Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Twin Quilts


I wasn't the only one of my LAMQG friends to have a baby last year. There was a bit of a baby epidemic in the Guild, but a few of my friends who were planning new additions to their families breathed a huge sigh of relief when I announced I was having twins. They thought that I took the bullet for the guild. So imagine her surprise when, Alissa, one of my best friends in the LAMQG had an ultrasound revealing identical twins. What are the chances? Two sets of spontaneous identical twins, in the same guild born pretty much exactly six months apart to extremely close friends!


Alissa has been working on this amazing twin sized, EPP Hexie quilt for her older daughter. It's still a WIP but it's intended for her daughter's "Big Girl" bed. She's been working on it a long while and it's amazing, but she, admittedly doesn't have the desire to replicate the process twice more for the twins. We knew that she would be getting a lot of baby quilts at her shower, so Liberty, Latifah and I banded together to make her two matching (but not identical) twin sized quilts for the twins. 


One morning, when my boys were still wee ones, we took a trip down to Anaheim to visit M and L Fabrics. I had not been introduced to this Fabric Wonderland until I was pregnant (thank you Liberty!) and it was then that we started a tradition we continued to honor on this shopping trip. Both Liberty and I spent a few years living in Chicago, and there is a Portillos in Anaheim, so we start out our shopping trip with lunch at this Chicago institution so we can muster up enough energy for our M and L excursion.


This particular trip was dedicated to buying fabrics for both of Alissa's quilts, including backing and binding. We decided on a bright, cheery color scheme focusing on hot pink and orange. We also raided our home stashes and then divided up the fabric three ways, between herself, Latifah and myself. The quilt Liberty finished was a wonky house quilt. We fussy cut "eye spy" doorways. Mine was a wonky log cabin quilt with fussy cut eye spy centers. The three of us shared fabrics and made blocks, Latifah made the labels and Liberty and I quilted and bound our respective quilts.


Liberty had her quilt finished in time for Alissa's baby shower. Since my boys were still very small at the time, and mu sewing time was limited I only had the top done, but we were able to present them to her. After the shower, I put the quilt to the side for a while. My basting space, aka dining room, was now the boys play room and I just had limited sewing time. I figured she didn't need the quilt right away. But finally, I was able to get it sandwiched, quilted, bound and home to my future daughter-in-laws. (Ha ha!)


I intended to stipple this quilt on my machine at home, but it's so heavy, my quilting table is small and I am out of practice so I ended up ripping out my first attempt and decided to straight-line quilt it instead.

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If you know me, you know that I'm not partial to the color pink, but I do like hot pink. I actually ended up falling in love with this quilt. It's so bright and cheerful. I love the hot pink and orange combo. I think I might have to work with these colors again sometime soon.

Friday, February 6, 2015

I Miss Blogging

I miss blogging. It's been ages since I read any of the blogs I follow. My RSS Feed in my inbox is well over 3000 posts. And I miss writing my blog. I've been in a blog hibernation through my pregnancy and my boys' first year. But I have been sewing. And I've been sewing more and more lately. While I was pregnant I made stuff for the nursery, until I was too big and tired to sit in front of my machine. And then I started focusing on my Marathon Quilt, because hand piecing was easier. And up until I delivered I continued to attend LAMQG Meetings and serve as the Secretary for the board, so although I didn't have much to show, I was still around quilting. 

After the boys were born, things slowed down, of course. I March I stepped down my position as Secretary of the LAMQG. And I continued work on my Marathon Quilt, albeit slow, but I had two newborns so it's normal. Yet, for quilt a while now, I have been sewing. The boys usually take a good nap in the afternoon, so several times a week I find myself with a little time to escape into my studio and sew. I have been sewing. And I have finishes. I just haven't been blogging. And I miss it! I miss writing and I miss reading about other's journeys. I miss connecting with other creative people through blog posts and comments. I miss the creative inspiration.

