Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with the old...

I know 2011 was a tough year for a lot of people, I know a number of people who experienced personal or professional losses. But personally it was a great year for me, a year of rebuilding and getting back on my feet.

I got a job, and recently a promotion. I got a nice big apartment in an awesome part of town. I went from owning nothing larger than would fit in some Rubbermaid bins to having a pretty comfortably furnished home. So materially at least, things are going well.

I'm also on a good path towards my master's degree, having taken two Spanish classes and signed up for a third. And I've started looking at different grad programs to apply for with an eye towards a career as an English teacher.

My creativity has improved this year too. I finished 9 quilts and started a handful more. So much for only working on one project at a time. ;) I also dipped my toe into the world of art-quilts and had a lot of fun making a few wall hangings. I haven't done quite as much knitting, but I did make a few hats. Oh, and I got to try glass-blowing for the first time ever. It was amazing, and I hope to do it again.

My personal life also experienced a bit of an upswing for a while. I was dating a someone for a good portion of the year, and although it hasn't worked out romantically... we're still friends. I call that a big win.

There were even a few travel related adventures this year. I spent a weekend in San Francisco visiting a friend, and generally enjoying the city. Then for the holidays I visited my family in Nashville for a week. Nothing exotic... but it's always nice to get out and about.

My time in Thailand was, obviously, a very significant event in my life... and in some ways it feels like I just got back. But I've now been back in the States for almost as long as I was gone. So I'm glad to look back and see that I have not been idle since returning. All in all, 2011 was a pretty fantastic year for me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Go Titans!

Having made a quilt for my niece, I felt obligated to make something for my nephew as well. Maybe not the purest of quilting intentions... but there you go. He's a boy... so it was rather more of a challenge. But my brother in law was telling me a story of how they went to a Titans game last year, but it was so cold they ended up leaving just after half time. So hopefully next time they go, they'll remember to bring this & get to stay for the whole game!
I used the same pattern I used for the puppy quilt I made a while ago. It only took a week, start to finish. Not the most amazing quilt ever. But I am happy with how it turned out. And my nephew liked it well enough. Not as much as the light up glitter ball I got him (from Brookstone), or the light-saber chapstick, but he consented to have it on his bed. ;)

Again, I used wavy lines for the quilting. Nothing fancy. I bought some of the fabric online... this was a first for me. One of them I ended up not using. I really really didn't like it. The quality was really low even though it was 100% cotton. I think in the future I'll stick to shopping in fabric stores... or at least only buying from big name manufacturers.

So that's what I've been up to.... finishing some Christmas presents. And now that I've gotten my obligatory family trip out of the way, I'm free to celebrate the rest of the season the way I want to! First up - Tuba Christmas in downtown Portland. =)

Floral Stripes - finished!

I just got back from Christmas with my family, and was able to give my niece and nephew their quilts. Here's the one I made for Rachael... I'm thrilled with how it turned out.

It's just a lap sized quilt, but it fits well enough on the top of her bed.

I've decided that wavy lines are my new favorite way to quilt!

And I feel like I'm finally getting the hand of machine binding. It's not absolutely perfect, but it looks good.

I love love love this quilt. And my niece liked it too. Which you know, is good. ;)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I should really be studying Spanish.

But I'm not... I've been just quilt quilt quilting away!

I had a bunch of tiny half-square triangle blocks left over from my Ruby lap-quilt. I didn't want to waste them, so I made a little wall hanging.

Nothin' fancy really, I used the same general light/dark pattern I used on the green quilt. The quilting is just wavy diagonal lines, which I think worked well. I'm really happy with the binding too. Binding is my least favorite part of quilting, and while I still hate it, but now I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.

Since this was intended as a wall-hanging, I decided to make a sleeve for the back... actually I made two. I sewed the top part in with the binding, and then hand sewed the bottom part, with enough give in it to allow me to put a rod through it.

I don't actually have a proper quilt hanging... dealie, so I improvised. This picture was taken before I'd tacked down the bottom part of the sleeves - they don't show now.

