WIP Wednesday: the feel-good edition.

LIMOD Sampler

It’s been a productive week around here! I have a completed sampler quilt top (finally) and I’ve completed this month’s bee blocks for do. Good Stitches. I’m feeling good about what’s been accomplished and I’m feeling good just in general that stuff has been accomplished! Sometimes, that in and of itself, is enough.

The two older boys have been causing some mischief at school — expected for my middle guy —  a surprise from my rule-abiding biggest guy. So, this week, we’ve been having a lot of discussions with them about making good (a.k.a. better) choices. I know it’s not something they will learn overnight.  It’s a lifelong process that I still practice every day — and I’m way older than they are!

September do. Good Stitches

Confession: Sometimes at the end of the night it’s just easier to sit on the couch and watch crappy tv with a glass of wine than it is to start thinking about quilt math.  Sometimes the easy choice is to do nothing, even when I’m excited about a project, because I let my tiredness serve as an excuse.  But deep down, I know when I accomplish something (like bee blocks that I know will go to a quilt for someone who really needs it) I feel really proud. And it’s a sense of pride in myself that doesn’t come often as a stay-at-home mom. I constantly feel pride for the things my boys accomplish, but so rarely for things I accomplish myself!

LIMOD Sampler (one more time!)

So, while I’m really pleased with my projects that I’m sharing with you today, I’m also feeling good about having something to share. And I feel good about being a part of a community where we all have something to share. So I’m just taking this opportunity to say Cheers to all of us! For making, and in doing so, making good choices!

Happy Wednesday, folks!

 

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts.

around the world blog hop!

LIMOD Sampler test layout

I’ve been tagged! You’ve probably seen quite a few bloggers participating in the Around the World Blog Hop over the past few weeks, and this week it’s my turn! I was tagged by Michelle, who can be found at her blog From Bolt to Beauty. She’s a new blogger, like myself, and (in comparison to me) has already completed about a year’s worth of quilts and projects! She’s been a huge support and and inspiration as I’ve started writing about my own sewing endeavors, and I hope you check out her site and some of her work!

So now, let’s get started!

1. What am I working on?

Well, there are quite a few WIPs in my dining room right now. It’s probably easier for me to remember if I make a list:

  • LIMOD Sampler: My main focus this week is my sampler quilt that I am making as part of a block-of-the-month with my local guild.  I decided to add quite a few blocks to the original blocks, and I’m just about ready to sew the quilt top together.

LIMOD sampler quilt blocks

  • Then there’s my Diamonds in the Deep quilt top that needs a finish. I’m in talks with an awesome long-arm quilter and getting ready to make the quilt back this week. I’m really excited to see how this quilt looks when it’s all quilted and bound!Diamonds in the Deep
  • my monthly bee blocks for do. Good Stitches (these were my first and still my favorite!);

HOPE at do.goodstitches - March

  • Gypsy Wife quilt – still very much a work in progress, as I haven’t even started any of the filler blocks yet!

Gypsy Wife Blocks

Sometimes the amount of unfinished projects give me angst, and I need to take a step back and remind myself that this is a hobby! That I love! And it shouldn’t be stressing me out!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Carnelian & Iron Quilt (front)Hmmm. That’s a tough one! I think I am still figuring myself out. I know that I lean toward a modern aesthetic, but I don’t think I would qualify myself as a completely modern quilter. I definitely identify myself more with that movement when I select my fabrics — but I still find myself drawn to traditional blocks and patterns. I do like to dabble in improv quilting on my quilt backs, but I have yet to make a strictly improv quilt top. . . maybe I should add that to my list of things to do once my current list of WIPs gets under control! One thing I always try to do is put a personal twist on whatever it is I am doing. So if it’s a pattern, I’ll try to change things up a bit, just so that my work is unique to me!

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Here’s the back story on me: in a previous life, before becoming a mommy to my three beautiful boys, I was an attorney. And I was a pretty unhappy one. One of the biggest “jokes” I would make in law school was that the books had no pictures! And, while I was kidding. . . I sort of wasn’t. There was no color. No art. Nothing inspiring — to me. I know lots of really great attorneys who find legal work challenging, creative, and inspiring. But I didn’t. So, when I began quilting after my kids were born, I felt like I had finally found the color that I had been longing for. I’d felt like a part of my soul was unfulfilled for so long, and immediately quilting made me feel like a kid again! Plus, quilting requires accuracy, which I find challenging, and the end result is functional, which I also find appealing. And why do I document my projects here? Because I’m looking to make some friends that share the same interests that I have  – and learn from them, too. Simple as that!

