Archive of ‘quilt’ category

the heavy boots

it turned out to be a long week last week.  I was home with the boys, which was fun except I was killing myself to give each day a theme…like ‘art day’, ‘word day’, ‘race day’  and then we would have an afternoon activity related to the theme. (I promise to share more on this later.)  the boys loved that the day had a clear agenda even if they had to wait until the afternoon but I grew exhausted by the planning and clean-up.   I’m trying to minimize meltdowns especially given the hot temperatures around here.  not to speak of roughhousing…there is so much roughhousing and I don’t have a good idea of how much is too much. anyone? but, I’m not convinced that structured activities is exactly the right answer.

we also learned that our neighbor, whom the boys both adored, passed away.  he lived alone and his sister has needed some help here and there going through his house as well as someone to talk to.  then, a surprising flood hit my hometown, Duluth, MN.  it’s a town made of hills and really should not ever flood but it did and it left neighborhoods flooded, zoo animals displaced and some of the precious natural places of my childhood underwater.  thankfully there don’t seem to be any human deaths.  but, it was shocking and I realized that as much as I love new experiences and change within my present life I really want my childhood places to stay locked in time. not very realistic but it’s true.  all in all, I had what my husband calls heavy boots.

there were great bright spots, of course, including tons of wonderful moments with the boys including quite a few classic games of go fish.  they have lots of questions and ideas about death right now and it has been good to have a chance to explore that, too.

there was, of course, my fantastic sewing class.

and, I was lucky enough to steal away to the inaugural meeting of the North Jersey Modern Quilting Guild. it was wonderful to be so inspired and with so many accomplished sewers.  everyone was excited and friendly and nearly giddy with enthusiasm. I felt very at home.

and, in the cleaning out of items our neighbor’s sister gave us a stackful of wonderful books, mostly kids books and cookbooks, as well as some furniture most of which needs a bit of refinishing that I’m excited to undertake. I will be sure to share that later, too.  both of the boys are as in love with books as my husband and I and I was heartened to see them devour the big stack of kids books.  they aren’t reading yet but sat next to each other and looked at pictures and made up stories. I even got to put my feet up and peruse the cookbooks.

the boys are in summer camp now for a few days a week and it’s giving me a chance to get some work done, prepare for an upcoming festival, and hopefully get enough time to shake off the heavy boots.


zigzag quilt

I know I said we have too many quilts, and it’s true, but as I was hunting around for something in my ‘unfinished projects bin’ I stumbled across this quilt top and knew immediately that I was going to have to quilt and bind it to finish the darn thing.  And, I’m so pleased I did.

I love, love, love how it turned out.  I implore you, who can resist a fun zigzag? no one, that is who.  plus, look at those cute picnic-y prints!


the quilt pattern is based of this wonderful tutorial from a quilt is nice.  it’s really a wonderful quilt pattern and her instructions are very clear.  I would have followed it more closely but a) I’m not always good at (ahem) exactly following instructions and b) I didn’t have as much fabric as she uses in the tutorial.  so, I improvised in a few small ways.  basically, mine is just smaller.  it’s not nearly as dramatic as I’m making it sound.

to make the quilt top I used bit and pieces from my fabric scraps and in the process got to rescue some of the last pieces of fabric that I love…like the little heather ross fishes (!) and some delicate and soft japanese prints I got at spool a long time ago. even for the binding I used different bits of scrap in solid colors from previous projects. and the quilt backing is from some of the fabric my grandma gave me.

I’m really seriously considering giving this away as a baby gift to a couple that really, really put a lot of love (and patience and hand-wringing) into bringing a bouncing boy into the world.  but, oh man, I’m not sure I can part with it! is that terrible? we have absolutely no need for a quilt this size…we have tons of them! but…my little fishes! ugh.

plus, look at how much fun this guy can have with it!

lovely lola’s special quilt

I got an amazing opportunity to make a beautiful quilt for a foot-stomping, pigtailed, twirling, dancing, smiling friend.  she’s perfectly adorable and 2.  the quilt is made from her most important clothes from her first few years of life.  it reflects her polish-italian background and even includes part of a halloween costume and bits of her favorite hats.