I spend a lot of time posting on Instagram. But I have been missing my blog for a while now and I think, especially with QuiltCon coming up, it's really been making me homesick for my blog. I'll start by playing some catch up, and slowly, I hope to get back to visiting this space a lot more. And, when in doubt, you can always find me on Instagram. And at QuiltCon. Yep, I'm going (sans kids!!), are you? Let me know so we can connect!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You've Gotta' Have Heart

So I did finish another quilt this Summer. I've talked about my Cast B Family before. We traveled around the world together for a year when we were just a bunch of kids. Now, over 21 years later, they are still some of my best friends and truly my Family. Some of them live right down the street, while most of them live on the other side of the globe but we still keep in touch with each other on an almost daily basis and we get together as a group at least every third year, if not more often. 

Well, back in May we got quite a scare when one of our own had a heart attack on Mothers Day. Thankfully, her family found her in time and was able to save her life. But it was touch and go there for a while and we were rocked to our core. She lives all the way across the country, so I did the only thing I could think of to help. I made her a quilt. 

In secret, I reached out to our entire Cast and implored them all to send a piece of fabric with a message of hope and support for our Castmate. What filled my mailbox brought me to tears. Blocks of all different shapes and sizes with messages and pictures overflowing with love from four different continents decorated my design wall. If people felt like they couldn't get me their messages by the deadline I told them to tell me what they wanted to say and I printed their messages for them. 

Once all of the messages were in, I worked on the layout, housing all of the well wishes inside a heart. The layout was tricky because I was working with all different kinds of fabrics and all different sizes of blocks, but it was a fun puzzle to piece. And now that I think about it, it was actually good practice for my QuiltCon submission. So, in a way, I owe that to her! Since I had two infants and limited space and time, and I wanted this quilt to be big enough for her and her family to snuggle up under together, I decided to Long Arm it and booked a visit with Harley at Sew Modern. Generously, my husband watched the kids one Saturday afternoon so I could sneak away and quilt. 

It quilted up rather quickly. I think it only took two hours. I did a loose stipple and hid some hearts in the quilting as well as a secret message to her and her brave family. Then I bound it and sent it on it's way home with all the love and warmth of our Cast wrapped up with it. She is the heart of our Cast and part of my Family and I love her and am thankful for every breath she breathes. 

Monday, December 8, 2014


These little monsters are starting to let me up for air. I can hardly believe that they're almost a year old. Only three and a half weeks until their First Birthday. I haven't really written or read anything blog related in that time. They've been keeping my busy. But I have been starting to get into the sewing groove again. 

I was able to sneak away for a portion of the LAMQG annual retreat. It felt so good to hang out with my friends and have some unadulterated sewing time. I focused the entire retreat on a massive Flying Geese project that I recently started. My goal was to get it finished in time to submit it to QuiltCon, but I really want to make this one huge and by the end of retreat I still had about 900 geese to complete so I switched gears and finished an improv quilt that had been lingering in my head and got it turned in before the deadline. 

I've also been focused on getting caught up on old projects, primarily finishing up some charity quilts for the Hope Circle of do. Good Stitches. I had these quilts hostage in a variety of stages ranging to simple clean up needed, like hiding tails, to quilted but unbound, to just a pile of blocks. But I've made a push recently to get them finished so I can ship them all together to Threading Hope in the New Year and make room for new projects. 

My New Years Resolution will definitely be to sew more, and to blog more. But my little monsters come first. And I don't mind that at all. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

No apologies. No excuses. No promises.

It's been a while since I've had the time or energy to blog. And I know that isn't going to change any time soon. But I do miss it around here. So when I can, I'll pop on by. There are two really great reasons that I haven't been around lately. I'd like to introduce you to them: Vaughn (in the necktie) and Dashiel (in the bow tie) joined the world on January 2, 2014. 

