Category Archives: Goals

Lots of sewing and lots of sneezing

Well it’s just been nuts here. The last month has been full of frenzied sewing and not much photo taking. Oh, and the spring crud that seems to be going around. Everybody in my family has been sick. I still sound like death warmed over. Ugh.

In between snotty tissues and coughing, there’s been lots of deadline sewing. First off is the wedding quilt for my sister-in-law. Who got married last June. Really, as long I they get the gift before their first anniversary then it’s not late. I love that tradition. It’s saved my bacon a few times for wedding gifts.

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The quilt is actually the 8th one I’ve finished this year. So I’m way ahead on my goal, but way behind on documenting any of it. If I can just make it through the next couple of weeks of scheduling madness, then I’ll have time to start photographing things.

The rest of the sewing is all related to the upcoming wedding of some good friends. First off was sewing one of the bridesmaid dresses. The wedding is going to be fairly casual, and the bridesmaids were simply asked to wear dresses in certain colors, no real specifications on style. My friend who I sewed the dress for is currently seven months pregnant and wasn’t too happy with the limited selection of maternity dresses she could find. Brilliant woman that she is, she tried tracing a pattern off an existing simple jersey dress she owns. We tweaked the pattern a bit, and with relatively few adjustments came out with a lovely dress for her. Gotta love good jersey! I made a copy of the pattern, and plan on making a few shirt versions soon.

Next up is a silk robe as a bridal shower gift. The pattern is from Amy Butler’s In Stitches. I haven’t actually made many things from this book other than the bathrobe. But I’ve made at least five robes at this point. It’s my go-to bridal shower gift.

My husband is one of the groomsmen in the wedding. The guys are wearing dark jeans, light dress shirts, light colored ties and brown vests. He already had everything except for the vest, so that’s where I come in. I actually made formal vests for my husband and the groomsmen for our wedding, so I’ve already got a good pattern. It’s just a matter of finishing the darn thing at this point.

Vest for husband

Vest for husband

Last, of course, is a dress for me. I’m not in the wedding or anything, but assuming I can find the time, I’m going to make a dress to wear. Nothing fancy, as the invite made it clear that the wedding is casual. But something that will look nice and at least be comfortable. I’ve got the fabric picked out already (from my stash of course) and the pattern. Whether I get time to sew it up before the wedding is a whole different issue.

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Aside from all that, there have been a few pairs of boxers for the husband, a quick t-shirt or two for me, and a pair of Thurlow shorts almost entirely finished! Look at me, sewing before the season, instead of halfway through it! That never happens.

So yea, really busy. Anybody feel like that happens every spring?

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12 Quilts – Number 2

Second quilt for the year is a quick little baby quilt for some good friends. Pretty basic, and very straightforward to piece and quilt, but I’m happy with it all the same. Hopefully it will be well used. This one I did actually start and finish entirely this year. All in about three evenings actually. You’d think that will nine months to prepare I’d have managed to get the quilt done more than a week before the baby was due, but no, apparently not.

Basic blocks and cross-hatch quilting

Basic blocks and cross-hatch quilting

The quilt is made entirely with stash fabric (and really, it’s prettier in person than the photograph). Mostly the fabric is leftover bits and pieces from other baby quilts. It was actually quite satisfying to pull the whole thing together from stash fabric.

Pieced block

Pieced block

My standard formula for quick baby quilts is to use 5 to 6 inch square blocks and lay them out in a simple grid such that the finished quilt is about a yard square. In this case, I added a few pieced blocks (just two rectangles put together to form a square) to make the most of the fabric scraps I had.

Back

Back

The backing fabric was just a little bit too small, thus the pink strip at the bottom. It’s hard to see in the photographs, but the binding is also pieced together from the scraps. Let’s just say there’s not much of this fabric left.

Not much else to say about this one. Quick and easy. Which is good, since the recipient arrived early! I’m not the only one who waits until the last minute to make baby quilts, right?

 

12 Quilts – Number 1

Okay, of the twelve quilts I plan on finishing this year, here’s the first one – the Wizard quilt (I know, really creative name, right?)