Dresden Plate quilt 2012

Dresden Plate Quilt (2 yrs later)

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Usually I wait until my project is complete (and I have photographs that I really would like to share), before I start writing a post. I find it hard to write about something unless I am visually inspired (see law career above). I have three kids, so it’s very rare that I write everything all in one sitting. Usually I write a few sentences, get interrupted, and come back an hour (or ten) later. Then I take a break and reread with fresh eyes to make sure I’m presenting (mostly!) coherent thoughts.

So who’s up next? Wellllllllllll. . .

I’m tagging Kirsty at Bonjour Quilts. She’s a very funny Aussie who is a mommy of four, a pattern designer, and a quilter with a great eye for color. I’ve pointed you her way before, and I’m excited to do it again and hear her thoughts on the above questions.

I’m also tagging Afton at Quilting Mod. I met Afton through the Hope circle of do.Good Stitches. She’s also really funny and uses an interesting mix of fabrics that really catch my eye. Have you seen her Focal Star Block? I absolutely love it, and she has so many other patterns and tutorials that are worth taking a look at!

If you’ve stayed all the way through to read all of this about me, then thank you! I’m linking up with Stitch By Stitch’s, Anything Goes Monday.

WIP: the LIMOD sampler quilt.

Six inch blocks

You may remember from a while ago, that my local guild (LIMOD) had a sampler quilt block of the month. Well, at the last meeting (back in May), we all agreed to bring our finished quilts to the next meeting (scheduled for September 16th). You also might remember I made finishing this quilt a third quarter goal in the 2014 finish along.

So, um, yeah. In other words, I’d better get movin’!

So I came up with a plan:

the plan

I’d make a variety of different sized blocks, in addition to the 12 inch blocks we finished for the guild, to make the quilt feel unique to me.

I completed an 18 inch Wheel of Fortune block,

Wheel of Fortune Block

a 24 inch Figgy Pudding block (it’s the big one on the bottom right),

First time seeing all of the blocks together

and the six-inch blocks in the top photo (six so far). My plan was to make 19 of the six-inch blocks, and have them fill the gaps in the above layout. But, things started looking a little too busy. And then I found another block I had made for the guild that I wanted to include, too, which means I need to re-evaluate my plan.

As of now, I’m thinking of adding more negative space in the form of whites and some of the low-volume Carolyn Friedlander Botanics — but, that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I think it will require a little more playing around with the layout before I am exactly sure where I am going. Truly a work. in. progress.

What are you working on today? Any deadlines looming that have you sweating?

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts.

diamonds in the deep!

Diamonds in the DeepThe day is here! I’ve been so excited to share my completed Diamonds in the Deep quilt top with you, and the day is finally here!

Diamonds in the Deep

I was honored to test this pattern in the queen-size for Kirsty over at Bonjour Quilts!! It was my first time testing a pattern, as well as  my first time making a queen-sized quilt top, and I have to say, I feel so proud of the final result!

Diamonds in the DeepThis pattern is seriously well-written! I mean, this queen-sized quilt has over a thousand pieces (is it possible that it’s over a million???), and it still came together in a snap!

Diamonds in the DeepDon’t get me wrong, it was a queen-sized quilt, so I’m not saying that it wasn’t a good deal of work — but it never felt like work, because Kirsty’s directions were so clear and the diagrams were so informative.  I never had to spend time “figuring things out” like I’ve had to do on some tutorials or patterns in the past. That’s one of the reasons I was excited to take on this challenge, because I had made one of Kirsty’s patterns before, and it too, was precise and easy to follow.

Diamonds in the DeepSo, I hope you love my tangerine take on Kirsty’s pattern as much as I do! If you are interested in making one, too, you can purchase the pattern here. And be sure to take a look at some of the interpretations the other testers have had! It’s been so much fun to see the different spins we all put on the same original design!

Linking up this week with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, Lets Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

arkansas traveler.

Arkansas TravelerWell, first, just a big old hello! I had to dust off the old sewing machine, and give her a nice oiling before I could even get started on this month’s do. Good Stitches blocks. I procrastinated big time. I knew these blocks, using Lee’s tutorial, were going to challenge me in lots of ways. And I knew I would struggle. And it’s summer. . . who wants to struggle? So, wait, I did. Until they could be put off no more!

