through the night the past couple nights so no complaints there!
  7. Cuddle time is the best 🙂 Especially when we bring him to bed in the morning so we can get a couple extra minutes.
  8. Paper and plastic are his favorite things, followed closely by fabric. The biggest problem I see with sewing right now, though, is having the iron set up with a wire he’ll want to chew or could trip over. The most I’d been able to do creatively is some sketching and some lettering.
  9. It’s all worth it!
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