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Thursday, October 30, 2014

under the sea and dreaming | a quilt looking for a good home

This quilt represents the gateway to modern quilting for me. Not so much the design, obviously, because it's just a patchwork quilt with borders, but the fabric. It's Heather Ross's fabulous Mendocino line, out of print (but it's being reprinted! though it won't be out for a while apparently) and pretty much impossible to find. My mom and I discovered it at an MQX Quilt Festival back when we first started quilting in what was the only booth selling modern fabrics that weekend. Prior to the quilt festival I had only purchased fabric at Joann and a local fabric shop that doesn't have a great selection of anything really, so I was amazed to see what this modern fabric shop (in quilt festival booth form) had to offer. We snagged a layer cake and then I didn't do anything with it for ages because I couldn't bear to cut into it. I finally used it when I was teaching my friend Amanda how to make a quilt. We used Amy Smart's beginning quilting series (highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn how to quilt!) and made quilts side by side. 
Simple five inch squares are perfect for baby quilts. They come together quickly which is great when you're trying to finish a quilt the night before the baby shower, not that I've ever done that. Ha... back to modern quilting though! I typed Heather Ross's name into Google and discovered the online quilting community - blogs, independent fabric shops, the Modern Quilting Guild, and eventually the awesomeness that is #modernquilting on instagram. I'm proud to say that I'm part of that community now, and I love being able to contribute to it in my own small way.
For more information about this quilt and to make it yours, visit the listing on etsy here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

the namesake | a quilt for Crosby

So I'm calling this quilt "the namesake" as a bit of a joke because the little recipient shares my name - his name is Crosby, which is my middle name. It's my mom's maiden name and I've always liked having it for a middle name because it's unusual and unexpected. My friends didn't name their son after me, but it's funny that we share a name now :) I made the quilt for him after his mom, my friend Amanda, bought the fabric and then kind of stalled out. She had been working on a quilt for her older son but decided she didn't like the fabric she had chosen and then got stuck in a rut. I don't know about you, but that has definitely happened to me! So, knowing she had her fourth little one on the way and not much time on her hands, I offered to make them both for her. I finished Crosby's first to help welcome into the world. I plan on starting on Lee's after I check a couple more things off my to make list.

The pattern Amanda chose is the fabulous Colorblock Quilt by Bijou Lovely. You may recognize it from last week when I posted about the quilt I made for Emmett. You may also recognize the fabrics - this is the quilt that inspired Steph to ask me to make a quilt for Emmett. Steph chose many of the same fabrics Amanda did, although Amanda made her purchase much earlier, maybe even a year earlier, so they weren't all available when I placed Steph's order. For example, that awesome panel Amanda snagged was no longer available. Anyway, I loved putting this quilt together - it's such a quick sew and really shows off the fabrics.

This is the first quilt I tried free motion quilting on which was a little daunting. I had to rip out quite a bit at first but I finally got the hang of it and ended up really liking the simple loop design I quilted. Oh, and then I added this sweet little tag because it matched :) I hope you like your quilt, little Crosby!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lotta Stripes | a quilt looking for a good home

I'm terrible at naming quilts. I know it's really not an important aspect of quilting but I always see other quilters coming up with the cutest and most clever names for their creations and I'm seriously lacking in that department. So this one is Lotta Stripes - Lotta Jansdotter is the designer of this fabric collection, and there are a lot of stripey prints. There you go. I actually made this quilt as a potential gift... if a friend of mine had a baby girl it would have been hers, but she had a boy so I had to whip something else up! I posted pictures of his quilt yesterday :) Anyway, for this quilt I used a layer cake of Lotta's Bella fabric, but I can't remember what pattern this is. I'm pretty sure I cut each 10" square into two pieces 6" and 4" wide, mixed them all up, sewed contrasting pairs back together, and then cut them again in the opposite direction. It sounds complicated but it was really quite simple! I love the sweet birds perched on the tree branches.

The quilt is backed in an organic Cloud 9 fabric that I picked up at Joann along with some blocks leftover from the front. Simple straight line quilting adds some texture and scrappy binding finishes it off! This quilt is listed in the shop and will steal the show at the next baby shower you attend! Or at least I hope it will ;) View the listing here at the tiny hummingbird shop on etsy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

my most favorite quilt | anchors aweigh for Dayne & Missy

This is my entry for the Bloggers Quilt Festival! I'm excited to be participating for the first time :)