I really like it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Do you remember this?

I finished it up a while ago, but I finally got to give it away. So here it is!

Yet another baby quilt. A very cute baby boy... the nursery is in greens & browns so this will fit right in. I really like how the contrast works in this one. The quilting is diagonal lines 1/4" outside the ditch, the border is just parallel lines.

Not much else to say actually. Except that I hope to make a quilt like this for myself some day soon!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


What makes you say that?

I have been quilting up a storm lately. Seriously, all I want to do is stay home and quilt... all day long. Which is a slight problem when one has... you know, a JOB and all.

But here's what I've been working on.

Valorie Well's Stripes for my niece - the quilting is well underway. I'm doing straight lines down the brown side stripes and wavy lines down all the other stripes. It's easy, and I'm liking the effect, but because I'm quilting it much than I usually do, it's taking a long time. I usually skimp on the quilting part, only doing enough to hold down the pieces... but I've realized how much I love tightly quilted pieces, so I'm going to start doing a bit more.

And I've picked up a new (old) project. After being trapped in my apartment for 3 days by the approximately 2 1/2 inches of snow we got in 2008, I made my way to the fabric store to replenish my stash. I bought a bunch of bright & happy batiks to counter all the cold grey snow. Well, last week I picked up those happy batiks and took them from this:

to this:

and then, to this:

I don't usually like pieced blocks, greatly preferring scrappy one-patch patterns, but this pattern was perfect showcase for the fabrics. I've actually got the blocks all sewn into rows, and will probably finish up the top today.

The thing is, I'm kind of stumped as to how to quilt this one. I'm not even sure what color thread to use considering the high contrast between the white, the black & the colors. Maybe a grey? Any ideas or suggestions??

I've also started another new project, a wall-hanging made from the scraps of my Rubies & Diamonds quilt. This will be the first time I've made a quilt specifically for hanging on the wall - I'm going to make a sleeve for it and everything!

So, that's what I've been up to. As someone else mentioned, it feels like I'm making up for the year of no-quilting in Thailand, and it feels really good. Now that it's getting cold, I've pulled out several of my quilts, and I just can't tell you how happy they make me. I love the colors and the textures and the fact that *I* made them. Maybe I'm obsessed, maybe I've just really gotten into a creative groove. Either way I'm pretty happy. =)

Friday, October 1, 2010


Here she is, my new favorite quilt!

I loves loves loves it. I'm absolutely absurdly happy about it.

The quilting is pretty simple, although it was a pain in the but to keep turning it through the sewing machine.

Yeah, it stayed folded up for like 4 seconds, but now it's on me. Even though it's a lap quilt, I think I'll be keeping it on my bed for the foreseeable future. =)

Monday, September 20, 2010


Here is my second ever art quilt. It's actually unfinished in this picture - too lazy to finish binding it before taking the picture.

The theme is air and I've been thinking about it since I made my first art quilt, which was more of a forest-y earth theme. I've also got a water themed quilt in mind.

Things I liked about this quilt:
1. The idea was stuck in my mind and it was starting to bug me, so I'm glad I finally got it out.
2. I used a piece of felt instead of batting, and that made it easier to work with.
3. I think the freehand embroidery turned out pretty well.

The thing I don't so much like about it:
1. I rushed it, I was really impatient to get it out and got kind of sloppy. I do that a lot.
2. It was super hard to sew the feather down without just mashing it down, so that wasn't so awesome.

Overall, I like playing with my fabrics, I like embellishing, and I like doing little projects just for me. So I'm going to keep exploring the idea of art quilts... and next time dedicate a bit more time to it, so I can be happier with the quality of it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quilts in progress

I'm really happy with how much quitling I've been doing since I've been back. I've finished five quilts in nine months. Not bad... and I've got a few more on deck.

1. Mystery quilt #1: It's almost finished, I just need to add the binding. I hate binding. =( But I love love LOVE this quilt, and it's another one I almost don't want to give away.

