Quilt Spotting at My Friend’s House

I’m halfway to my work event and am spending the night at a friend’s house near Columbus, OH. As she was pointing out my bedroom and sundry this evening, she took me into a spare room to pick out a pillow (she had quite a selection!) and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a gorgeous antique quilt on the bed! She had planned on showing it to me anyway, as she knows I’m a quilter, but I don’t think she expected me to then spend the next 10 minutes or so fondling it, pointing out to her the difficulty of particular techniques, and snapping pictures!

I introduce to you her great-grandmother’s absolutely gorgeous Dahlia quilt. I’m guessing something like early 1920s—she thinks it may be in the 1910s given when her great-grandmother lives. (Apparently her great-grandmother died at age 51 of a heart-attack—tragic.) I’ve strongly encouraged her to get it appraised for insurance purposes, but also so she can hear the story of the fabric, pattern, and time period that I was so fascinated by why I had my family quilts done. 

Check out the border and what it must’ve meant for binding!  And be sure to take a gander at the beautiful hand-quilting!

Because I’m on my iPad and in a hurry to go to bed (another long day’s drive tomorrow segueing directly into meetings), I’m just sort of dumping these pics up there. Sorry if it freaks out your blog readers! 

 

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Gorgeous colors! The lighting makes it a little yellow but you can still get the beautiful color combo. 

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Look at this corner! I mean, Shut the Front Door!

 Here’s the border close-up. I pulled a part of it up onto the bed to show it better. The room was small so I couldn’t get a good shot of the whole border. The binding has frayed significantly—I told her she could have that repaired if she wanted to but I actually sort of like it with the original. Shows it’s well-loved.   

Here’s the border close-up. I pulled a part of it up onto the bed to show it better. The room was small so I couldn’t get a good shot of the whole border. The binding has frayed significantly—I told her she could have that repaired if she wanted to but I actually sort of like it with the original. Shows it’s well-loved.

 

 And a really poorly lit picture of the hand-quilting. There were so many beautiful spots I couldn’t decide where to get the picture and I could’ve easily taken about 10 more detail shots but, you know, bedtime and all that.  I love seeing beautiful antique family quilts. I don’t see myself ever collecting/buying those that I don’t know, but seeing them in their natural habitat, with family history attached, is just lovely.    Now I’ll sleep well and dream pretty quilty thoughts... 

And a really poorly lit picture of the hand-quilting. There were so many beautiful spots I couldn’t decide where to get the picture and I could’ve easily taken about 10 more detail shots but, you know, bedtime and all that.

I love seeing beautiful antique family quilts. I don’t see myself ever collecting/buying those that I don’t know, but seeing them in their natural habitat, with family history attached, is just lovely.  

Now I’ll sleep well and dream pretty quilty thoughts... 

Welcome and Upcoming Schedule

With thanks to Martingale Press, I suspect, I have gotten a bunch of new blog subscribers in the last few days. Welcome! That’s so exciting! I’m glad you are interested in checking out my blog! 

I just wanted to post a quick note that I’m leaving town today for a work trip and won’t be back for about 8 or 9 days....and then recovery time...so it’ll be a bit before I post a new blog entry. 

But after this trip (it’s our major work event every year that takes a huge amount of time and energy), and after I get a few days of sleep and introvert recovery from having been “on” for a full week, I swear I’ll get back to my sewing machine and have interesting things to say again.  

I swear it. 

I do also see a new podcast episode sometime in the not too distant future, although that aforementioned sewing should probably happen first, just so’s I have something to actually talk about, donchaknow. 

Meanwhile, have you been listening to Frances Dowell’s Quiltfiction podcast? It’s a good one! 

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I’ll leave you with a picture of my bubby, Auggie, who just got home from a two week vacation at the lake with my daughter. He’s a little smelly from all his fun, and very sleepy, but I’m glad to have him home. He and I are overdue for some bonding time—lots of cuddles when I get home again!

For Your Summer Reading List—Some Books I’ve Enjoyed

So, the secret’s out: I haven’t been doing much (read: any) sewing lately. May was a busy month with lots of travel (all fun, but still) and tons of evening conference calls when I was home. June has been almost as busy with a couple of work trips and more evening conference calls. I’m finding myself, when I do have unscheduled time, just wanting to bury my nose in good book. So bury I have! Here are some books that have stood out for me over the last year or so—some from BOM, others I just bought on my own. I figured I’d share them in case you were looking for a new read! 