While I was uploading these images I realized just how rusty I am at this old blogging thing. I edited the photos in Picasa but I'm not really that happy with how they turned out (the colors aren't right) and I didn't want to bother Matt with them, so they'll have to do. Anyway, I want to keep up with things over here just so I can keep track of the quilts I make because once I finish them I don't often see them again. This last one was extra special and I find myself missing it already, haha... it took up so much room in my sewing space and so much room in my mind that I don't know what to do with myself now! Before I share about the quilt itself I have to share the background story. Matt and I work in the youth group at our church and we used to work specifically in the junior high class with another couple, Dayne and Missy. Dayne is a big jokester and is always making fun of me for quilting, calling it a old lady, and generally giving me a hard time. However, I know that on some level he thought it was (maybe?) a cool hobby because he had encouraged me numerous times to do some crafty stuff with the teen girls. Also, whenever any occasion was coming up (his birthday, Christmas, their anniversary) Dayne would mention it and say things like, "I hope you're working on my quilt!" And then next time he saw me he would ask where said quilt was, etc. etc. This went on for two or three years, so I thought it would be great fun to make him a quilt! I knew it would surprise him and that he and Missy would like it, or at least I thought they would. What kind of person doesn't like a quilt? So I went on a search for the perfect quilt for them - I wanted something nautical because Dayne retired from the Navy and it was a big part of their lives, but I wanted it to be something Missy would like, too, so nothing too masculine. Oh, and Dayne always reminded me that they had a queen size bed, so I was looking for something big! And let me just say now that I know that Dayne's intent was never to make me feel obligated to make a quilt for him, it was totally a joke. I don't want anyone reading this thinking he was trying to guilt me into it! Back to the search for the perfect pattern. I looked at some traditional blocks like Mariner's Compass and pieced sailboats and I considered doing simple patchwork, but nothing seemed right. I wanted to love the quilt, too, and not just make something to make it. Then, I stumbled across this beauty on Tula Pink's website and it was love at first sight. And it was free! Even better. I ordered the fabrics right away and got to work as soon as they came in. I thought the anchor would be perfect for Dayne and Missy... it's obviously nautical and the anchor is also a symbol of hope, something I know is important to them.
The pattern is made up of zillions of 2" squares and a bunch of larger cuts of white and gray. It was fun to watch it come together row by row (each of the eight rows is pieced together as one long strip). My mom actually helped me out by cutting the squares (thanks, Mom!) because cutting with accuracy is my downfall and I knew that minor errors in cutting would have a big impact when working with so many pieces. So I can't take credit for the entire quilt :) I began working on this project in March. March! I sewed during nap time, after bed time, and any time Ezra and Finn weren't hanging on my leg. When I wasn't sewing it I was thinking about sewing it! And I finished it on Friday, October 11, the day before I wanted to give it to Dayne and Missy. I think it was my longest running work in progress.
As I slowly and carefully pieced the top together I spent lots of time mulling over ideas for the back. I decided to piece together the word "hope" using Denyse Schmidt's hope tote tutorial which I've made before, and adding some sailboats, one for each member of the Lindsey family (Dayne and Missy have three great kids who we love :), and including one star which I would use for the label. Finding more of Tula's Saltwater fabric for the backing turned out to be quite the search! It's out of print and there were exactly zero shops carrying yardage in the colorway I needed, although I did find plenty of coral. I called a couple local quilt shops but neither one carries many modern fabrics and sure enough they didn't have any. One hadn't even heard of Tula Pink. So I turned to instagram, hoping someone might have a lead, and one of my RIMQG members came through for me! She told me Knit One Quilt Too in Barrington still had some Saltwater, so Ezra, Finn, and I headed to the East Bay one day and they spent the morning tearing the place apart (luckily they had a basket of books and toys!) while I made my selections. Of course I went home with a few extras :)
Next I had to figure out how to quilt this thing. It was too big for my home machine to handle, so that meant finding a long arm quilter to do it for me, or taking a class and learning how to do it myself. I briefly considered hiring someone (we have a few long armers in the guild) but ultimately decided I had to do it myself because I wanted it to be more my style, and I thought it would be more meaningful if I saw the project through from start to finish (except for the cutting, ahem) myself. I took a two hour class at Mad About Quilts in Mansfield (thanks for babysitting, Mom!) and learned how to free motion quilt and use a pantograph on a long arm machine. While I liked the predictability of the pantograph, I decided I wanted to quilt a free motion design so it would be more organic looking and I could have more freedom. I considered loops, a repeating figure eight, a design that resembles water at the shore, and waves. Waves won, and after squaring up the top, backing, and batting and pinning on the zippers that attach the layers of the quilt to the long arm machine, I spent another two hours at Mad About Quilts the following week (more babysitting, thanks again, Mom :), renting time on the long arm to quilt free motion waves across the anchor quilt. I was super excited when I finished in a little over two hours and was able to cancel my appointment for the following day. Since it was my first time using a long arm and my first time quilting a queen size quilt I had no idea how long it would take me, but I anticipated it being four-five hours. Fortunately, the waves went quickly and I was thrilled to be ready to trim and bind.
I wrote out the label next to give it time to dry before I tossed the quilt in the washer and dryer later on. Now for the home stretch! I had already made a stripey binding (my favorite!) out of one of the Saltwater prints, so it was all ready for me to start attaching on a Friday night once the boys were in bed. I had high hopes of finishing the quilt that night but Finn was dealing with a bad eczema flare so he was up a lot and I ended up calling it quits around midnight. I was so excited about finishing that I couldn't sleep! So I got up at 2:00 and kept going! This was the first time I tried a slightly different method of binding - after attaching the binding to the front of the quilt I turned it over to the back and ironed the heck out of it so it would stay put when I was stitching it down from the front. Finn woke up again just as I finished ironing so I went to bed for real this time, looking forward to finishing the next day.
 
