Sunday, March 31, 2013

FMQ heals us. Peter Joseph's quilt.

Peter always our precious and loved child.

mini irish chain quilt berevement
A quilt for baby Peter.

Is it a good thing to say that I had a good cry before starting to free motion quilt today (a couple weeks ago, admitedly it took me a while to finish it)?

I knew it would happen. I knew I'd cry at some part of this process. I'm sewing a bereavement quilt. It's a teeny baby quilt for a teeny baby.

Peter Joseph passed away only a few days after birth, but the grief of losing him is strong for my friend Nick and his wife Lauren.

irish chain bereavement quilt

Admittedly I haven't been very good at keeping in touch with Nick. Years back we worked together leading bible camps for kids - we traveled in a group of just four of us throughout the diocese of Fargo. We all grew a lot that summer, and those friendships won't fade even in the years we may go without connecting. When I heard the news that Peter had been born via emergency c-section at just 24 weeks my heart just broke for them. They've had the greatest joy and the hardest grief all in one week.

mini quilt irish chain

There's not a lot that I can do but pray. And sew, yes I can sew. I got set right away, on some teeny tiny nine patches (nine patches finishing at just 3" each), and a fairly modern color scheme with a traditional and tiny pattern. Even little Peter is loved enough to need a quilt.

Maybe this quilt will help Nick and Lauren grieve, maybe it'll end up in a box somewhere. It doesn't matter too much, it's only a quilt. What matters is that they'll know that I sat and prayed while I sewed this for their most precious little boy.

prairie points

For the souls of the faithfully departed, by the mercy of God, may they rest in peace.
Rest in peace Peter. You're loved.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sew Thinky Thursday: Week 9

These weeks are just flying by! Crazy! This week is an easy question - go with your gut and tell me whatever comes to mind first. No need to over think... ok, ok you can over think if you want. 

If you were a quilt block which one would you be?

Base your answer on what you use most, or what is more metaphorically you. Please try to link to an example, or show a pic of the block if you have one so we'll know exactly what block you mean!

Now for my answer:

Some of my favorite projects using my fav blocks! For individual links to the pics go here.
If I were a quilt block I'd be a prairie point. Why? First off I'm not good at following directions so of course I would pick something that's not actually a block. If I had to choose a real block I'd say a flying geese, or a wonky star. I love the thought of flying geese - flying on their way to great things. I like the symmetry and challenge of getting all those points just so. I like doing things precise and tiny and big and crazy, flying geese are good at both. And what can I say, those little prairie points have my heart. 

Now it's your turn! Choose your favorite block and come back to link up with us! Remember to link back here, and to leave some comments on the other posts! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

WIP Wednesday!

These geese are destined for a doll quilt... the finished block will be 8" Each triangle is about 1" wide!
It's stalled because I ran our of Kona Coal for the outside parts... lol. The dots are too busy!
This week I have finally returned to my normal sewing schedule! It's awesome to have the time and energy to sew!

I managed to finish this cutie little doll quilt, and another teeny baby quilt.

Tiny baby quilt for a friend - will be revealed soon.
Last night I also finished a sweet bunting for my friend's daughter. Totally cute, but I didn't take pics. 

New projects to start soon:
  • Duffel bag for the Sew Sew Modern swap -- I'll be using this pattern, but altering it so that it's fully lined (no raw edges here!) 
  • Mini quilts! More Minis!
  • Elaine's birthday present -- we're doing an EEE birthday swap - and Elaine's birthday is first!
  • Two flannel receiving blankets. (thanks God for this list or I would have forgotten about those!) Need to buy some flannel!
Aeroplane Bag pattern by Sara Lawson

I'm adding one more to this super long list - a bag for my sewing machine (not the Juki) to carry it to guild sew-ins. Yes, I'm talking about the awesome Aeroplane bag! I saw Sara's last week and I really can't resist any longer. I just got my pattern and I've picked out the outside fabrics (still undecided about the handles and lining). 