A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)--This book had a very well-done literary device of exploring Russian history through the eyes of one man who never left the inside of a hotel. I really enjoyed this. My short review on Goodreads

Circe (Madeline Miller)--Circe takes a Greek myth and creates an entire fictional world around it. I wasn't sure I'd take to it and ended up completely engaged, to the point where I put Miller's other books of the same ilk on my to-read list. My review on Goodreads

Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)--My review of Everything is here on Goodreads, I gave Little Fires 5 stars but didn't write a review. (I was still working on my thesis while I was reading some of these and didn't have time for reviews!) Both of these books address family ties, the realities of immigrant life, and the realities of living in American (suburban) society. Characters are well-drawn and the story line kept me engaged.

The Underground Railroad (Coleson Whitehead)--I have a very short review on Goodreads. This is my most recent finish on the list and it was a very moving book with an intriguing premise--the Underground Railroad is a physical railroad. Whitehead uses a Gulliver's Travels-esque motif to look at slavery's history and continuing impact. It's obvious why it's an award-winning novel. 

All the President’s Men (Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward)--My review on Goodreads and see my previous blog post.

The Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch (Book 1: Midnight Riot, Book 2: Moon over Soho) Here's my short review of Midnight Riot on Goodreads--my review of the second book was just that I still really enjoyed the series. Sort of a fantasy-cozy mystery blend, very fun. These are definitely great light-hearted summer reads.

The Astonishing Color of After (By Emily X. R. Pan)--I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads but never wrote a review of it. I was surprised at how much it grabbed me. It felt honest and mystical at the same time. Wonderful book. Sad but redemptive.

The Philosopher’s Flight (by Tom Miller)--I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads but never wrote a review. I was expecting this to be a rip-off of Harry Potter so I was actually expecting not to make it through. However, although it has a similar feel, it's a completely different story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's in the fantasy genre. Another good light summer read.

Anything by Frederick Backman (i.e., A Man Called Ove, Beartown)—I just yesterday discovered he’s got a new book out, Us Against You, the sequel to Beartown, and started reading it today. He's a Swedish writer and his books always get at least 4 stars from me on Goodreads. He's got a very spare, clean writing style but wonderful characters and believable emotions and reactions. Most of his books are fairly light, even if dealing with difficult topics. Beartown and Us Against You are significantly darker, but still excellent.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women (Kate Moore)--Nonfiction. Gave it 4 stars on Goodreads but didn't leave a review. This wasn't an easy read as it has some graphic detail of illness that can be a little tough to get through, but this is a part of American experience (and particularly women's experience) that I had never heard of before. Pretty incredible stuff.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President (Candice Millard)--Nonfiction. Short review on Goodreads here. Really interesting questions raised about who really caused President Garfield's death.

SeaBiscuit: An American Legend (Laura Hillenbrand)--Nonfiction. Goodreads review here. And no, I've never seen the movie--but I thoroughly enjoyed the book!

And some that I read a long time ago but still stand out for me as some of the best nonfiction books I've read: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (You haven't read it yet? Really?? Here's my Goodreads review) and Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David von Drehle (Goodreads review here).

And, of course, my usual favorite authors: Frances Dowell, Marie Bostwick, Louise Penny, and Ann Cleeves.  

Hope this helps add to your own to-read list! Friend me on Goodreads so we can swap recommendations. If you're not on Goodreads (and why aren't you?) let me know what your most recent favorite read has been in the comments below.

 

 

OT: On a Watergate Kick

I’ve been going through a whole bunch of new-to-me podcasts in recent months and one of my surprise favorites was one named Slow Burn: A Podcast About Watergate. It was a miniseries of episodes featuring stories behind the story of Watergate—things related to the main story that were the lesser-known stories. I found it strangely fascinating. 

Mind you, I was about 7 when Watergate actually happened, so my main reaction to it was “But I’m tired of watching the news, Dad!” I do always say, though, that by “cutting my political eye-teeth on Watergate,” I have a deeply embedded cyncism about politics. I was a little too young to see “All the President’s Men” in the movie theaters when it actually came out but I vaguely remember seeing it somewhere in my older teen or college years and finding it fairly boring and very confusing. I mostly just spent the movie appreciating Robert Redford.

After listening to Slow Burn, though, I decided I really wanted to read the book All the President’s Men so I had a better handle on the history. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be able to finish it. I thought I’d be bored silly, skim to get the gist of things, and probably end up abandoning it before the end. Instead, I was hooked. It’s not a political book so much as a journalistic who-dunnit. I loved following Woodward and Bernstein’s trains of thought, following threads, hitting dead-ends, making mistakes, and making critical discoveries sometimes almost by accident.

Fascinating.  