After breakfast the next morning I immediately started attaching the binding to second side of the quilt. Ironing the binding worked really well and I caught the binding on the back in all but a couple small spaces, both only a couple inches long. I sewed like the wind, hoping to get it done before Matt went to shoot a wedding around lunch time because I wanted him to help me take some pictures of the quilt before he left. I did finish in time (woo!) but it started raining so we couldn't take pictures (boo). I wanted to go down to the beach so the quilt would have an appropriate background, but that didn't seem possible now with my self-imposed time constraints. I had my heart set on giving the quilt to Dayne and Missy the next day, October 12th, because it's a special day for them, so instead we took pictures on Sunday afternoon in our yard.
I forgot about this little detail! I embroidered Hebrews 6:19 under the patchwork HOPE - the verse says "which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast."
I wrapped up the quilt on Sunday afternoon and texted Missy to see if they would be home before our church's evening service, asking if we could stop by to drop something off. Dayne and Missy's son works for Matt and he sometimes has to bring things there for him so I didn't think they would think anything was up. I wanted to keep the quilt a surprise for as long as possible but it was difficult since it was pretty huge even folded up. As soon as we walked in Missy asked if I made Dayne a quilt, ha! She knew right away. Dayne was on the phone when we got there, but once he hung up he said "this better be my quilt!" and then quickly followed that with something like "I'm just kidding, I'll feel bad..." as he opened it and realized that it actually was a quilt!
I think it's safe to say that he and Missy were both surprised and that they liked it. Dayne said he wouldn't share it, and also that he felt bad, haha... after all his teasing I don't think he ever expected me to actually make him a quilt! I don't think I've ever been more excited about giving something to someone. This quilt was so much fun for me to create and I loved adding special elements to make it personal for them. I'm so happy to have been able to make this quilt for them and hope they'll use it and love it for years to come!

I made you a mixtape | a quilt for Jonas

This is my entry for the Bloggers Quilt Festival! I'm excited to be participating for the first time :)

When I found out my friend Ashley and her husband were expecting their third baby I immediately started thinking about what sort of quilt I'd like to make for him or her. Then I found out that they weren't going to find out the gender of the baby. This is what I have to say to that: boo! I am a planner and I like to be able to check things off my to do list. When my friends don't find out what they're having I can't make a quilt in time for the baby's birth so I feel like I'm behind and can't properly welcome the little one when they arrive. I know, totally not a big deal, and I sound like a big whiner, but I do think it's cool for the parents (along with everyone else!) to be surprised on the baby's birthday. So this time, to make things easier on myself, I talked with Ashley about what she was planning for the baby's nursery and gave her a few options for different styles. She told me what she liked and I decided to make two quilts! One in case the baby was a girl, which I wrote about yesterday, and one if the baby was a boy.
The inspiration for the quilt was the fun mixtape print. I saw it a couple years ago and bought a yard, knowing it would make a great focal point in a quilt some day. I added in lots of grays - stripes, polka dots, and a couple solids, framed everything a nice blue, and sashed the whole thing in solid gray. Besides the mixtape print this quilt was made entirely from scraps!
The back is made up of the remaining large piece of the mixtapes, a bright three dimensional looking print, and some of a print from one of Denyse Schmidt's collections for Joann, plus some solid navy on the bottom. Like a lot of quilters, I like to use up pieces left over from the front and hunt through my stash for large cuts of coordinating fabrics when I'm designing a backing. I quilted it with diagonal lines about an inch apart, but the lines are a little wonky because I just eyeballed them as I went along. The binding is the scrappiest I've ever done... so many seams! It felt like it was never going to be long enough, but after piecing together twelve different strips I finally had a piece that would work.
Side note: I love this baby's name! I've considered using Jonas as a first name for both our boys but ultimately decided we wouldn't ever use it because I don't like how names that end in S sound with our last name that starts with C (Jonas Celeste sounds like one word to me), and Grey was the runner up to Finn! We basically ended up going with Finn because it was Ezra's favorite :) 
This is by far the coolest location of any of my quilt "photoshoots" - if you can call them that, haha... Matt and I were going out to breakfast at my absolute favorite place to eat in Providence, or probably anywhere, Nick's on Broadway, and right before we left I remembered this awesome mural (or is it graffiti? I don't know!) nearby. So I took the quilt along and made Matt hold it up for me while I stopped traffic and stood in the middle of the street to get the shots I wanted :) I think it was the perfect backdrop!
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