Kind-of hard to photograph...

Kind-of hard to photograph…

This quilt is from a kit that I bought probably at least a decade ago (yikes!). I followed the pattern, except for a little re-arranging of the final block layout.

Original pattern

Original pattern

Even if I didn’t remember buying it so long ago, I’d know it was an old quilting purchase by the backing fabric. In my earlier years of quilting, I would always buy large pieces of fabric for quilt backings, so the back would be all the same fabric. In more recent years, I try to piece the backing together using any leftover fabric from the top and whatever else I can find to match in my fabric stash. Does anybody else do this? Maybe I’m just weird. It actually feels a little weird now to have a quilt backing be out of only one fabric. Excepting baby quilts, which are usually small enough that I can find a single piece of stash fabric for backing.

Pegasus backing fabric

Pegasus backing fabric

I finished the quilt top during a really productive weekend retreat two years ago, put it aside for a while, and then at the same retreat this past fall I started quilting it. Finally got around to finishing it last month. And let me just say that quilting retreats are one of the best things in the world. I go on one every Fall with a group of women from my quilt guild, and it’s an absolute blast. Not to mention that I can cram an insane amount of sewing into a weekend where I don’t have to cook, clean, or take care of anybody or anything else. Such luxury!

Embroidered label

Embroidered label, still pinned on

Aside from the fabric, which I love (and really, it’s so much prettier in person), my favorite thing about this is the quilting. The whole thing is quilted in a spiral with my walking foot.

Spiral quilting

Spiral quilting

It was so easy, and sort-of relaxing to do. And it looks so finished! I don’t know how else to describe it. But I’m thrilled with the quilt. The technique is from a Craftsy class about quilting with your walking foot. To be honest, I still haven’t finished watching the class. I got far enough into it for the spiral design, and then promptly stopped watching so I could go try it out. Awesome, awesome way to quilt something, especially a larger quilt. This one, for reference, is about 64 inches square.

Spiral quilting and wonky log cabin blocks

Spiral quilting and wonky log cabin blocks

The one thing I will mention though, is that the quilt top can shift a bit during quilting. Even though I had the whole thing pinned pretty heavily (using those bent quilting safety pins), the top still shifted a bit. Had I left a generous amount of batting and backing around the edge of the top this wouldn’t have been an issue. As it was, I ended up having to add additional little triangles of backing at each of the corners before finishing the quilting.

Backing addition

Backing addition

I’m probably not explaining this very well. Imagine you have two squares of paper on top of each other. Twist the top square just a little and suddenly the corners of the top square are hanging off the edges of the bottom square, just a little. If you look closely at the back, you can see the seams where I had to add in the extra little piece at each corner.

See? Right there...

See? Right there…

Thankfully, it was a pretty easy fix. I plan on experimenting with this technique some more, so next time I’ll just allow for some extra batting and backing around the edges.

I smile every time I look at this quilt. I can’t even describe how happy I am to have it finished. And it feels especially nice to have made such a big start on my quilting goal for the year.

Anybody else out there making a good start on goals for the year?

Goals

Back in January, like most of the rest of the world, I started thinking about the new year and what I wanted to accomplish. Let’s just say it’s a long list, like usual. And not necessarily worth posting anywhere. But as I’ve actually made some progress on one of my goals, I thought I ought to at least put it out there to share.

I’m going to finish twelve quilts this year.

Yup. Twelve. Actually, it shouldn’t be that hard. It’s only February and I’ve already finished three. Maybe I should actually push myself and revise that number up a little. Maybe.

Note that I said “finish” and not “make” or “start and finish”. Really the main thing that makes this a fully achievable goal is that I have a pile of completed quilt tops waiting in my studio, and that I’m counting small wall hangings and baby quilts just as equally as bed quilts. I’m really bad about piecing a quilt top and then never actually quilting it. So, this goal is my attempt to clean out my studio a little bit, and get more into the habit of finishing my quilts all the way.

I’ve got to take photos of the quilts finished so far, but here’s a little preview of the first one. More to come soon!

Spiral quilting and wonky log cabin blocks

Spiral quilting and wonky log cabin blocks