July 29, 2013

Another Finish!

Hooray for another finished quilt!
finished Blogger's BOM quilt
This one is my "Blogger's Block of the Month" quilt, begun in the fall of 2011. I wasn't able to stay current with all the months, but of the three (!) BOMs I started at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012, this is the only one I mostly kept up with. I'd like to say that I've learned from this experience: either keep it to one BOM at a time or don't sign up for things with a specific schedule. The latter seems unreasonable and the former seems unlikely. Oh well.
finished Blogger's BOM quilt
The fabrics in the top are mostly from a fat quarter bundle of "In the King's Garden" (I think) from In the Beginning from 2004-ish. The white is from 2002ish, but the designer's name wasn't printed in the selvage so I haven't a clue. The backing is a more recent fabric, Salt Air, and the binding is Groovin'. I got both of those from Stash.

I'm actually kind of nervous about letting this quilt loose for general use. All that white! I wanted to do the top of this quilt all from my personal fabric collection, and the white was what I had on hand. Perhaps this means I should find a favorite neutral and stockpile that for future projects. I know lots of people love Kona Snow, but it's too close to white for me, I think. Recommendations? Gray? Cream? Beige?

The most exciting part of this finish is the quilting. See, I have this bizarre notion that if I send a quilt out for someone else to quilt, I can't say "I made this quilt." Sure, I made the top, I probably bound it, but I didn't make the whole thing. I realize that lots of people send their quilts for professional quilting and I don't think any less of them for it - it just isn't anything I can do for myself. I've wrestled all my quilts to-date through my faithful Bernina. We don't do fancy patterns but straight lines and loops come out pretty well.
finished Blogger's BOM quilt
But now, I've met Marissa. And she has a long arm machine (which, now that I've seen one in person, I can say, yes, definitely, they are about the size of a car). Even better than that, she's graciously agreed to not only show me how it's done but generously allowed me to drive the machine myself. So this quilt is my first long-armed quilt. And I can still say, "I made it myself." Thanks, Marissa! This makes me so happy!

July 24, 2013

A little Christmas in July

Over at Stash, we're attempting to sell down leftovers from last December with a Christmas in July event. (Unfortunately, Stash's online store has been closed down for logistical reasons - if you're interested in any of the fabric, email me and I'll figure something out.) Everyone was supposed to make a little something to showcase the fabrics. I made drawstring bags, because, well, that's what I do.
Christmas themed bags
The fabric is Dear Mr. Claus by Cosmo Cricket for Moda. It's got a retro feel to it, with this apple-cheeked whistling Santa and the tiny snowflakes. It's a sizable collection, with a lot of bolts in the shop. I only used four prints for these bags, and I made them all the same (except for the sizes), so perhaps it wasn't the best way to show off the fabric. I guess that's what happens when you decide to have a sale at the last minute!
Christmas themed bags
This is my favorite photo of this batch of bags. I should remember this view for next time...

Stash staff also made up quilt blocks in fabrics from Kate Spain's Joy line (also from Moda). This one is mine:
Blackford Beauty Block
I wrote up a tutorial for putting this block together. I'll post it here in August, probably, after it's been up at the Stash site for a while. It's not a hard block, really, just a little fiddly.

I can't say that working with Christmasy fabric has helped convince me that it's not hot and sunny outside, though. It's still summer here. Working on my veggie quilt would be somewhat more appropriate, if only the real veggies didn't need me quite so much!

July 18, 2013

Tango with the White Cat

Back at the beginning of June (yesterday, right?) Caitlyn's participated in Spectrum's All-School Demonstration performance. Her Ballet 1 class danced to tango music.
Caitlyn on stage
All the other pictures have other kids in them, so you'll have to enjoy just this one. Sadly you can't see the sequins all over the front of her leotard, the detail she loved best about the performance. After her class, in the weeks leading up to the performance, this was the detail she'd talk about the most: the sparkly red leotards, the shiny red satin shirt for the one boy in the class, the red flower in her hair, the black hat for the boy. Dance-shmance, bring on the costumes!

This led to numerous discussions about whether she liked ballet class and what she liked about it. Eventually, Caitlyn decided that this would be her last ballet performance for the foreseeable future. Time to try something else... like theatre!

I had very specific requirements in mind when I went searching for a theatre program for her. It needed to be inclusive (no auditions yet!) and culminate in a performance of some sort. Reasonably priced and reasonably close got bonus points. I'm so pleased with what I found, a "performance series" at Youth Theatre Northwest: Three weeks of full-day "camp" with a three-show performance run at the end. Caitlyn came home on Day One with a 48 page script and a role assignment. There were lines to learn, blocking to work out, costumes to design and sets to build. The kids did everything.
Caitlyn the White Cat
The play, Under the Hulder's Spell, was written specifically for YTN's performance series and tells of the rescue of a sister stolen by the fae ("the Hulder"). Caitlyn was the White Cat (Who Is Really An Enchanted Princess) and she loved her white headdress and long tail. My favorites of her lines: "And I'm totally not picturing you wrapped in a piece of liver right now," and "Remember, if you don't vote, you can't complain."

Caitlyn loved the whole experience (and especially her instructor, Amy), always eager to arrive and enthusiastic about the day when I came to pick her up.She nailed her lines each of the three performances, looking out into the audience and speaking up every time.
after Opening Night
Guess who's insanely proud?

July 15, 2013

Summer Journal: Berry Picking, Part One

It's not like I need the strawberries. I grew lots this spring and I still have leftovers from last year in the freezer, waiting for me to have two spare minutes to rub together long enough to make jam. But at this point it's tradition. Caitlyn and I join some friends, we drive up to Skagit Valley, we pick too many berries and we finish with fresh strawberry milkshakes.

This year, our late-June was packed. We didn't make it up to the berry farm until after July 4th, only to discover that the strawberries were done. Spring was gorgeous here this year and then there was the heat wave a week or so ago. Sometimes the strawberries last into July, but not this year.

On the plus side, there were raspberries and tayberries and marionberries for the picking. We may have missed the strawberries, but we still got to make our way down berry aisles, eating as we picked. Even the baby's hands are stained with juice.
berry hands
So it was a win of an outing. And there were still milkshakes.

July 09, 2013

Tardy Bee Blocks

Ah, summer! That time of year when we manically swing between "It's lovely and gorgeous, let's be outside!" and "It's hot and miserable, when will it rain?" The season for overcommiting and taking on just one more thing, trying to shove ever more activities in the every shrinking temporal space.
Sew.Quilt.Give. blocks for June
I finished and got the June blocks for Sew.Quilt.Give. into the mail at literally the last minute. We used this tutorial from Film in the Fridge. Easy blocks, which is good since I apparently am overbooked this season. The fabrics all came out of the scrap bin. I see the cuffs of Caitlyn's shorts, her new red tunic, the accent on her backpack, a drawstring bag, a veggie themed quilt and a just-finished quilt (post coming soon!)

I thought my white background fabric was a little on the thin side so I doubled up there. Maybe I'm obsessing too much, but there you have it. This is what happens when you tell me "stash-bust". Not that there's a whole lot of stashbusting that happens when you make up four 6x9 blocks.

I'm not sure I would have picked out this style of block or quilt on my own. That's the beauty of bees, I guess - the opportunity to try something you might not have gone for and maybe find a new favorite. Really looking forward to seeing the final quilt for these blocks!