The book honestly had me almost on the edge of my seat, even though I knew the story.  

Once I finished the book, of course, I treated myself to some Redford and Hoffman. The movie wasn’t as confusing this time around. And it’s Redford and Hoffman. So there’s that.

All in all, I’m glad I just learned more about something that so totally shaped my attitudes towards politics from such a young age. It’s impossible not to see how much history repeats itself. But Redford and Hoffman. Hmm. 

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately—fun reading. It’s so good not to have to worry about citations and notes and just plain ol’ enjoy reading. I’ll do another blog post sometime soon about what I’ve been reading because I’ve got some recommendations! 

May Sew Sampler Unboxing

I'm really catching up on posts this weekend. I got my May Sew Sampler box a couple of days ago and didn't have time for a video unboxing, so here's another photo gallery of pics. 

I'm going to keep doing Sew Sampler for awhile. I'm loving the tools I get! Aurifil thread! Woot! Creative Grids rulers! Woot Woot! (And in a size I don't already have, which is pretty amazing given my collection.) Not entirely sure how the label letters work--I have to do a little research into those. The pattern doesn't really flip my switch but the fabric is cute. It's a new pre-cut size to me: 5" by 10" (or half layer-cake size). There was a pattern specifically for that size rolled up in the fabric so technically I got two patterns this month. I don't know if I'd make the pattern that came with the fabric either, although it would be a relatively fast project if I needed a quick gift or something. We'll need to brew on that one. 

(Remember, you can use the controls to forward photos faster than their auto-rotation. If you're reading this on a blog-reader, you may have to go to the website to see it.)

Graduation!

Since most of y'all have been with me on this journey over the last few years, I thought I'd share a few of the photos from my graduation on May 19 with my Doctor of Ministry degree from Boston University School of Theology. Good times!

May Cotton Cuts Unboxing

Hello, it's been awhile! May was a very busy month! Between a quilt retreat, Mother’s Day, graduation weekend, and going away with my husband over Memorial Day weekend, I haven’t actually been home all that much. I have a couple of work trips in June but frankly, this month feels like it’ll be a much quieter month all around even with those trips thrown in.  

I probably should do an update on my quilt retreat progress, although I basically made myself a lot of UFOs to work on in the future. Lots of things started, nothing finished, but I had a great time! 

Meanwhile, I got my May Cotton Cuts box so here’s a quick post with pics! I love the batiks--they're gorgeous. I like the arrow fabric but not sure I needed it in two colors. I also like the wild flower fabric although at the moment it's not inspiring me towards anything in particular. I really don't know what I'll do with the panel. Maybe some sort of little throw pillow for a great-niece or something. 

I think I'm going to put this subscription on pause for awhile. I've enjoyed getting the fabrics but I'm now at the point where I've got more planned projects that need fabrics in particular colorways. I can always re-subscribe later if I decide I want more unexpected inspiration again. 

 

May Sew Sampler Unboxing (no video)

SPOILER ALERT: If you're a Sew Sampler subscriber and haven't gotten or opened your box yet, don't read any further unless you want to spoil your own surprise!

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Still a little gravely in my speaking-box so I'm just doing pictures again. This was a well-timed Sew Sampler as there's something that will definitely come in handy during my quilt retreat this weekend!


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First thing I picked up out of the box was this nice little set of 20 marbled glass-head pins. A quilter can always use more pins, although I'm more a fan of long super-skinny ones but I tend to bend those at an alarming rate. Skinny doesn't equal sturdy.

In any case, I'll pull these out of the pack and bring them with me on retreat, if only to show off the pretty pretty marbled glass.


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Next up...

Whee! One of Olfa's endurance blades! I'm using one of these in my rotary cutter right now so I can't really tell you how long they last. Plus I'm really, REALLY bad at keeping track of that. I only change my blade when things start going horribly awry--I'm not particularly proactive. 

In any case, another very handy thing to bring on retreat!


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So, after the excitement of the endurance blade, the next thing I pulled out was a bit of a head-scratcher. 

This is an iron-on suede patch depiction of the house block that you'll see coming up later. It's 1 1/2" by 1 1/2" and it's suppose to commemorate the start of this box's new Sew Sampler Quilt Along. It says it "adds a striking finishing touch to any sewing project." 

Pretty sure I'm not ironing a gray suede square onto the back of any of my sewing projects. This will sit on the side of my cutting table, making me scratch my head more, for some time until I finally just toss it, not having found any inspiration for it whatsoever.


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Next out of the box is a three-piece acrylic template set that goes with the quilt pattern. The templates make the long rectangular flying geese block on the four sides of the four-patch in the picture. 

