Monday, November 24, 2014

high tea with Rose | Besos

My friend Hillary and I used to to have tea together often. If you were a regular blog reader a couple years ago then you may remember our tea tour! We visited little cafes and tea houses around RI and blogged about our experiences at each place. Well, we had gone to one last place (our ninth stop on the tea tour!) before Hillary moved away which was just before the time I went on my unplanned blogging hiatus. It's been bugging me that I never wrote about our last stop on the tea tour, so here it is...
We went to Besos in East Greenwich for their afternoon tea service and enjoyed their spin on a traditional tea. We had mini Mediterranean wraps, salad, and cucumbers stuffed with cheese, and then profiteroles, tiramisu, and strawberries with fresh whipped cream. Of course we had tea, too, but I honestly don't remember that much about the tea! I think we shared a pot of peppermint.
It's been a little over two years since Hillary moved out of Rhode Island and I still miss her! I wish she lived closer so we could continue to enjoy each other's company over cups of steaming tea.
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." 
- Henry James

Friday, November 21, 2014

a quilt for Luke

I made this quilt for my new nephew back in January - it's hard to believe he's almost one! I took  photos on the morning he was born. We knew what his first name was going to be but his middle name was a secret so I had to wait until I found out so I could write the label.

I cut lots of half square triangles with these boyish fabrics a while ago with a different plan in mind, but when it came time to make the quilt I couldn't remember it! So I played around with a few designs and came up with this kind of random layout. I don't love it, but it was difficult working with the directional prints, especially the chevron. I think it will be well loved anyway! Babies aren't usually too picky about their quilts ;) The quilt I made for his brother uses some of the same fabrics, Alexander Henry 2D zoo, which I think is nice. They don't share a room, but I like the idea of the quilts coordinating anyway.

The backing is a soft blue seersucker and brown and white polka dot. Both were from my stash which is always nice.

The binding is my favorite part of this quilt - polka dots are always a good choice!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

a doll for Appleby

Over a year and a half ago my dear friend Ari's daughter Appleby turned one and I wanted to make her a special birthday gift. I decided to make her a doll (I used this doll pattern and recommend it) that resembled her and a quilt for the doll using the same fabrics from the quilt I made for Appleby. I was overambitious and even asked Ari to send me a picture of her current favorite outfit of Appleby's so I could capture her one year old style forever in doll apparel. Although I am not one to sew garments I drafted a pattern for a sweater and leggings, even piecing the fabric for the sweater since it needed to be striped and I didn't have coral and cream striped fabric on hand. I admit to scrapping the first two sweaters I made and even asking for help dressing the doll after I realized I couldn't get the leggings on over her big feet. I didn't learn my lesson though because I've made this doll a bunch of times since then and made the same mistakes on the next two dolls. I wised up for the last two though, constructing the doll bodies out of the clothing fabric rather than making clothes, and I was much more successful. Anyway, I was pleased with the results and loved giving this doll and little doll quilt to Appleby!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

two plus one equals three | a quilt for Parker

Plus quilts are pretty trendy right now and I had been wanting to make one of my own for a while. I decided to make this particular plus quilt (since I do think I'll be making another some day!) for my friend Jill's baby boy, Parker. He's their third baby which is why I named the quilt "two plus one equals three" - two children plus one baby equals three kids for Eric and Jill :) The pluses seemed like a great pattern to show off some fun fabrics, and since the blocks were on the large side I knew that it would come together pretty quickly. I used a combination of Michael Miller fabrics, seersucker, some Lizzy House, and a few random fabrics that were given to me by a friend who doesn't sew. The background is Kona silver which is my new favorite neutral. 

The back is made up of some large cuts of fabric - gray polka dots that my mom gave me (left over from the back of Ezra's I spy quilt), blue and white chevron, some airplanes left over from the quilt I made for my friend Keri's son Will, red polka dots, and some scraps left over from the front.

I did straight line quilting on either side of each seam to frame each block and bound it in Art Gallery squared elements. There's one little scrappy bit of binding in there though - a small piece of Lizzy House jewels.

A simple handwritten label finishes it off. 

And of course I had some assistance with the photos :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

welcome to the world | an embroidered birth announcement for Jonas

Just a quick post today! I love making "paper" with fabric and thread, and when I posted a picture of a piece on instagram my friend Ashley commented that it would make a cute baby announcement. Well, she was pregnant at the time so I filed that away and then made this for her son's room. I've made a few embroidered notes over the years and there's still something special about them to me. I definitely need to work on my embroidery skills though!

Monday, November 17, 2014

gingham and robots | a quilt for Elliott

I'm posting about this quilt, totally unintentionally, on the recipient's first birthday. So first let's wish Elliott a very happy birthday! I made this quilt for him using lots of my favorite fabrics - some robots by Kokka, guitars by Michael Miller, a few Denyse Schmidt prints, one of Heather Bailey's prints from her Nicey Jane line, and two solids. Simple rectangle patchwork made this a quick quilt to finish in time for my friend Rachel's baby shower even though Finn was a newborn at the time. It seems so far away now! I can't believe these boys are one now. 