Projects that haven't been worked on in forever:
  • Bubble quilt
  • {Modern} Robin - no progress - I'm longing to long arm this one (myself)... it's going to be seriously intense quilting.
  • Roseann's quilt
  • Sabrina's quilt
  • Harry Potter Patronus mini

Sweet tiny mini quilts!

I've been spending the past week or two working little by little one some tiny quilts. I finished two of them up last night. 

First up I have a tiny string quilt - the blocks measure just 2.5" square. These blocks were the practice blocks for my Doll Quilt Swap 11 quilt which I had sent to Maria. I had set these blocks aside in an envelope marked "make a doll quilt for myself like Maria's DQS." I finally did it. Of course I didn't have the same amount of blocks, or the fancy teeny NY Beauty for the back like the one I made for Maria did, but it's still pretty fun. 

The blocks are floating in a border of natural linen, backed with orange solid and bound with a fabulously bossy Anna Maria Horner print. I'm really pretty happy with this little guy. The quilting could have gone a bit smoother. I used a thicker batting than normal (some sample that I had, I'm not sure what it was), that and the linen paired with the fact that I don't have a working walking foot meant I had a little bit of stretching happen. Nothing too bad, and it has relaxed a bit today and is less noticeable, but it's annoying. 

The second mini has been pieced and quilted for a couple weeks now. I've been trying to get a minute to bind it, and that finally happened last night! This one is a tiny baby quilt - for my college friend. I'll do the full reveal later this week since it has a deeper story. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sewing with friends!

I'm slowly getting back into my groove sewing! This has been helped along by some awesome friends. 

Last week Sara invited Emily and I over to sew. Lucky for me her schedule is the same as mine (sewing after putting her kids to bed!) - so it was super easy to clear time to go sew!

I'm pretty lucky to have local sewing friends like this. It was a refreshing night - a chance to hang out and socialize and sew a little bit too! 

Vintage singer 301a

I brought my vintage Singer 301a machine with me - I'd really never sewn with this machine for any length of time, so it was a real treat to get to know her a bit better! It was pretty amusing since I'm so set in my ways with my Juki (I especially missed the knee lift bar). I didn't have any real problems, but I'm fairly sure that I wound the bobbin wrong when I started a new thread color. No big deal I'm sure I'll figure that out, but I'll have to look at the manual next time.

I worked on a cute little bunting for a friend of mine, Emily sewed the lining into a fabulous dress, and Sara worked on some crazy awesome quilt blocks. Keep your eye out for those on her blog, they're pretty great! 

In all it was a really great night. We stayed up a bit late, and had some yummy Thai food. We Chatted about all sorts of things (and maybe realized that Emily and I are overwhelmingly chatty?). And of course we did sew too.

Sadly I didn't get any good pictures of our sewing time. Just the one good one of my machine (if you look closely Sara is in the background lol).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sew Thinky Thursday: Week 8

It's that time of week again, where we chat about our sewing habits. This week's question is pretty easy for me, and I'm excited to read your answers too.

Who do you like to sew for the most?

zip pouches
These were all pouches my sister had with her - on a weekend trip to my house. 
I like sewing for everyone. My first gut response to this question was to say that I like to sew for my sister Roseann. She's always enthusiastic about receiving my stuff - and she has a particular way of using the pouches I make for her in such a way that I see her use them all the time. I suppose I could broaden that to say that I really like sewing for my family, but some of them are more appreciative than others.

Lindsey was more than excited to receive her quilt!

I would also have to add on to say that I especially love making things for swap friends and sewing friends. Swaps are fun because I can work to try to pick out the person's favorite fabrics, and favorite styles -- that's not possible for non quilters. People who don't quilt don't have favorites like we do. :) I love being able to make a random pouch or mug rug for a guild friend on a whim too. It is always nice to be on the receiving end of that sort of thing -- but to be able to give a little gift "just because" it's fun.

I promise if I give you a quilt, Allie will break it in for you.
Then of course there's Allie. She's four and has been well trained to say "oh pretty quilt mommy!!" (lol). She wants to wrap herself up in every single quilt I make - no matter who it's for - she tests it out first. There's nothing more delightful (or terrifying) than a pre-schooler who runs up to your most recent quilt finish, grabs it, hugs and cuddles it, and rolls around the floor wrapping herself in it. It's exciting, but scary (she's not always aware of, say, that chocolate on her face)!