I don't much care for working with templates but if I ever get the yen to do it, these are nice, sturdy templates and would be better than cutting them out myself. 


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And here's the quilt pattern that goes with the templates. 

I'm not sure I'm in love with it, but I might like it better in other colors. I know it's all the rage in the modern quilting world, but I struggle to warm up to gray backgrounds. Now that I think of it, that statement is a bit of a pun, since I think gray backgrounds just feel cold. Get it? Warm up? Cold gray? Ar ar ar.

In any case, I've seen a few gray backgrounds I like but this one isn't doing it for me. I'm picturing this in different colors and the pattern still isn't jazzing me a whole lot. I'll hang onto it, though, as who knows--maybe someday it'll flip my switch. In my 20-odd years of quilting, I've gone through a whole lot of changing likes and dislikes. I'm a mercurial quilter. Yeah yeah, that's it. Mecurial sounds a whole lot better than fickle. 


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And here's the Sew Sampler sew-along block that goes with that strange little suede patch. 

I've been having a yen lately to make a house block, so this design is partially appealing to me. Not 100%, but I could stand it for one block. I may do this. 

Maybe I should bring it on retreat. It might make a nice in-between-larger-projects change of pace.


And here's the fabric they included in the box, suggested for the 54-40 quilt.

It's a half-roll (20 strips) of Palm Canyon Aruba, by Violet Craft for Robert Kaufmann Fabrics. 

I do love the saturated yellow and turquoise of this collection. I'm debating just breaking it up into my overall stash collection, though, especially if I'm not a huge fan of the quilt pattern.

So that's it! A couple of very handy things, some things I may want to use in the future but not immediately, and a head-scratcher. 

Overall, not a bad box!

This is getting posted Thursday morning when I'm heading to my home office for a conference call. As soon as that call is done, I'm in my car and heading to my quilt retreat! Whee!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram where I'll be posting regular updates. I'll do one summary post on this blog when I get home. Here's hoping for a productive weekend!

Mojo Monday—Retreat prep (oops--posted Wednesday)

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Woke up to this on Sunday morning. Blech. 

It didn’t help that I’m still under the weather with that cold. I’d planned on getting to church to sing with the choir but my throat was still a little uncomfortably sore and I had an alarming tendency to start coughing when I talked too much, so I figured singing probably wasn’t the best of ideas. And a little more rest and hot tea wouldn’t hurt.


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So we had a slow morning at our house. 

 


In the afternoon my energy level had picked up a bit so, although I went to my sewing room to work on my current project more, I ended up starting to organize and pack myself up for quilt retreat this coming weekend. Yep, you heard me right—I’m going on a quilt retreat! Woo! It feels like it’s been forever. I will have my current project, of course, but I like to have options, so I took a little time thinking through new projects I could do that are retreat-appropriate. 

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Knowing I wanted to use up some of my strip stash, I went to my strip drawer and...well...it was a stinkin’ mess. I hadn’t looked at it in a long time, other than piling more strips on top of it when I was cutting up scraps. It was in bad shape. I ended up spending about an hour, maybe more, pulling out all the strips, laying them all out again to see what I had, and re-stacking them in their color piles.  

I also broke down about three or four Jelly rolls—I had a couple that were collections of batiks, and a couple that were solids, so those got divided up into the rest of my stash. Jelly rolls that are fabric lines stayed together for now.  

For retreat, then, I found a table runner pattern that will be a nice seasonal one with one of a Christmas fabric jelly roll I’ve had for probably at least 8 years, plus I was able to pull all the accompanying fabrics from my stash. Bonus. I have another jelly roll pattern (throw quilt size) from another magazine that will use up the bulk of my batik strip stash, plus a black background fabric from my stash. I also have two fusible applique kits I’ve had for years that I’ve always thought would make good retreat projects, so those are coming with me in case I make a complete left turn in interest and energy while I’m there. But I think I’ll probably stick with the strip projects because it’ll feel so good to use up so much of that stash!  

I did get one more block done in my current WIP, plus four blocks partially done, and a few more even less partially done. I was chain piecing in units and just ran out of steam before I could finish up any more full blocks—my brief energy spurt faded quite suddenly. Oh well, I thought: I’m going on retreat!  

 

Cotton Cuts April 2018

I've been fighting off a mild cold for several days, and when I went out of town for a work trip and stayed in a hotel room overnight Monday (and had a 12-hour round-trip drive to get there and back to boot), my mild cold wandered merrily down the path into borderline-bad-cold-land. I can function, but I look terrible, I'm coughing, and I don't have much of a voice. So instead of posting an unboxing video and seeing/hearing me in all my sick-puppy glory, you're just getting pictures.