2. Mystery quilt #2: Just getting started, I've cut out a few of the pieces, I don't think it'll take too long to finish up though.

3. Rubies: It's well underway, I've done about half the quilting. If I just sat and did it, I could easily finish it up in a week... but see projects 1 & 2 above for why I haven't.

4. & 5. Flying Geese & Stripes: Both tops are done, and both need to be backed, quilted & finished up. I'm seriously considering sending the flying geese one out to be professionally quilted, I just need to find a professional quilter & get an estimate of cost. I'm hoping to find someone who will just take it as is and not ask me to pin or baste it first.

The striped one should be pretty easy, I'm not planning on doing anything fancy with the quilting. My goal is to have it done by Christmas to give to my niece.

6. Well, if I'm gonna give a quilt to my niece, I need to make one for my nephew as well. I've got an idea... but that's it. I should probably get workin' on it!

7. Gaaaaah! This thing was supposed to be a flower basket quilt for my niece... and when I started it she was young enough to like a flowery girly quilt like this but now that she's a 'Tween... not gonna cut it. I don't particularly want a flower basket quilt and on top of that, I made some design changes between cutting out the blocks and starting to sew them together. If I keep going as is, there's gonna have to be math. I hate math. =( So I may just cut my losses here and re-appropriate the fabrics for another cause.

8. I really want to make more 'art quilts' for lack of a better word. Really I just want to play with fabric & embellishments on a small scale. I have some ideas and am excited to try them out.

So that's what's going on in my quilting world. I hope to have all of these finished up before the end of the year. Which may be a bit unrealistic when I start taking classes again. But it's good to have goals. =)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I've been putting a fair bit of work on gift quilts and really needed some time to play. There was an inspiring article in one my old copies of Quilting Arts Magazine (February/March 2008) about collage quilts, basically embellishing quilted panels with a variety of objects. It's like the perfect play-time project to do with some of the scrap fabric I've been collecting. I designated Tuesday night as play-time and I can't tell you how excited I was about it.

On my way home from work I collected all of these goodies.

Then I sewed up some of my favorite green batik scraps, aiming for a 3" x 5" postcard quilt size.

I added the found objects using a kind of animal/vegetable/mineral concept. You can't hardly see the 'animal' component - it's the wool yarn tying the rock down. Then I embellished it with some embroidery threads.

I got most of it done on Tuesday... but finished up some of the embroidery and the binding tonight. Verdict = SUPER FUN! And I think I can call this my first official "art quilt" - whatever that means. ;) I already have some ideas for the next couple I want projects I want to do.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Snips and Snails...

Although I haven't been posting... I have been crafting. But again, more gifts (I have extremely fecund friends) ... so I haven't wanted to post them until I gave them away.

In addition to my friends reproducing like rabbits, they're all bringing little boys into the world. Which is lovely and all... except that my quilting stash leans heavily in the girly-pink-floral direction. I was really stumped about this particular quilt. I knew I'd need a quick and easy pattern, and I knew it couldn't be a 'scrappy' quilt because I just didn't have enough fabric for that.

So I'd been popping into quilt shops here and there looking for inspiration. It finally came when I visited the Oregon Coast back in... uh... May maybe? There were all these puppy prints in half-yard and yard cuts already wrapped up. The couple happens to have to dogs, and you know... snips & snails & puppy dog tails seemed appropriate. I picked up a healthy stack and called it good. Then I headed to the library and flipped through a whole stack of quilt books until I found this, basic, but really useful pattern. I may have even bumped up the size of the blocks a bit so it would make up faster. Yeah yeah... I'm such a cheater.

