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Anna’s 18th Birthday Quilt

It always sucks a little when one of your kids birthdays falls during lean times. It’s even worse when it’s a milestone birthday. With my husband not working and our income significantly lowered, we couldn’t afford to have a party or big gift for our daughter, Anna’s 18th birthday. It was time to get creative. It actually reminded me a lot of her first birthday. Fresh out of college with a baby, we struggled to make ends meet. For months leading up to her birthday I would buy a ball of cotton yarn on pay day and crocheted her a blanket. Because I added to it so slowly, the dye lots didn’t match, but it didn’t matter. That blanket went everywhere with her for years. Earlier this summer, every time she would catch me sewing (mostly bee blocks), she would ask when I was going to make her a quilt. I finally answered one day that I’d have it done by the time she graduated (next May) and she gave me a dejected “oh” and stopped asking.

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Back when I started sewing I participated in a Denyse Schmidt charm swap sponsored by Jill at Made with Moxie. I had two slots and cut into them right away to make some hexies. Anna in particular liked her fabrics, so I set the rest aside thinking I’d incorporate them in a project for her. Over time I added in 2 1/2′, 4 1/2″ and 6 1/2″ squares of Flea Market Fancy, Chicopee and several ds Quilts fabrics form Joann’s, with the intention of making a Magic Numbers Quilt for. So with nine days before her birthday, I decided that I would surprise her with a quilt. A queen size quilt. Once I realized how many blocks I would need I decided to add in some 12 1/2″ blocks too, to break everything up a bit. Two days later, I had this…

66099_10200899800269507_498236608_n Then came the big challenge…How to quilt it. Not only was I concerned about my ability to wrangle such a big quilt through my home machine, but I also wanted to double up on the batting, since she had asked for a heavy quilt. I have fibromyalgia, so I knew even if I were  to take it slow, it was going to be a stretch to get it done in time. With that in mind, I posted to my quilt group on Facebook asking for advice. The most incredible thing happened. The lovely Tara Evans, director of Golden Threads Quilt Club, offered to long-arm in exchange for a lap quilt to donate to a local Senior. Tara really connected with wanting to help me provide a meaningful gift for my daughter’s birthday and finished the quilting the same day I dropped it off.

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Since everything for this quilt had to come from stash, I used a backing I had originally intended for a different quilt and bound it in my favorite Chicopee plaid. Despite not “matching” any of the purples on the front of the quilt, I don’t think I could have planned a more perfect fabric. It had the depth needed to hold it’s own with the front of the quilt.

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The night before her birthday, I spent six hours hand sewing the binding to the back. As many different machine binding methods I’ve tried, nothing will ever beat the crisp clean look of a hand sewn binding in my mind. l especially love the perfect corners.

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I don’t know who was more excited for her birthday, her or me. I gave it to her within moments of her getting up and she wrapped herself up in it right away.

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Anna’s 18th Birthday Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Magic Numbers
Fabric: Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy,
Chicopee and ds Quilts prints
Back: 108″ wide purple blender
Binding: Simple Plaid in Charcoal
Finished Size: 90″ X 99″
Finished Date: August 2013

DSC_0923 DSC_0934Linking up to Finish It Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Check back tomorrow to see the finished quilt I made for Golden Threads!

Festival of Strings

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When I saw that Rachel of Stitched in Color was doing another scrap challenge this year, I had to join in. This year it was all about string scraps, so I pulled out my pile of string blocks made from Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I made these in batches and after each batch I laid them out to see what colors were missing, then threw new fabrics in my string pile. It was fun to grab and sew without much thought. With that in mind, I decided to sew them together in whatever arrangement they happened to land in. Normally I would spend hours shuffling blocks around, so I was surprised that I was just as happy with my final layout without spending all that time. In addition to all the Flea Market Fancy prints, I have quite a few from her ds Quilts line, a handful of Chicopee, Kona solids and Michael Miller Ta Dots. In a nod to the quilts in her Modern Quilts Traditional Interpretation, I replaced some of the Ash I used as the center strip with grey print fabrics in a few of the blocks in the lower right hand corner. I had hoped to have this quilted up in time for link-up, but decided to do something a little different for the back. Hopefully, I will have a finished quilt within the next couple of weeks.

Linking up to Festival of Strings
and WIP Wednesday

WIP 1.23.13: Waaa Waaa Waaa…

I had grand plans for this week. Which is why it should come as no surprise that I haven’t been able to sit at my machine since I finished up my bee blocks. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia over 15 years ago. I’ve learned how to manage it fairly well, but every once and awhile I have a rough spot. This particular flare-up included back pain, so as much as I wanted to, it just wasn’t worth it to make it worse by sewing. At the same time, it’s impossible for me to keep my hands still. Ever since I was little, I have to be doing something with my hands to sit still and relax…from shuffling cards, pushing buttons on a mindless game or in more recent cases… SEWING HEXIES!