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This month's added tchotchke was just a nail file. Meh. I'm not one who gets her jollies from patterned nail files. Still, it's functional and will eventually become handy so there is that.


Here's a gallery of the fabric. None of it entirely thrilled me, but I may use the hummingbird fabric for some sort of little pouch or something. I like hummingbirds. The other fabric will all go in my stash. No immediate inspiration for any of it. Maybe I'm just too sick to be in the mood for fabric. Is that possible?

If you're viewing this in a blog reader, you might have to click through to the actual website to see the gallery. Sorry!

Mojo Monday--Too Much Excitement and a Few More Blocks

Last week I passed my oral review and submitted my final D.Min. thesis so it's just a matter of taking care of a few more bureaucratic details and I'll be graduating! Paperwork aside, I shouldn't have to deal with the thesis anymore, anyway, so it's free and clear for getting down to some serious fabric play!

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However, there was some celebrating to do first. My brother-in-law was in from out of town so we spent a lot of time with family, and due to the timing, it turned into an impromptu celebration of the thesis submission too.  I thought I'd share this pic from one of the family events--this is one of my nieces and her (recently officialized) fiance. He's been part of the family for years but now we can all for-sure commit to him! He's a great guy, so we're thrilled.

I'm sharing this photo with you so you have faces to put together with what will soon become a continuing project you'll be following for awhile. They tell me I have a couple of years before their actual wedding as she's working on her masters in nursing and he's trying to work his way up the ranks of chef-dom. I'm not going to waste the time!

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It was a great celebration but then Auggie threw a monkey wrench in the works by deciding to play with a skunk after we got home later--much later--that night. 

Goofy dog. He's celebrating his first birthday this weekend by making himself as obnoxious as possible. (Puppy brain in adult body. We have another year of this before he starts actually making smarter decisions. But even at that, they're only "smarter" in the range of Golden-dom which is a fairly narrow range.)

I was already pretty wiped out from a long week and a late night and got to spend time giving him peroxide-baking soda-Dawn baths Saturday and Sunday. Three baths later and he's now bearable, but still leaves a bit of a trail of Eau d' Skunk as he walks by. Fortunately the weather turned nice enough that we were able to open windows and try to air things out. Still a little stinky, but livable.

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However, by Sunday afternoon, after church and the third peroxide bath, I was able to sit down and get some more sewing done. I'm now up to about 13 blocks done on the Flying Home quilt (the pattern from Jenny Doan) with the Nest jelly roll. If I recall, I have to do 36 total blocks. They're not hard, but a little pokey. I can only chain-piece about four blocks at a time because I don't want to get mixed up which fabrics I've paired in which blocks. Random is hard. 

I have a quilt retreat coming up on the first weekend of May. I'd really like to have all of these blocks pieced before then, so I can use the larger space at retreat to do layout and piece the top. Other than that, I don't know yet what I'll be bringing to retreat. That's a problem for next weekend!

I'm hoping to get a podcast posted next weekend and I'll be able to give a review of a couple of different tools I've used in doing these, and my opinions about them. I like my episodes to be useful!

Mojo Monday--A Finish (plus one) and A Start

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Sunday turned out to be a very productive day. Although I'd planned on going to church in the morning and running a couple of errands on the way home, Mother Nature intervened. It's not unusual for us to have ice storms in early spring, but they're normally a March event, not a mid-April one. Oh well. We bagged all ideas of driving anywhere and, fortunately, didn't end up losing power either. So I was trapped inside with a working sewing machine. There are far worse fates!

I got a lot of other stuff done first--starting the process of switching from winter to spring/summer wardrobes (despite the ice outside), getting some random shelves cleaned and sorted, organizing some task lists, and the like. 

Saturday, while running errands, I had stopped at a former LQS that had closed and, shortly after closing, had been bought by someone else and turned into a new LQS. They've only been open a couple of weeks and I was curious. They're still largely empty--not a huge stock of fabric yet--but I did like her selections. A little heavy on the children's novelty fabric for the amount of stock she has, in my opinion, but a decent selection of other things. I know her offerings will expand and even out over time so I'm okay with it. I did pick up a few things as I'd definitely like her to stay open. Other than a big ol' can of 505 for some upcoming basting I've got on my schedule, I also picked up Deb Tucker's Wing Clipper ruler, some more mini-clips (have all three sizes now and find uses for all of them!), and the Nest jelly roll, because we all know how I feel about pudgy birds. I had no intention of buying another jelly roll but, again, I want her to stay open. Just doing my part for the local economy.