I did some sewing, primarily for the babies' room, before they were born, but I didn't have stamina for much else. I got really big, really quick and between the extra weight and my huge belly I really didn't feel much like sewing. I barely had enough energy to even do any hand sewing. I promise I'll start showing some of the few things I did accomplish while I was cooking these kids soon. But for now, I'm trying to sleep when I can and lear how to juggle two little ones at the same time. No apologies. No excuses. No promises.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Learning to Long Arm

If you know me at all you know about my fear of free motion quilting. Thankfully, after taking Elizabeth Hartman's class at QuiltCon and then starting to practice my skills on charity quilts at home that fear has disappeared. Each quilt I work on now helps me gain more confidence and improve my skills. I actually really like free motion quilting now. But there was one more fear out there I needed to conquer: mastering the Long Arm. 

I had been putting off learning how to Long Arm until my free motion skills got better. Right now, I don't branch out much past a basic stipple. But my husband requested that I stipple the Scrappy Trout Along Quilt and I was faced with two options. Now this quilt is a King Sized monster. And it's super heavy thanks to all those seams. There was no way in hell I was going to attempt to quilt this one at home. I know better. Especially with my expanding belly, I knew that for me it would be a nightmare. So I could either send it out to a Long Armer to quilt for me. Or I could bite the bullet and do it myself. I debated vigorously between the two options and eventually decided that now is as good a time as any to teach this old dog a new trick. 


I signed up for a private lesson on Harley (the resident Long Arm at my favorite LQS, Sew Modern) with my friend Lisa. She taught me everything I needed to know from racking the quilt to threading the machine. I even brought a charity quilt with me for practice. I can't believe how intimidated I was by the Long Arm. I wish I had mustered up the courage earlier to take a lesson because it was so much fun and so much easier than I expected. Quilting on the Long Arm was so much easier and more fluid than trying to free motion on my home machine!

I used my lesson time to learn the basics, like racking my quilt, threading the machine, etc. And then I just practiced stippling. I wasn't ready to get too fancy and I just wanted to get the hang of the machine and how it flowed. Also, my husband requested that I stipple his Scrappy "Trout" Quilt so initially that's all I needed to know. I was able to stipple a small charity quilt on the long arm in about an hour, which was awesome. Now I'm addicted!.

So here's my advice to all you chickens, just like me, that are out there. Take a deep breath and just try the Long Arm. You will be so surprised at just how easy it actually is to work on one. I am mad it took me so long to muster up the courage. It's fun and it's super easy. You'll get the hang of it in no time and be kicking yourself, just like me, that you didn't try it sooner.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Scrappy Trout Quilt Top

So I have slowly been starting to sew again. In fact, this past weekend I took four wonderful days and disappeared off the grid with a few friends so we could spend some quality time together and sew. I had two sewing goals for the weekend: Get caught up on Bee Blocks and finish my Scrappy Trip Along Quilt Top. I started my Scrappy Trout (nicknamed the Trout Quilt by my friend Melissa because the it reminded her of fish scales, which I thought was cool) quite a while ago intended for our couch, but when my husband saw it he really loved it and asked if we could put it on our bed. That meant I needed to make it larger. Then it got pushed to the side as my Spring and Summer started to turn our world upside down. The only sewing I have been able to do at all this entire Summer was commission work with deadlines. And that was quite a chore in my condition. 

Scrappy Trout Quilt Top

When I started to prep for our girls weekend I made a conscious decision to leave all my commission work at home. Let's just call that Work (capital 'W'), since I can't really go back to my real job right now so it's my only source of income at the moment. Instead I only projects I wanted to work (lowercase) on, meaning my Scrappy Trout, my Marathon Quilt, and some delayed bee blocks. 


The weekend was a complete success! I had lots of laughs, great times with my friends and I came home with an (almost) completed quilt top. I say almost, because, even though it's pretty much the perfect size for our King bed, I decided that I really want to add a solid border. I just love the way these quilts look with a sold border around them. I really think it takes the quilt to another level. So it's almost done. And I feel such a sense of accomplishment, especially since I haven't been able to sew much in the past several months. I can't wait to see this one completed!