I had so much fun making this quilt for lovely little lola. it’s always such an honor making these baby clothes quilts.  for lola, I spent lots of time incorporating ruffles and pleats and designs from the special shirts.  I hadn’t met lola while I was making the quilt but when I met her friendly and feisty self I felt like I already knew her.  it might have just been how amazingly bright and bouncy she is but I think it also had to do with the fact that her most precious clothes sat in my studio and lap for a good length of time.  a little something must have rubbed off.

all I know is that when he dad picked her up with one hand, tipped her upside down and called her a monkey I thought to myself that seems about right.  as if I knew! but, it seemed like I did know.  crazy as it sounds. I know that I was trusted with something pretty precious and I hope I did it justice. it can get a little emotional…the whole handing over really special baby clothes thing…for everyone including me.

but, we all left happy.

the outside quilt

I was searching for something the other day and came across some scraps of vintage fabric that long ago I had cut up in hopes of making an all-vintage quilt.  the scraps were mostly from old sheets and the white squares were old curtains with beautiful embroidery on it.  it was a bit smelly, I won’t lie, but when I originally got the fabric I washed it and set it in the sun to dry and then washed it again.  it still managed to stink, stink, stink while I was ironing but the quilt itself smells fine.  it was fortuitous timing because maya from maya made has just released a fantastic book called reinvention about using fabric destined for the landfill.  and, sew mama sew is holding a reinvention contest.  the book looks wonderful, by the way.

for some unknown reason, I am crazy about this quilt and so are the boys.  there isn’t exactly anything super special about it but I do think that white space on a quilt just makes it nice and summery and inviting.  I think I’m going to be incorporating more white into my quilts.

I made this the “easy way” meaning that it doesn’t have a binding.  I completed the patchwork top and then sewed the whole thing right-side together leaving a little bit open.  flipped it right side out and put in a few “tacked down” spots around the quilt (I used my buttonhole stitch on the first step for anyone wondering about specifics) before sewing a topstitch around the edge of the quilt.  yay, no binding!!

even though there is white in it, I’m planning on making this quilt an outdoors quilt…built for impromptu park visits and last-minute picnics.  there are two main reasons for this. the first is that I’m really hoping to spend a lot of time outside this summer and the second is that basically we don’t need anymore quilts INSIDE the house, I’ve pretty much quilted that up already. but, I don’t want to stop quilting.  hence the invention of the outside quilt. genius, right?

speaking of stubbornness, this little guy…J, our 3 year old is working hard on that autonomy game and perfecting the art of pushing limits.  it must be said that he is adorable about it but some of the grown-ups around here are a little tired at the end of the day.

the scrambled quilt

last week I was working on a pattern to accompany my beginner baby quilt class (for sale soon on etsy, I promise!) and after making the model quilt, I had some remaining scraps leftover.  I  love the challenge of scraps. they just beg me to play, ignore the rules and make something unexpected. so, I succumbed to temptation and set aside some time to wrangle the fabric into a ‘playmate’ sized quilt that I’m calling the scrambled quilt.   I named it that because I think it looks a little scrambled but I love it.

 I did lots of piecing together and cutting apart and the design came together as I went…there was very little forethought I just went with what felt right. I’ve always like a good amount of crisp white in a quilt so I threw some of that in at the ends. it was great fun and nice to get out of the routine of following directions and over thinking and just enjoy a bit of the creative process.  I used the backyard baby fabric from patty sloniger, all of which is adorable.

my littlest one thought it was pretty great, too and had to get in on the action.  don’t tell me you aren’t tempted to tickle that exposed tummy or grab those little toes!


yum! it’s this kind of free-form process that reminds me of the joy of making things. no pattern to glance at every ten seconds (I have a terrible memory) and no agenda.  just me, my eyes, the cotton, and my machine.

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