Anyway, no more chatting... here are the pictures. Here's the full quilt on a bright sunny day.
The puppy paw prints went well with the larger dog prints, but the doggy toy print didn't really go. It was too cute to pass up though... so it makes good backing fabric!
Close up of the doggies... I set them every-which-way so they wouldn't have to worry about the right side up, they could just throw it on the floor & it would be interesting from every direction. Yeah, that and I'm lazy. ;)
Despite picking an easy pattern, I still didn't have it done by the baby-shower, not by a long shot (stupid work & Spanish classes taking up all my quilting time). I finally mailed it off last week, and lo & behold she went into labor. The new dad sent me an email yesterday, when they came home from the hospital the package was on their doorstep. So I got it in just under the wire! He sent me a picture of the baby with his quilt. Which cracks me up because he's soooo small right now, he makes the quilt look gigantic. I guess he'll grow into it soon enough. =)
I hope he likes it!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grandma's Peach Cobbler.... sort of

I was blessed to have grown up with a southern Grandma. She was, as is required by South Carolina's state law, an amazing cook. Biscuits and gravy, fried okra, and oh sweet lord - Peach Cobbler.* The peaches she could get were as big as my head, perfectly ripe, soft and so flavorful, they were just heavenly. My mom also made a mean peach cobbler, but living in NJ, then CA meant we never quite got the same flavor as grandma did. Nevertheless, this peach cobbler beats anything you'll find in a restaurant hands down!

When I moved out on my own, this was one recipe I made sure to write down. In fact I wrote it down in this cutesy little journal my mom had given me that ended up being the repository for all my family recipes and little bits of advice to myself as I negotiated the challenges of living on my own. I even pasted a picture of my 'dream home' in the back. It was that kind of journal.

Anyway this is one of the things that counted as a precious possessions when I left for Thailand and I was sure to save it. Unfortunately I didn't write down specifically where I packed it and haven't been able to locate it. =(Never fear! My sister is also a fan of grandma's peach cobbler and had written down a copy of the recipe and sent it to me in a care package at some point. So when a friend brought over a box of peaches the other day, I knew what I had to do.

The problem was... my sister had taken a few liberties with the recipe (replacing the batter with a bisquick batter & cutting down the butter a bit) and while I noticed it was different... I couldn't remember the exact recipe I'd gotten from my mom. Anyway... regardless of the specific measurements, the secret is in the method of preparation.

You start with three bowls, the fruit the batter and the BUTTAH!
The fruit: 3 cups of peaches (the better your peaches, the better this will be) & 1/2 cup of sugar mix them up by hand. I squirted a tiny bit of lemon juice on the, only because these peaches are good, but not superior and I wanted to bump up the flavor a bit.

The batter: my sister calls for a cup of bisquick 1/2 cup of sugar and "enough milk to make it the right consistency." I was chatting with her** while baking & she described it as "thinner than a biscuit dough, but thicker than pancake batter... about like waffle batter". I didn't have bisquick, so I used a cup of flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder & about 3/4 cup of milk.

The butter: Again... a difference between her recipe and grandma's... she said 1/2 a stick of butter, but I am SURE my grandma's recipe called for a full stick of butter to be melted in the casserole dish as the oven preheats (350F). I compromised and used about 2/3 of a stick.

Now what you do is wait until the butter gets all melty and bubbly and wonderful, then you POUR THE BATTER INTO THE BUTTER, and *then* you pour the fruit into the batter. DO.NOT. STIR. This is the critical part. I have seen cobblers where they put the fruit in the bottom, then put little rounds of biscuits on top. It makes me want to cry. That's not cobbler!! WTF?Because what happens is you put it in the oven for about 45 mins, and the batter will bubble up through the fruit and get all fruity & wonderful on the inside, and fry up in the butter on the outside and get all crispy brown and coated with awesomeness. When you take it out of the oven, it will be all kinds of bubbly and juicy... spoon some of the juices/butter up over the doughy parts while it's still warm.

I swear to you, having cobbler this way will change your life! Ok... or maybe it will just make you make a lot of intense yummy noises.

You can eat this pure (it's best a little warm, but good cooled off too), but naturally adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whip cream will just take it over the top. I have had this peach cobbler for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and am pretty sure this is what heaven tastes like.

This cobbler also has magical powers. Or perhaps it was Grandma looking down on me and giving me a helping hand. But while the cobbler was in the oven I hunted through my boxes of books and on my second time through one of the boxes I *finally* found the book with all my recipes in it. =) So here is the actual recipe from my grandma... and the explanation for why my sister wrote it down 'wrong'... she was halving the recipe.