Pay attention, as part of this purchase becomes relevant again later.


On Friday evening, I had finished hand-sewing the binding down on one of the two baby quilts I have on my UFO challenge list for guild. I can now officially call it a finish. Although, hmmm. Just remembered I think I'm supposed to have labeled it too, which I didn't. Time for a "hand-written with a sharpie" label. 

I did an all-over meander with a medium-gray thread to blend. I'm never positive about how to quilt big panel picture things like this (Take the time to outline everything in the picture? Do big squares to avoid quilting over most of the picture? What?), so I just went for fast and easy. I do like the wrinkly effect it gives, though--makes it look cuddly. 

I started this a month or so before said baby was born. It'll be a gift for her first birthday in May. That's still legit, right? I'm just glad it's complete and off my cutting table!

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Because I finished a UFO, that left my way clear to start a new project. Woo! I spent a few minutes cleaning off the shelves in my cutting table on Sunday, as I was pondering what new project to do. I ran across an old Crafty class project on learning to machine quilt (don't recall which class it was--sorry). I had completely forgotten about this--it's not really a UFO because I never had any intention of actually finishing it. Yesterday, I decided to finish off the edge with a quick zig-zag stitch (no binding) and hang it in my "Rogues Gallery."

I never completed this project because the borders were supposed to have another layer of small circles in the outside ring of the feathers. I did about 4" worth and called it a day. I knew this wasn't something that would ever be displayed in public and I'd learned what I needed to learn. So the zig-zag edging was good enough for horseshoes.

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My Rogues Gallery is a display of my experiments, class projects, and other learning opportunities that aren't good enough for display in any public areas of the house, but serve to remind me of where I've been and where I'd like to go.

The Rogues Gallery is in the hallway leading in to my sewing room/home office. You can't see them from downstairs so it's not really a public display. Once in awhile I'll look at one of them to remind myself of a particular technique I haven't used in awhile. 

And yes, that's Chicken Butt hanging on the lower row towards the end. He's still my favorite. 


So now with a UFO finished and a second sorta-UFO-class-project off my shelf and hung up, I really felt clear to start a new project! The first step is, of course, deciding what to do. I chose to put the Nest jelly roll to work immediately as I'd love to have pudgy birds to curl up with whenever spring does actually arrive. I perused my "2 1/2 strip" playlist on YouTube and came up with this quilt from Jenny Doan. I'm using some tone-on-tone white from my stash, so even though the jelly roll was a stash addition, I'm still making a dent in my actual stash! So...stay tuned!

Wardrobe Wednesday on Thursday

So, yes. My calendar is completely whonked this week. I'm still blaming jet lag and a red-eye. That's my story and sticking to it.

Last week I got a Natalie Attired box, my StitchFix, and a Trunk Club delivery all within the space of a few days. I did record an unboxing and try-on video for the Natalie Attired but didn't get it posted before I left town. I only had time to record the StitchFix unboxing before I got on the plane. I only took a picture of one of the Trunk Club keepers. I managed to get the NA video edited yesterday afternoon but when I uploaded it to YouTube, it said it was too long. No idea why, since it was no longer than others I've posted. And at that point, I decided to bag the whole thing. You're just getting one blog post with a small handful of pictures and that's it. 

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So--Natalie Attired only warranted me one keeper this time around. I debated a couple of the pieces for a long time, but finally decided I didn't love either enough to spend the money on since I have other expenditures on the horizon.

So out of that box, I kept one pair of blue print pants that I immediately packed and wore on my speaking engagement. They're super-comfy, professional-but-fun enough to also wear casually, and were a nice transitional pair for what's supposed to be spring weather but hasn't quite figured it out yet. I wasn't sure when I first pulled them out of the box but absolutely love them! So, this one item definitely made the whole box worth it.

I paired the pants with one of two items I kept from Trunk Club. The knot-front lightweight blue sweater is super-soft and worked perfectly with the pants. Loved this outfit. Again, perfect for the weather at this time of year. I snapped the pick above in the hotel room before starting my second set of presentations on Saturday. I was in this outfit from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. and never once had a yen for being able to change into lounge clothes, they were that comfy! 

The other item I kept from Trunk Club was a light weight duster cardigan but I don't have a pic of it. Sorry. It's an off-white with narrow black stripes so it'll go with a lot of my wardrobe.

I only kept one item from StitchFix as well, but boy was this one a winner! I didn't keep the photo of the outside but I have two pics of what it looks like in use. I had asked for a bag that would be big enough to hold files but still be fairly sleek and stylish. If you recall, Kathryn (my stylist) had sent me one in last month's box that wasn't actually big enough for files, so she tried again. And bang! Hit that nail on the head.