I found this gingham in my stash and it made the perfect backing. I had planned on making myself a scarf with pom pom trim with it but I never got around to it and it was too perfect for the quilt not to use it. All my non-quilt sewing projects get pushed to the side and forgotten about because quilting is my favorite.

More stash usage here in the binding - solid gray coordinates nicely and there's one little strip of gingham in there that totally makes it.

Those robots! I love them.

I made a stack of burp cloths with some scraps because I looove using up scraps. I always forget how time consuming scrappy burp cloths are to make, and just for spit up. At least they're useful!

As you can see from this and the top photo, I had a helper during my photo shoot :) Ezra took the photo below, too. I'm so proud - he's a budding quilter and a budding photographer ;)

John and Rachel were so thankful for this quilt which made it even more special. They sent me the nicest thank you note and raved about it repeatedly in person. Apparently John borrows it occasionally :) John posted a couple pictures to twitter when Elliott was a newborn and I just have to share this one of him at ten days old on his quilt - ha! Happy birthday, Elliott! I'm so glad you were born!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

my first foray into hexagons | a quilt for Lillia

Thanks so much for all the sweet comments yesterday about the mug rugs! I really like making them so it's great to see so much interest. I'm going to be putting a few more in the shop, hopefully soon! I received a few requests for specific fabrics and colors and it will be fun to make some custom designs. If you missed the announcement yesterday you can see what I'm talking about here - mug rugs are now in the shop, and from now until the week before Christmas you can receive a discount on your purchase of one (or more!) to help out with all your holiday shopping. Now, back to sharing all the baby quilts! 
I made this quilt for a sweet baby girl who's just a little younger than Finn. I loved the bright and feminine prints mixed with gray and black from Violet Craft's Waterfront Park line of fabric. I had been wanting to work with hexagons for a while and these large ones seemed like a nice way to showcase the prints. I must admit though, I cheated and used this method of piecing! Next time I'll be going all the way, Y seams and all. For now, here's Lillia's quilt, ever so elegantly photographed on my living room floor. It was winter and I wasn't up for a photo shoot in the snow!
My favorite print is the one with the triangles, and also the dots. They remind me of braille or morse code. I quilted simple straight lines across the quilt, along either side of the seams that make up the top, middle, and bottom of each hexagon. I think free motion quilting would have added a little more to the design, but I had yet to attempt that at this point in my quilting career! This quilt was made in either December 2013 or January 2014, and I hadn't free motion quilted anything until this summer.

There's a fun bit of scrappy binding - some solid gray mixed in with a citron Denyse Schmidt print. I used Rachel's method of zig zag binding and I have to say I didn't love it and haven't used it again. Hers is much neater than mine, so there's that, but I prefer the look of a clean straight line stitched in the ditch, or invisible binding. 

I love handwriting my labels on gifted quilts, but I'm looking for some to use on quilts to sell. Any recommendations? I'm going to try to post about another baby quilt finish tomorrow. There are quite a few more that I need to write about!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

wonderland | a quilt for Emory

Edit: I gave this quilt to our friends Alex and Andy when they were expecting their daughter Emory in May of 2015.

Again with the quilt names lacking in imagination - I'm calling this one Wonderland after the fabric collection I used in it. Busy and scrappy, this quilt is a delight to the senses! It's soft and cuddly, perfect for wrapping babies and toddlers in, and it doubles as an I Spy quilt! You can spend time with your child looking for butterfly wings, meadows, scissors, and two pincushions! 
The back is a bold Heather Bailey print, some scrappy blocks leftover from the front, and a strip of a nice neutral fabric I found in my stash that is a relic from the second quilt I made! See the listing for Wonderland in my shop here!
P.S. Speaking of I Spy quilts, did you know that my mom made Ezra one when I had Finn? It's quite different from this (as this isn't a true I Spy quilt) and we spend lots of time searching for all the fun prints she included. Check it out here on her blog!

Monday, November 3, 2014

plus one | a quilt for Finn

When I found out we were having another boy I admit I was relieved. I knew what to expect, somewhat, with a boy, and I loved the idea of two brothers. I was excited to welcome another little guy into our family and I couldn't wait to welcome him into our lives. One thing I love to do to welcome a baby is make a quilt. Of course, right? So I started planning out what I would make for my second baby boy. I decided to use a cool sugar skulls print I had been hoarding as the accent of a plus quilt because I hadn't made one yet and I like the simple modern design. I mixed in lots of graphic gray prints from my stash as well as a few solid grays. I quilted it with vertical and horizontal straight lines to accent the lines of the plus signs.
The backing is mostly a white and gray stripe I bought with a gift card I won to Pink Chalk fabrics, and I added some strips of the sugar skulls because I love them and had to use them again. It's bound in a gray and white seersucker stripe which makes it even more soft and crinkly. I've used seersucker in a few baby quilts over the years and I love the texture it provides. This quilt may be simple but it's one of my favorites because it's the one my sweet baby boy snuggles with.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

under the sea and dreaming | a quilt for Giuliana

Edit: I gave this quilt to our friends Matt and Kerry when they were expecting their second daughter in early January of 2018.

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 for Alexandria

Edit:  I gave this quilt to our friends Elsa and AJ when their daughter turned 1 in June of 2017. 

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 an old lady hobby, 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 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!
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