6 cups sliced peaches
1 1/2 cups sugar (in a bowl, set aside)

1 1/2 sticks of butter (melt in a casserole dish)

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups milk

Put the batter in the butter, put the fruit in the batter, do not stir. Bake at 350 for 45 min.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably tell you that she died of a heart attack, but the way I see it, life without peach cobbler wouldn't be much a life I'd want to live anyway. =P

**castigating her vehemently for taking liberties with Grandma's recipe.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I'm getting reacquainted with my cookbooks here and have recently discovered the American's Test Kitchen recipe for Big Beautiful Muffins. I'm hooked!

The not-so-secret ingredient is yogurt, instead of milk or oil or whatever. The Apricot Almond version called for dried apricots, but all I had were... uh are these nectarines? I only ended up using two of them. And in addition to the almond extract I added some chopped up almonds for an extra crunch.

I'm really impressed with how well this recipe works out, it smells awesome in the oven. They smell so good I was able to tell when they were done even though my timer decided it didn't really want to work tonight. =( The tops are perfectly crunchy and the inside is nice and moist, using almond extract gives it a good flavor all the way through the muffin, and really compliments the fruitiness. I think it's the yogurt that lets it keep it's big fluffy shape.

Mmmmmmm muffins!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Making stuff

Hi Everybody! =) How do you like the blog face-lift?

Here's something I baked the other day. It's based on the Onion Boards recipe from my trusty-dusty Sunset Breads cookbook, but I've modified it quite a bit over the years. If you want a quick & easy loaf... this is not for you. If you want super awesome yummy sandwich/hamburger buns, strap on your apron and and get cooking.

1 pkg active dry yeast
2 cups luke-warm water
2 Tbls sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour (plus more later)
1 sauteed onion

1 egg
coarse salt

Oven: 375F
Bake time: 20-25 mins
Overall time: 2 days.

Day 1
Chop up & saute a white or yellow onion in a little butter on medium for as long as it takes to get good and brown. Mmmmmmmm ... onions! Let 'em cool down.

In the bowl of your world-class superhero of a Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer, mix the yeast and water & a bit of the sugar. Let it sit a minute just to make sure the yeast is active. Remember, yeast is alive- pay attention to the expiration date on the package, and don't kill it with hot water. If the yeast looks good, add the sugar, salt & a cup of the wheat flour. Mix it well.
Slowly add the remaining wheat flour mixing for several minutes between additions of flour.

Seriously... let it mix well, let it rest a minute or two, mix it a few minutes more. You're trying to work up the gluten so it's good and stretchy. After adding all the wheat flour, mix in the onions. Again, give it enough time to really mix in. It should be looking a bit wet again, so then add the final cup of white flour. All told, I probably let it mix/rest/mix/rest for at least half an hour. (I was watching So You Think You Can Dance, I'd let it rest during the dancing, mix during the comments, then go check on it/add more flour on commercials.)

You should have a good medium-soft dough, turn it out onto a floured board, fold it over a couple times, shape it into a ball, and place it in a well greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap (I didn't have any, I used foil... nothing bad happened. ;) ) and place it in the fridge overnight.

When you take it out of the fridge, it will have risen quite a bit, and it will be COLD. Punch it down, reshape it, put it back in the bowl. Let it sit out and get to room temperature. I left it out on the counter all day while I went to work. But you probably don't need to let it rise that long, but a give it a good 4-5 hours at least.

When I got home... the dough was well up to the top of the bowl here... although, naturally I forgot to get a picture. Empty the dough onto a floured board, dust the top with flour and gently degass it, shape it, let it sit for a minute or two to rest.

Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 10 - 12 equal pieces, depending on if you want bigger rolls or smaller rolls. Shape them into balls, but press them down good & flat. Place them on a well greased (or seasoned) baking stone. Let them sit for another half hour, hour or so. I went and got some dinner... when I got back I turned on the stove.