Arkansas Traveler

These blocks involved two things I had never done before:

1) 60 degree diamonds. Up until this point I had a dog-ear allergy. But thanks to Lee’s well-written tutorial, and lots of patience (and air conditioning for my profuse sweating), I managed to sew the diamonds together with points in-tact and me high-fiving a million angels.

Arkansas Traveler

2) paper piecing. Yup. I am a novice paper-piecer. I messed up. I picked stitches that were as tiny as an ant’s elbow. But I pushed through and ended with only one major glitch. I’m sure you can find it if you study the pic below. But I had no clue how to fix it by the time I discovered it, and so I say, Namaste.

Arkansas Traveler

And there you have it folks! Just like that, I’m back! Didja miss me??? I missed you, too! Mwah! I’ll be back again mid-week with pictures to share of my finished Diamonds in the Deep quilt top! Stay tuned! Woo hoo!

thinking about – but not actually – sewing.

scrappy improv flower

In my mind, I am sewing. In reality, I am not. It has been a busy few weeks in our household, full of good things – birthdays, gatherings with friends, dinners out, another birthday (which happens to fall on our anniversary) coming up this weekend, and then a vacation. So, I’m sorry to say that while sewing has not been happening – it is not about to start up again any time soon.

In the meantime, while my dining room has been packed up from its studio-state and serving its original purpose as an actual place to eat, we have decided to split functions on the guest bedroom and make that my new home — once we have the chance. There’s an electrician involved so that I can actually have some overhead light to see what I’m doing, and an IKEA desk that arrived last Friday sans hardware. So progress has been slow. A few steps forward followed by a few steps back.

I’m also doing a lot of thinking about my Diamonds in the Deep quilt.  Of concern: what fabric to use on the back; who I should use for long arm services; and whether or not it’s worth trying to enter it for QuiltCon. So, as you see, there has been much sewing on the brain and in fantasy-land. Just not here on earth.

Last but not least, above is a picture of my latest block for do. Good Stitches. It’s an improv flower based loosely on this tutorial, but also using the methods I practiced in Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s 15 Minutes of Play class. It’s fun. It’s easy. And a great scrap-buster!

Okay, party people. It’s time for me to referee a backyard game of something-or-other gone awry, so I will leave you until we meet again — hopefully in a new “studio”, with some new projects to share, and a much more committed schedule of communication. Until then, I hope you are having a great summer and I’ll talk to ya soon! xo

an unexpected project.

quilted tooth fairy pillow frontI should have expected it. I should have known this day was coming. With kindergarten complete and a best friend missing two teeth, it was only a matter of time. But my oldest son – my first baby – has his first loose tooth. He’s elated. He can’t wait for it to fall out. I am So. So. Sad. I could handle hearing that he’s a “first grader”. I don’t like it, but I accept that he is starting to only want to play with boys (because girls are “icky”). I get it. But those beautiful baby teeth! Noooooooooooo! Here’s the photo proof. I hope you’re not squeamish!

the tooth is loose!So here I find myself, scrambling to put together a pillow for the tooth fairy, because with the way that thing is hanging in his mouth by a thread, I have a feeling she’s going to be here sooner rather than later. Waaaaahhhhh!

tooth fairy pillow back

It was the first time using a decorative stitch on my machine, so writing his name took a significant amount of time, patience and love! I also made two sizes of piping, neither of which made their way onto the pillow because one was too large, the other too small, and unlike Goldilocks, my craft closet did not contain cording that was “just right.”

tooth fairy pillow (for size)

So I stitched it together just in case today is the day, and I’m linking up with TGIFF! Have a great weekend, friends!

Edit: I’m linking up with the small projects link party at Le Challenge, too! Be sure to stop by and check out the other fun small projects our crafty friends have been working on!

2014 finish along – the solution to my problem.

I was just lamenting yesterday about all of the unfinished works that I re-discovered languishing in closets and corners of various rooms around the house this past weekend. And then I got a heads up from Michelle (who heard from Audrey) that The Littlest Thistle was hosting a finish-along, which was just the motivation I needed to commit to finishing some of these works-in-progress. What’s funny, is that some of the projects are actually quite close to completion and for some reason never made it to the finish line. So in the words of Billy Eichner: Away. We. Go!