The top pic is from when I first opened it and tested out a file folder in it. 

The second pic is from the airport and you can see how much stuff I'd managed to cram in it. Actually, I'd even taken a couple of things out of it before I took this picture (namely, my large water bottle and my bullet journal). It worked very well for me. A definite win!

There were a couple of other items in this box that I also debated for awhile but, again, decided I didn't love them enough for the expenditure. I'm relatively well set for clothes at the moment--I just need to fill in a couple of minor gaps, so I can be very, very picky.

So there's the report on my style subscription boxes this month: Three boxes, a grand total of about 17 items therein, and I kept one pair of pants, one sweater, one cardigan, and one bag. 

I'll be getting NA and StitchFix again next month (I'm looking for outfits for graduation--woo!) but I've put Trunk Club on a three month delay so you won't be hearing about that one again for awhile.

Here's my StitchFix referral link.

Here's my Natalie Attired referral link. (Thanks to a reader who gave me a credit for this box! Much appreciated!)

Here's my Trunk Club referral link

Thanks to anyone who chooses to use any of them!

 

Making It Monday on Tuesday Phase 2

I got more sewing done! Woot!

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I have now completed the top of the second baby quilt I had as a UFO. This one was a Little Golden Books kit I'd bought at a LQS somewhere in my travels several years ago. They had a sample hanging that I thought was cute, so I picked up their kit for it. 

Not sure why I liked the sample because as I've been making this one, I've not been particularly jazzed by it. I think I got sucked in by the fact that Poky Little Puppy was one of my favorite stories as a little kid.

As I've thought about it, I've come to the conclusion that my lack-of-liking of the quilt comes down to two things:

1. A lack of real contrast, other than in the puppies themselves.

2. The green blocks are just way too overpowering, especially with using the same fabric in the borders. 

I'm supposed to also use the same fabric for binding, and probably will at this point even though I'd prefer not to. I already have those strips cut, and there wasn't enough red in the kit to use it as binding instead, and I no longer have any similar reds in my stash. So, in the grand scheme of "get 'er done," I'm going to get over myself about it and just do what I'm told.

If I weren't being lazy and just whipping together a fast kit using their pattern--if I were actually thinking this through and doing something that would float my boat more--I probably would've used smaller blocks in general, I wouldn't have used the dark green in the pieced block, and I'm not sure I'd have used that sort of muddy gold color at all. I know it's meant to pick up the gold from the puppies but it's just a nasty color IMHO.

This is going to be a baby quilt for a little boy who will likely do all sorts of equally nasty stuff to it in his lifetime so I'm not sweating it. I'm giving the family a copy of Poky Little Puppy with the quilt so it'll be an all-over cute gift, even if I don't love the quilt itself. 

I'm just going to meander-quilt it--doing cute little doggie prints would take longer than I'm willing to invest in this, I think. I have that on the docket for this coming weekend.

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Question from a reader: Does anyone have about a half yard or so of the fabric that looks like the inside of the Little Golden Book that they'd be willing to sell off or pass along? 

She asked me if I had any left and I don't, unfortunately. The kit gave you just enough and no more. 

Let me know if you've got some and I'll pass along your name to the reader who's asking!

Making it Monday on Tuesday

  How I get 'em...

How I get 'em...

I was out of town from Thursday through Monday morning around 10a, having taken a red-eye flight back from my work trip on the West coast. Therefore, Monday was a total loss. Well, not total. I did a couple of "mindsweeps" for work and home and got a bunch of tasks plunked into my list for the next few weeks. So there is that. 

Today, however, although still pretty fried (as of this writing in the afternoon I'm still debating if I'm up to going to my guild meeting tonight), I did get some necessary errands run and I unpacked. After that, I figure anything else I actually get done is gravy. I got my Cotton Cuts Puzzle Mystery block of the month in today's mail and, since those aren't overly challenging, decided to stick to my "get it done immediately" record from the last two weeks. And sure 'nuff, an hour later I had the blocks done. The only unsewing I had to do was when I ran out of bobbin thread halfway through a piece. Given how exhausted I am, I consider that a serious win.

  Completed blocks

Completed blocks

To recap: This is Cotton Cut's Puzzle Mystery Block of the Month, and I'm doing the Portofino Colorway. I'm part of the Facebook group for this mystery quilt and it's wonderful to see all the different colorways (I almost jumped on the bandwagon to do a second one once I saw some of the other fabrics being used, but sanity won the day). It's also available as a large or small size--I'm doing the small, if I recall, and it's a throw size. But the blocks aren't identical between the two sizes so I can't wait to see the difference in the two quilts once they're put together. 