Preheat the oven to 375F and mix up the egg wash. Egg white is supposed to make crust shiny, egg yolk is supposed to make the crust soft, I just mixed up a whole egg and called it good. Brush the tops with the egg, then sprinkled some coarse salt on the tops. You could use sesame seeds if you want, but I like salt!Bake them for 20-25 minutes, until they sound hollow when you knock on the tops.

They turned out really really well, soft and a little chewy, a good wheaty-oniony flavor, very good for sandwiches and hamburgers. I'm planning on putting some pork & bbq sauce in the crock pot tomorrow... and that should make for some gooooood pulled pork sandwiches. =)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Code Durian

I've been watching events unfold in Thailand, and I have to say I'm just in shock right now. There had been, you may recall on and off protests for the past year or so. Mostly it's based on the division between the poor rural folks in the northeast of Thailand (generally the red shirts) who support the exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin and the middle/upper class urban folks in Bangkok (generally the yellow shirts) who support the current PM Abhisit (the side supported by the military, and it is rumored backed by the King). I believe most of my students were yellow-shirts... although Rayong was pretty evenly split between the two groups.

As far as I know, everything in Rayong is fine. The violence has been pretty focused on a few areas in Bangkok... and this afternoon I got a warning email from the US Consulate in Thailand (I can't figure out how to get off the mailing list) that said there's also been some violence in Chiang Mai (a city much more sympathetic to the red-shirts). About a third of the country is under curfew tonight though. And quite frankly, I'm very happy not to be there right now.

One of my favorite places in Bangkok was Siam Center... a complex of really high end malls. Just one BTS stop farther was Central World. I went there once after getting my Visa at the Vietnam consulate. Well, 'Wireless Road' where most of the consulates are, was the site of a lot of the protests, and they've now burned down Central World. Guys - this is BIG. It's not quite World Trade Center big. But it is like setting fire to a building in Time Square. Fortunately, most people have been avoiding the area for a while, and even the red-shirts had been given pretty fair warning that the army was moving in to disburse the protests. But I can't imagine the financial impact this destruction will have.

Bangkok Burning.

I'm just in shock about the whole thing. These are the areas where I felt safe, the NICE areas of Bangkok where I went to relax and have fun on my days off. The Thai people in general are so easy going and laid back, that this just seems unreal. But people were killed... right there in the streets, right at the BTS stop where I bought my tacky silver flip flops.

I don't have anything profound to say about this. I just wanted to bring it to your attention. It's one of the things about travel- obscure places that you only hear a 30 second sound bite about in the news become real places, places where I've shopped and eaten. Political struggles are not just among faceless others... but people I taught, shared meals with, held onto dearly on the back of motorbikes.

It seems that the immediate violence is over in Bangkok. But I have no idea if or when this situation will ever be resolved. But right now.... it's a nightmare.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A little less conversation a little more action please.

My mom (like most women of her age) was a serious Elvis fan. So while I am of course familiar with his music and I've seen the clips of the women screaming and fainting in the aisles...I never really got into him. He was just someone my *mom* liked ... you know, he was (or would be) OLD! But I was just watching some clips of Elvis in his prime and dude - HE WAS HOT! Like, seriously seriously hot. I get it now.

Anyway... my point being, in between clips of Elvis and all, I've been pretty busy in my real life and haven't been taking the time to update my blog.

I'm still plugging away at the red batik quilt... toying with the name Rubys & Diamonds, I'm maybe halfway done with the quilting, if I really sat down with it, I could finish it in a weekend. But I get tired of having to move the entire quilt around every time I turn a corner... so I'm taking it slow.I pulled together the leftover fabric from my Valerie Wells funky squares quilt and made up a quilt top that I like vastly more than the original quilt.
Still haven't gotten my good camera fixed, so the colors aren't great in this picture.