Handmade from the very beginning... she's well trained at receiving quilted goodies.

I guess that means that I like making things for people. Quilty things make people happy, and I like that. :)

How about you? Who do you like to make things for??

Write a post answering this week's question and then come back to link up with us.
Don't forget to check out everyone else's answers and leave some comment love.

Finally back to the sewing table.

quilt as you go
Architextures and Field Study = love.

As I mentioned earlier this week, my life since QuiltCon has been a whirlwind of sicknesses and house guests. Prior to last night I hadn't been at my sewing machine in more than a week which is really unlike me.

I took a nap yesterday specifically with the thought in mind to stay up late sewing. (Is that how it works in your house late night sewers?)

So I sat down and started piecing a doll quilt top - I was feeling moderately uninspired. I have the desire to make more doll quilts but I don't always find them easy to make - I usually piece "on the fly" without a solid design in mind. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. 

Quilt as you go clutch

I ended up putting that project aside with the desire to use some of my new fabric (purchased at Quiltcon from some awesome awesome vendors). But - my quiltcon fabric is so varied ... It was interesting to try to chose what to work with. 

Finally I decided I'd make a pouch - a quick finish using some exciting new fabrics (AMH Field Study and Architextures). I made it the size of a small clutch, large enough to hold my wallet, moo cards, and a few extras. 

pocket in pouch lining
Yes I did use fantastic out of print text fabric to line a pocket... I just couldn't resist it!
I literally just started sewing without a plan. I love the results. I used cotton duck cloth as a base for the quilt as you go  on the outside, and added a zippered pocket to the lining. It finished at about 9 1/2" x 5" with a 13" strap. 

I'm really impressed with how nice my new spoonflower labels look sewn inside too! 

A perfect fit for my wallet and extras. Pull tab from Zipit on etsy.

I think tonight I'll make another one of these, and list it in my (yet to be used) etsy shop.

Piles of pretty fabric. 

Now my job is to organize and re-fold my fabric. It's been piling up outside of my shelves... I'm reluctant to put it back since it's all a mess - unorganized. Time to make it pretty again. Can anyone offer some helpful tips for organizing / folding my stash? It's mostly FQ's (some already cut into) and some odd remainder cuts. I'd love to hear your tips. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sickies = no sewing time

I hate to be this way... This isn't a place for excuses or feeling like I need to explain anything....
Re-purposed photo... The weekender got a bit more use last weekend!
...but I'm feeling pretty blah right now. I have had big plans for sewing the past two weeks and instead we had a dose of double pneumonia (my daughter - she's fine now thankfully), and a heart attack and unplanned triple bypass (my dad). Thankfully my dad is on the mend, set to be released from the hospital soon. He's strong and active, which will help him recover. I was lucky to have had the means to be able to hop on a bus and be back home (5 hours away) to be with him in recovery (and to support my mom in this exhausting situation).

So instead of sewing I've been a) administering breathing treatments and b) hanging out at "home away from home" (the hospital's version of Ronald McDonald House).

Now that I have the chance to sew I'm a little pooped.

I was pretty lucky to make it back here in time for the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild meeting today! It was a sew in and of course I didn't accomplish any sewing. I just chatted the whole time. :) That was nice. It's a start to a gradual re-start to my sewing time. Time to sew.

Oh yeah, and forget about a day off work this week - we're going on a field trip with a certain preschool class instead. :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Spoonflower Quilt Labels

Follow my blog with Bloglovin (testing this out...)

By the way, I recently joined Instagram - follow me @mommysnaptime!

I have to say that I'm pretty excited about these little quilt labels! 

In the goody bag from Quiltcon there was a code for a free FQ from Spoonflower. I knew that I wanted to test out some labels, but I left it to the last minute to decide what to put on them, so I ended up swapping in my blog header (designed by Shruti!). I'm so happy with how they turned out. Now I just need some time to sew so I can add these little guys to every project! 