1) My First, But Not My Last, Quilt – A picnic quilt.

My First Quilt - still waiting for a finish

You guys! This is seriously the first quilt I ever made. Kickin’ it old skool circa 2011! I lovingly cut each of my favorite fabrics into a triangle (I had no idea about half-square triangle tricks at the time). I sewed it together and was all like, “I’m gonna quilt it in the same pattern as the chevrons.” And then I realized just how hard that was, as a novice, to do with a twin-sized quilt. So I quietly folded the quilt up and stuck it in the bottom of the linen closet. And there it stayed for three years. It’s totally time to finish this baby up!

2) It’s a Man’s World – Lap quilt.It's a Man's World lap quilt

This is another early work of mine. I was all “I’m gonna make something with quilter’s linens and put a houndstooth flannel on the back.” It was actually inspired by*  this pin. I think it was seriously, like, my third pin ever, and I was smitten. And then when I finished, I realized my squares weren’t perfectly straight. So I got discouraged and quietly folded it up and stuck it on top of the picnic quilt, in the linen closet. I recently took it out and quilted it, imperfections and all. But I still need to pick a fabric for the binding.

(*oh did I say inspired by? I mean I basically tried to replicate. I was new to sewing — forgive me!)

3) LIMOD sampler – size unknown.LIMOD Quilt Blocks

This one is up to me. But I’d like to have it completed by the time our guild reconvenes in September. There are ideas swirling in my head as to how I will tie them all together, but I’m not quite sure as of yet.

I think that’s seriously all I can handle making promises on for now. I’d like to see some more progress on my birds, but there’s another project that I’ve barely started that I’d like to get moving on, too. So the rest I’ll just leave to fate!

Check out all of the fantastic finishes from last quarter, and all the potential for finishes ahead at The Littlest Thistle!

weekend snippets.

Star Spangled Bros

Honestly, it is hard to believe the Fourth of July has come and gone! This year is moving much faster in reality than it is in my head. . .

I hope you had a lovely weekend (either here in the US, or wherever you may be). Ours was a little bit soggy to start, but by Saturday the sun was shining and there was no humidity — gorgeous! It basically doesn’t  get any better than that!

Star Block

While it rained, I got busy working on some of my Gypsy Wife blocks. (Here’s Crazy Anne and the Star Block complete.)

Gypsy Wife Blocks

And all of that rain was great for the garden. . .

Tomatoes in the Garden

Squash Blossom

Pepper peeking outThe rain was also a great opportunity to take stock of all of my unfinished projects and start making plans for when and how I am going to bring them to completion. Remember these guys???

My First Quilt - still waiting for a finishI even pulled out the first quilt I ever made, which is still sitting half-quilted and waiting for a binding. I am making a promise to you all, my children will have a picnic on the beach sitting on this quilt before the summer is complete! I’m counting on you guys to hold me to it!

Peanut Sesame Slaw w/ Soba Noodles

Once the rain departed, we got down to business celebrating with friends and family. Last night we made this delicious peanut sesame slaw with soba noodles recipe from Cookie and Kate for a BBQ at the beach. It was a huge hit!

So that’s the story of our weekend! How was yours? Did you get much sewing accomplished? Did you gain a few lbs? I’m happy to say that I managed both, the signs of a good weekend, indeed!

crazy anne with a plan.

 

crazy anne ready to piece

It’s been a while since I’ve worked on anything with a color palette that didn’t involve some sort of orange, and I can only compare it to this: it’s like eating pizza every night for dinner and then finally eating some vegetables. You still really love pizza, but sometimes a salad is just the thing you need to keep yourself feeling well. That’s what it was like to pull out these gypsy wife fabrics, which have been accumulating in the closet since April! They were a delicious, good-for-my-soul treat!

hope from hartford

The fact that I am so behind the schedule of most others working on this BOM really helped me to enjoy the process, too. There was no pressure to get things done within a specific time frame. I just allowed myself to play with all of the pieces of fabric, (and my new Alison Glass stash) and feel the creativity flow. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Next up, starting to tackle the 60 or so filler blocks!

So! How about you? What’s on the agenda for this week? Will you be sewing much over the 4th of July weekend? Hope you have a relaxing time, however you spend it!

Linking up with Lee at WIP Wednesday!