It's a bit narrower than I'd like it to be, but I'm about out of fabric. As it was, I was kind of improvising with the solid brown stripes on the sides. Fortunately my niece is a very skinny little girl, and I think this one will be right up her alley with the bright colors and floral patterns. Still gotta decide on a quilting pattern... something with long straight(ish) lines! But there's no reason this couldn't be done in time for either her Birthday (in July) or Christmas. We'll see.

I've picked up some knitting WIPs too recently, although I haven't made much progress on anything.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A quilt I actually like

I told you guys that I loved this green quilt so much I almost kept it. Instead I stocked up on batiks at a Fabric Depot and started making one for myself. I actually finished the top up a little while ago... can't remember exactly when. I love love love the colors, and the pattern. I'm wishing I had made it just a little bigger. But it's okay as is.

It's in the quilting stage, I'm doing the same echo quilting I did with the green quilt. It's slow going, but I'm plugging away at it. Again, lesson learned - only long lines until I get my hands on a long arm quilt.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What I've been doing when I haven't been blogging.

So you saw one quilt that I worked on but couldn't post about until after the shower... and here's another one. I'm pretty sure the mom doesn't even know I have a blog, but you never know!

This is for a couple I've known for a very long time. I went to college with the Dad to be, and met the mom shortly after that. They're another couple I know who tried for quite a while to have kids, and suffered a few setbacks along the way. So everyone's super excited for them. Of course I was going to make a quilt... but dang, this was the second baby shower I was invited to before I even had my own apartment!

For this one I used mostly fabrics from my stash, although I didn't have quite enough for the backing or border, so I picked up a yard each of red & blue at a Fabric Depot sale. I was a bit stumped for what pattern to use so I fell back on a basic 2x2 block in light & dark blues and red... the colors of the nursery.

I tried to avoid too much white because I didn't want it to look too patriotic. But truth be told, a lot of these fabrics went into my flag quilt, so there are blue fabrics with white stars and some of the reds are bandana-esque. Oh well.. this *is* America.

I like throwing together the back using left-over blocks.

The quilting is super basic ... just diagonal lines. But it works well.

So it may not be the most original or 'funky' quilt... but it's cozy and big enough to stay last through toddler-hood (40"ish by almost 60"ish). So I really hope he will like it!

Edited to add...

The shower was today, and the mom really liked it. She got a lot of awesome stuff... a lot of practical stuff that people who actually have babies know to give and plenty of 'aw cute' stuff. I felt pretty good about giving the only quilt. She also got a cute knit hat, mittens & matching blanket set from a mother/daughter knitting duo. But that was the only handmade stuff she got. That makes it nice for me... no other quilts to be compared against. ;)

In theory I get to start working on quilts for me now. Except that another friend just announced that she's pregnant. So there will be more baby quilts in my future. Oh well... keeps me busy.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Painfully ugly quilting

Ok... I finished up the Valorie Wells quilt. I thought quilting would help improve my feelings for it... but no, it actually made me even less fond of it.

I tried to do concentric squares around the boxes... but MAN it was a pain in the butt. My least favorite part of quilting is trying to shove half the blanket through the neck of the sewing machine while quilting it.... this one was brutal, every time I had to change directions the better part of the quilt had to get rolled up to go through the machine. The results are disappointing for the amount of work that went into it. It clearly needs more quilting - just to hold it all together, but there's no way I'm doing more squares.

I'm also not thrilled with the embroidery... again, it needs more. I mean... it's a nice touch, I don't think this part is ugly... but it didn't come out quite as well as I'd hoped.

I'm going to treat this quilt as a learning experience. For me at least I need to have a quilt in mind before buying the fabric. As much as I love some of the fabrics, they never really told me what they wanted to be. Or maybe they were trying to tell me something and I just couldn't hear it. It's also possible that I just needed to let them all sit and stew a lot longer. But I'm an impatient quilter. I want the finished quilt NOW. The other thing I've learned is that long straight lines are much easier to quilt than trying to do smaller, unconnected shapes.

I'm glad it's done. It's a good size, it's nice and warm. It'll do just fine. I'm eager to start making myself quilts I really love though.