Stats: These measure about 4.5" x 1.5" I ordered a FQ which gives me about 48 full labels. They're printed on Kona Cotton. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sew Thinky Thursday: Week 7

Bad sewing habits. Do you have them? Share with us, what are your worst habits when it comes to sewing?

My worst sewing habit? Leaving my iron on my pressing mat face down. Eek I know! I can say that it's really rare that I do this and then walk away, but I ALWAYS leave it face down while I re-position my fabric etc. I've got a nice singed area on my pressing mat. (ok so you've found me out - I've been using a folded up towel on my table as a pressing mat for.... four years? I should get an ironing board, but I don't want to shell out big bucks for the nice ones I want! 

Lets see, other bad habits. I leave fabric stacks around my sewing room... sometimes I have to clean the sewing room in order to start a new project only because all the good fabric is already out somewhere. LOL. 


Now it's your time to fess up. Write about your worst sewing habit and link your post up here. Don't forget to stop back to read what everyone else has shared. We all love comments so don't forget to say hi!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Does anyone else feel like they can't get a moment to sew? Ever since QuiltCon I've been trying to get things back to the normal flow. 

I had the afternoon free on friday to work on some projects, it seems like that's about the only time last week that I got to work on anything! At least I was able to accomplish a lot Friday! 

I am nearly finished with this teeny precious baby quilt. It is really teeny with 3" nine patch units. 

I also finished a quit top that's been lingering in my unfinished projects pile. This one is destined to be a Pellon project download. It's going to be totally cute and I don't have a recipient in mind for it. I think I'll just keep it. I call it the Chloe Bubble Quilt.

The pieces of the Chloe Bubble Quilt.
Otherwise I have a lot of random projects that have been neglected and/or need to be started! 

New projects to start soon:
  • Duffel bag for the Sew Sew Modern swap -- I'll be using this pattern, but altering it so that it's fully lined (no raw edges here!) My fabric just arrived last week, but it is unexpectedly light... so I'll need to find a darker color for the bottom of the bag....
  • Mini quilts! I want to make minis!
  • Elaine's birthday present -- we're doing an EEE birthday swap - and Elaine's birthday is first!
  • Bunting for Lucy - I need two more purple fabrics for this! 
  • Two flannel receiving blankets.
Projects that haven't been worked on in forever:
  • {Modern} Robin - no progress - I'm longing to long arm this one (myself)... it's going to be seriously intense quilting.
  • Roseann's quilt
  • Sabrina's quilt
  • Harry Potter Patronus mini
String quilt circa 2010... eek that was a couple years ago!
OOOH I need to baste my super old purple string quilt this week - it's going to be donated to our guild's quilt drive for Project Night Night!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A teeny quilt...

Just a little sneak peak today. This is a teeny tiny quilt I'm making for a friend of mine. It's made in the memory of a precious little boy who left for heaven way too early. Perhaps a lovingly handmade (tiny) quilt will bring a little bit of sunshine to my friends as they mourn for their little one. If nothing else, it has kept my hands busy while my heart is so heavy. Sorry to be such a downer today. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

QuiltCon: Community

haha... I love this picture!

I guess this is the wrap-up topic for me. My final thoughts about QuiltCon.

I've been looking forward to QuiltCon for so long and I wasn't exactly sure what I'd take away from the weekend. Overall I'm taking a greater sense of community among quilters. Sometimes it seems like we're all just quilters sitting at home sewing by ourselves. I'm lucky to have my local Chicago Modern Quilt Guild community, but it's equally nice to know that there is a community that spans larger than my city.

I'm encouraged by being surrounded by people who "get it". They understand me. They know and understand the obsession with a certain fabric designer, and they get how much work went into my Weekender.

It's important that there is a larger community - it's more than just having friends all over the country / world, it's much more than that. At QuiltCon I was surrounded by friends, role models, and creative artists. The people who have paved the way in the modern quilt movement are not some stoic group of officers, rather they're sweet and welcoming. I can see how much heart and soul went into planning this gathering. Many people volunteered their time and energy.