This BOM is already closed, although they do suggest you can email them (email address is at the link I've given above) to find out if there are still any available in any of the colorways. Sign-up for their fall quilt opens on May 25, and the first block ships in July. I'm already pretty sure I'll be signing up for that one--I've been averaging about an hour a month putting these blocks together so it's extremely do-able, no matter how busy I get!

I think I'm going to risk doing a little more sewing. I'll probably last another 15 minutes before the tired-dumb kicks in. Then I'll go back to things that don't involve sharp objects.

Making It Monday--A Near Finish

I finally have a (near) finish to report! 

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Remember this project from my February Sew Sampler? I showed the pieced top done in my March Sew Sampler unboxing video. Now I've got it done, with the exception of hand-tacking some corners on the binding down.

I just did a fast stitch-in-the-ditch quilting on it, because my modus operandi was "have it finished before Easter." Well, then I decided to get all fancy and do a decorative stitch on the machine binding and it took for freakin-ever, plus, for some reason, it wasn't always feeding evenly even though I was using my acufeed walking foot, so the decorative stitch gets whonked in a few places. 

Basically, I'm pretty close to deciding machine bindings just aren't for me. I have yet to have one turn out as nicely as I'd like it, and I've done several. I mostly have problems with the corners so I'm going to hand-stitch them down on this one--the step that didn't end up getting done before Easter so it's on my task list today (Monday). It'll take me all of about 15 minutes to do, but mentally I'm already done with this table runner so it's hard to keep myself focused on the last actual finishing details.

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Meanwhile, getting that project (nearly) done means I can get cracking on one of my UFOs. This baby quilt is under the needle getting quilted today. It was started before she was born, and we're coming right up on her first birthday. I actually hope to get it all the way to the hand-sewing-binding-down-on-the-back stage by the end of the day. 

Just doing an all-over meander stitch. This time, no fancy-schmancy decorative stuff that'll slow me down. Baby quilts get spit up on and all sorts of other stuff so my modus operandi on this one is just "get 'er done."

First, I have to finish cleaning the kitchen from Easter dinner. Then practice my flute. Then get to quilting! I'm a work-first-play-later kind of girl...

Wardrobe Wednesday--Natalie Attired Unboxing

As I said when I did my Stitch Fix unboxing video, I knew I'd be getting a Natalie Attired box fairly soon. I actually got it on Monday. I recorded this video on Monday but I'm just getting it uploaded today. See below the video for the "end of the story" before you answer the question I ask in the video. :-)

So, the end of the story is...I didn't end up keeping anything. I wasn't in love with the blue gingham checked blouse. I liked it, but I didn't love it. So I decided that meant it should go back. I am being very picky these days.

Because I didn't keep anything this time, I went ahead and scheduled myself for another Natalie Attired at the beginning of April, and I'll be getting a Stitch Fix around then as well. I have several work events in April and May so I've asked for the types of things I'd be looking to wear at those events. We'll see how it goes!

If you're interested in Natalie Attired yourself, here's a link! (And yes, it's a referral link--thank you!)

Mojo Monday—EQ8 Update

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I could’ve done some sewing on Sunday. I spent a couple of hours on my thesis after church and still had free time in the afternoon, but that hour clock change hit me like a ton of bricks. I was yawning all through church (which is tricky now that I’m singing in the choir!) and by the time I was done with my thesis I was definitely dragging. I tried to take a short nap to see if I could regroup, but it only marginally helped.

So, instead of sewing and risking messing something up, I just played with EQ8.  

Mostly, I decided to work on my fabric libraries. Several years ago I had scanned a bunch of my stash fabrics to include in my EQ fabric library (I think it may have been when I first bought 7 but don’t recall). I wanted to move those into EQ8, plus the Stash collections I had purchased back then as well. I figured out how to do that and then downloaded some freebie fabric collection images from Moda and added those to libraries too. 

Then I treated myself to a couple of EQ8 add-ons. I had Kimberly Einmo’s Jelly Roll Quilt Magic for EQ7, so that’s reinstalled for 8 now. Yesterday, I added her other two EQ programs, Jelly Roll Quilts & More and  Clever Combo Quilts. And then I just played with pulling some of her designs into EQ and coloring them with fabrics from the libraries I’d built.

I’ve got some free evenings this week so once I’ve caught up on my sleep, I plan on actually powering up my sewing machine.