Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What the Heck Do I Do with This?

If you had asked me a few weeks ago about my first quilt, I would have told you about the humble picnic blanket I made of 8-inch squares for my friend Miss K. I would have told you how making it was an exercise in locating my inner quilter and determining whether I was interested in pushing a gigantic swath of fabric and batting through my machine on a regular basis.

If you ask me about that first quilt today, I’d tell you that I’ve been living a lie because recently I found this, my actual first quilt:

You’d be wrinkled too if you were folded up and forgotten in my guest room
closet for five-plus years!

I had completely forgotten about this project from years ago. Frustrated with shopping for suitable wall art, I made this mini (it measures 25 inches by 36 inches) to hang above my bed. I bought a jelly roll of Brannock and Patek’s Remembrance because I love the combination of red, green, and blue. I tied this mini instead of quilting it and opted for a pillowcase binding. I’m pretty sure I followed some sort of pattern, but I went through my sewing library and can’t put my finger on the source.

When the project was finished, I decided that it was too blah to hang up above my bed or anywhere else, for that matter. I ended up buying some photography from this Etsy shop to use in my master bedroom instead.

Although I didn’t hang the mini here, I did purchase yardage from Remembrance
to make the two big pillows.

Looking at it now, years later, I like the fabrics. They’re more traditional than those I usually use, but I’m a sucker for the red-green-blue combination. And I like the strong geometry of this mini. It’s simple, reminiscent of a coin quilt. This mini has potential!

The way I see it, I have three options:
  • I can let it live as a mini. If I take this route, should I cut it down so it’s not so rectangular? Add a border? Bind it?
  • I can make it into something completely different. Does it want to be a pillow? (Do I need another pillow?) A journal cover?
  • I can fold it up and shove it back in my guest room closet. This is the easiest of the options. It’s also the lamest.
So what is your take on my dilemma? Is this a finished project, or should I demote it to a WIP (or worse—the trash!)? Thanks in advance for your help!
Linking up to WIP Wednesday, TGIFF, Finish It Up Friday, and Sew Cute Tuesday ...

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

These Are My People!

About two hours north of me is Keepsake Quilting, a shop that’s great in both size and reputation. I’ve driven by it before, faced pressed to the window, pleading with my husband and kids to stop, but I was denied. Determined to enjoy the Keepsake experience (finally!), I waited until my husband and older son were out of town, got a babysitter for my little guy, and sent out a call for New England quilt bloggers to meet up at this famed store.

Here are the takers, from left to right: Karin of Leigh Laurel Studios, Terri of Childlike Fascination, Chelsea of Patch the Giraffe, me (I’m having way more fun than my lame smile would suggest), Sarah of Smiles Too Loudly, and Jen of Never Just Jennifer.

As fellow quilters and bloggers, these people get me! I loved our day together!

Fueled by a preshopping lunch and quilty conversation, we descended on Keepsake. I’m sure the potential for fabric enabling is not lost on you. It’s one thing to be set loose in such a shop by yourself, but when you have an additional five pairs of eyes perusing the bolts with you, the purchasing possibilities skyrocket.

I bought these fabric selections just because I liked them ...

From left to right: More Hearty Good Wishes (Janet Clare/Moda), Sunnyside
(Kate Spain/Moda), Low Country Indigo (Nancy Gere/Windham), Wildflowers
(Alisse Courter/Camelot)

And others because they were on sale and too lovely (and too hard to find elsewhere) to pass up ...

I’m planning a Bonnie and Camille quilt of epic proportions. This pink Scrumptious
print and this red Vintage Modern print will be put to good use.

The highlight, however, was when Sarah found some PB&J for me (see my previous musings on the wonders of PB&J here and here). The discovery caused me to jump up and down, a reaction witnessed by more than a few Keepsake employees and shoppers.

I adore Basic Grey’s PB&J. I scored 3 yards of the top fabric and 1 yard of the
yellow at Keepsake. Sarah swapped the navy with me. Love!

But the day was not all shopping and eating and entertainment (i.e., me spontaneously jumping around the store). It was also educational. Random topics of conversation included but were not limited to: black holes, the rigors of ROTC training, and the little arrow next to the gas gauge on recent-model cars that indicates where the gas tank is located. (Terri, I will forever be indebted to you for that last bit of knowledge!)

Fabric shopping is always fun, but fabric shopping with smart and talented quilty friends is crazy, crazy fun. I can’t wait to plot more adventures. (BTW: If you live in New England and want to be informed of future meet-ups, follow me on Instagram. That’s where I’ll post details.)

Linking up to Sunday Stash, Sew Cute Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social , and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

This Finish Brought to You by Gilmore Girls*

I have spent a good chunk of this year wrapping up some long-lingering projects. I’ve completed two holdover quilts from 2014 (here and here) and one from 2013 (here). Although it feels good to check these WIPs off my to-do list, I’ve been wanting to start something new and different—and something that wouldn’t be hanging around my sewing table forever.

Then last month, I won two Carolyn Friedlander patterns from the Fat Quarter Shop over on Instagram: Nest Egg and Social Tote. Receiving these patterns was the perfect excuse to hang out in my stash. I had missed that beginning part of the sewing process—the fabric pulls, the color-card consultations, and the time spent considering the possibilities.

I homed in on my last sizable chunk of Basic Grey’s PB&J (left over from the back of this quilt) for a Social Tote but was doubtful that I would find anything else in my stash to coordinate with it. PB&J has a washed-out quality to it. The colors are lovely; I just wasn’t sure it would play well with other fabric lines. And then I found, smooshed down between other fat quarters, a lone fat of Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley. Perfect!

Heads up: The Social Tote is surprisingly small, measuring in at 10 inches long, 7 inches wide, 3½ inches tall (10 inches tall with handles).

I’m pleased with the results of my first Social Tote! It’s hard to estimate how long it took me to make it, because I worked on it here and there and jumped to other projects when I needed a more mindless task to focus on. I can say, though, that it was a really fun sew. Early in the process, when I had all the pieces cut out and ready to go, it was hard to imagine that those rectangles would become much of anything, let alone a three-dimensional object that could hold and carry other objects. (Kudos to both Carolyn Friedlander and Anna Graham, Carolyn’s collaborator on this pattern. The way this project is assembled is nothing short of brilliant.) Watching it come together reminded me of my first Sew Together Bag, and I’ll be riding the sense of accomplishment from my Social Tote for a while.

The Social Tote features three compartments. There’s also a pattern for a pin cushion that fits in one of the smaller sections, which I opted not to make.

I definitely have another Social Tote or two in me. I didn’t veer from the pattern for this first one. For any future renditions, I may choose a darker lining fabric or figure out something to make the handles less floppy.

What are your most recent sewing triumphs? I’d love hear about them! Leave a comment or URL so we can celebrate with you.

* A note on the title of this post: I stream TV shows while I sew, and for the last few projects, I’ve been trucking through season after season of Gilmore Girls. After being jerked around by season 6, I was eager to get to the end of the series and see how the writers would resolve the various plot lines. I watched the series finale during this project, and now that it’s over, I’m a little sad. Sad and in need of another show to watch. : (

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, and Finish It Up Friday ...

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