I'm proud to say that I'm a part of this movement. For the most part we are a group of caring, accepting people who love what we do.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sew Thinky Thursday: Week 6

Are you ready for an easy Sew Thinky Thursday question this week? 

What is your favorite color of Kona Cotton*? How much of it do you keep in your stash? Is there a solid that you always find yourself running out of? 

Kona Curry
My favorite Kona is Curry. You're likely to find snippets of it sneaking into many of my sewing projects. I love the way it pops against my normal color palates (blues, pinks, greys). It's pretty amusing that my favorite Kona is a yellow, I don't think that I'd identify my fav color as being yellow in any other circumstance. If someone randomly walked up to me and asked my fav color I'd likely tell them blue - I'm much less picky about blues so there's that. Ironically I don't usually have Curry in my stash - I use every bit of it as soon as I buy it. :) If I had the money I would consider buying a bolt of it... but I actually think my using just a teeny bit is part of the novelty of it. That little pop is all a project needs!
Wouldn't these make a lovely little bundle? Some shop should market the "Emily" Kona bundle - Just saying. 

Other favorite Kona colors of mine include Lagoon, Peacock, Lime, Grass green, coral, melon, pomegranite, cerise, berry, ash, coal, and charcoal. 

You can find images of all the Kona colors on Robert Kaufman's site.

*Feel free to respond using your fav solid fabric type. I know some people swear by other brands, but to me Kona is still the standard. I know the quality to expect when I buy Kona, and I have a color card so ordering online is easy. This post is in no way sponsored by Kona... although I'd really adore if someone felt like making me an official Kona spokesperson (is there such a thing). LOL 

Now it's your turn to share your fave Kona color! Blog about it, then come back here to link up your post! Be sure to check out the other posts linked up and leave them some comment love. Everyone loves comments.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

QuiltCon: Classes

There were so many workshops offered at QuiltCon, and I was lucky enough to get into two of them.

First off I took Free Motion Quilting Negative Space with Angela Walters. Angela and I have some mutual friends, and I've admired her work in so many different quilts. Her style in quilting is so profound, it's absolutely breathtaking. Obviously I wanted to learn from the master right? Her class was really great. We worked through most of the class time sharing a long arm machine with a partner, alternating turns. Angela introduced several different quilting designs and gave us tips and techniques that were really helpful. I really felt comfortable in this class. 

The long actual quilting was a lot of fun. I took the time (and the space) to practice my samples in actual size (rather than shrinking it down), since quilting too densely is a common problem of mine. I have done several of these quilting designs on my domestic machine, but it was a lot more fluid doing it on the long arm. Seeing Angela draw out the designs for us helped me to figure out a better way to transition from one flower to the next in the floral filler (I had tried this before, but this attempt was so much more uniform). 

I really enjoyed this class. I feel like I'm confident enough to take a quilt to rent a long arm, or to borrow a friend's long arm. Also I had the chance to ask Angela for tips on how to go about doing my crazy idea for long
arm quilting my {Modern} Robin quilt!


I also took the Marmalade Quilt class with Elizabeth Hartman. She's a great teacher, and I really enjoyed getting to meet her and see her work up close. I really took this class because I've been a long time reader of her blog, and it was one of the first blogs that I used and referenced when I was just beginning quilting. I learned how to free motion quilt from her tutorials. I did not take this class to learn how to make the quilt - I'm not very interested in following patterns. It is a nice quilt though. I made almost two blocks (a little smaller than her blocks), and I have the intention of putting them into a doll quilt or pillow cover. I really enjoyed the class all the same. 

This is Elizabeth's version of the Marmalade Quilt.
I enjoyed the chance to learn from these two ladies this weekend. Both have been an inspiration to me for a long time, and it was great to meet them in person. 

EEE Swap: Emily, Emily, & Elaine

Silly EEE's posing for a picture at QuiltCon
I am pretty lucky that in my quilting and blogging journey I've met several awesome quilters in real life. Many friendships are built online first, then continued after meeting. Two such friends are Emily and Elaine.

The three of us met through blogs/flickr/our guild's bigtent page, and then met in real life at a Chicago Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I've got a funny story about how Emily gave me a ride to my first CMQG meeting - without ever meeting me first. The whole way there we were both trying to make sure the other wasn't a cereal killer. LOL.

Either way, the three of us became friends, and at some point last summer/fall we decided to do a swap between the three of us. Each of us making an item for both of the others.

Well... we're really good at deadlines. Our first swap date was to be "after Thanksgiving"... which was pushed back to "around Christmas"... lol. Well we've decided that swapping in person is going to be better - so we'll swap at QuiltCon (did I mention Elaine moved across country?).

I decided to make a Pretty Pleats Tote for each of them.

I didn't worry so much about making something that Elaine would love. Hers was fairly easy once I decided on the pattern. I used Anna Maria Horner's Feather Bed block pattern (altered to fit). When it comes to fabric I used some Denyse Schmidt and Shot Cotton paired with a scrappy mess of Anna Maria Horner fabrics. I wasn't too worried, since I know Elaine and I have very similar taste when it comes to fabrics. 

For Emily's I worried. Yes, she's my best friend but man she has opinions about fabric! lol. Having a background in art means that Emily has very specific likes and dislikes when it comes to color. So, wanting to make something she'll really love, I made her list her favorite Konas (off the top of her head) so that I could match my fabric choices to the color card to see if I was on track. (I previously did not notice the warmness or coolness of a purple....). I think I captured Emily's colors pretty well. For hers I did a bit of free piecing with a couple cute flying geese blocks. It was really fun and challenging to work outside of my normal color scheme! (Sorry to my regular readers, I'm repeating myself... that's what happens when you write blog posts way ahead of time).

Before starting either of these bags I sketched and listed all the things I wanted to include, so I didn't forget to add my three prairie points to the lining of their bags. I also remembered to add a loop of super awesome AMH ribbon for them to clip their keys.

I just couldn't leave well enough alone, and added a tiny coordinating mini dumpling pouch to each of the bags. The dumpling pouches as well as the totes all have some little simple hand sewn details. For that added touch of love to the project. :) 
EEE Swap (Left to right), Pillow covers made by Emily B. Totes made by me. Composition notebook carriers by Elaine.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Doll Quilt Swap 13 Sent!

I'm so excited to share my quilt for DQS13! 

First up is the quilt that I made. I was super excited and nervous when I received my partner assignment. I've known and respected Elizabeth for years. We were in a bee together for two years (I still don't know how I got into that gig!), and we've generally known each other around the blog / flickr world forever. I really love Elizabeth's style and her quilts are fabulous. We have a lot of things in common, our fabric choices are similar, and she loves paper pieced stars too. (she's pretty much the modern paper piecing guru with her BOM!).

I was first inspired by this quilt that I found in Elizabeth's flickr faves / pinterest. I've adored this quilt too so I decided to try my hand at doing a sampler of sorts - but with the twist of the low volume background that it seemed Elizabeth likes (texty fabrics too). 

It proved to be a lot harder to really do it justice given the size constraints. In the end I used some improvisational piecing to put it all together. And major sad face here, I managed to lose my hand sewing kit on a trip back home - inside the kit was a finished (not photographed) attempt at the "Camelot" blocks. If you know me you know I don't particularly enjoy hand piecing.... I didn't have it in me to sew another 30+ 1" pieces together. :(

Fake piped binding and prairie point signature.

I bound it using the fake piped binding look... which was a bit annoying. The last time I did this sort of binding was years ago and I remembered loving it... I think I've grown a lot in precision since then. This wasn't as precise as I would have liked it to turn out. I do love that jolt of pink though. And I'm proud of myself for remembering to include my little signature, the three prairie points. They always make me smile. 

Some little extras, a boxy pouch and some AMH ribbon.

In the end I hope that Elizabeth likes it. I decided I don't really care for the scrappy low volume look for backgrounds, it feels so busy to me. I can't get over it. It was too late to change it though. I do love the look of the text prints if they were used individually as a background.