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I have multiple hexie quilts going and this week I decided it was time to catch up on my charm quilt. I  have been making a 1″ hexie out of every piece of fabric that comes my way. Whether a charm pack, charm swap, bundle, or individual prints, one of the first things I do is cut myself a 2 1/2″ square and toss it into a bin. Every once and awhile I try to get caught up. On the left, are my finished ones for the week and on the right, are the ones waiting to be basted.

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It’s been awhile since I dumped them all out, so I took this chance to grab a picture of the lot of them. I didn’t have quite enough energy to try a new layout, but I did take some time to count them before I put them away.

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Each stack above is 20 hexies for 927 total. I’m pretty sure once the ones at top are done I’ll be over 1000. I have no idea how many I need to make a finished quilt, but I think it’s time to decide on a design and start sewing these suckers together.

Linking up…

WIP Wednesday

2013 ~ WIP List & FAL Q1

It’s time to take stock of my sewing projects. I had joined in on the last FAL of 2012, but didn’t get my finishes submitted in time. I am following Rhonda’s lead at Quilter in the Gap and made myself a handy chart to list my projects and track my progress. I had to do some digging to capture pictures of them all. Unfortunately I can’t figure out how to insert it in my post. It’s a good thing I made it none the less. It’s so easy to have a new idea and work on it through the initial steps. But I’m finding that if I set it aside to start on a new idea, it becomes harder to go back to, because the shine is off the penny. What seemed so fresh and exciting becomes lessened by the newer projects catching my fancy. It’s not only a matter of choosing to work exclusively from my current list, but also of not actively thinking about new projects or browsing new fabrics. It sounds counter-intuitive, given that I do this so I can explore my creativity, but it is also about engaging deeply with the process. I find that if I slow down, I work in more thoughtful ways and also get to enjoy the sense of completion. I am a new enough quilter that I’m still in love with all my ideas and projects. I want to keep working on them so my WIP’s don’t become UFO’s.

That doesn’t mean there will be nothing new for me in 2013. I find that Bees and BOM’s offer a great opportunity to spur on creativity. I am especially enjoying working in other people’s palettes and seeing color in new ways. I’ve found myself active in several, so I should have no problem finding monthly opportunities to try new things.

Monthly Bees & BOM’s
1. Empower at do.Good Stitches
2. Color Bee Shocked
3. 3 X 6 Bee – Currently finishing up rounds in paper-piecing and sampler hives
4. 4 X 5 Modern Quilt Bee – Currently starting a round in paper-piecing
5. Lucky Stars BOM – I will be making them in the same palette as my practice blocks
6. Gen X & Aurifil BOM‘s – I will be picking and choosing from both of these in Terrain from stash

Quilts In Process (FAL Q1 Eligible in Bold)
1. Hexie Charm – 650+ charms complete
DSC_04512. Grandmother’s Flower Garden – Approx. 75 flowers complete
DSC_04523. Terrain Stairway to Heaven – Ready to baste
DSC_08854. DS String – 24 blocks done, needs 6 more
DSC_04455. Cate’s Granny – 24 blocks done, needs layout decision
6. Ava’s Granny – 24 blocks done, needs layout decision
DSC_04487. Cate’s Weighted Blanket – Top pieced, back & binding done, needs inner portion
DSC_09938. Black HST – Ready to Trim
DSC_04579. Log Mansion – QAYG Blocks Complete, needs assembled
DSC_010810. Birds and the Bees Dream Weaver – Top Complete, Back ready to piece
DSC_009211. Madrona Road Giant Star with Charcoal – Star complete, needs borders
12. Madrona Road Giant Star with White – Star complete, ready to baste
These are also my January Goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes
DSC_044213. DS Magic Numbers – Pieces cut
DSC_045914 Reunion at Grannies – Pieces cut
DSC_045615. Many Trips Around the World – Pieces cut
DSC_0458 (2)16. Girls I-Spy Patchwork – Pieces cut
DSC_045517. Flower Fairy’s in Megan’s Star – Ready to cut
18. Tradewinds Pinwheel – Ready to cut
19. Simply Color Woven – Ready to cut
20. d.GS Trips – 6 blocks in, waiting for remaining
DSC_044421. Practice Blocks and Lucky Star BOM – 6 blocks complete, need 18 more
DSC_044722. GenX & Aurifil BOM in Terrain – Ready to begin
23. Scrappy Swoon-Along (yellow & green) – Pieces in process of being cut
24. Scrappy Swoon-Along (aqua & orange) – Fabrics selected
25. Rosalie in Cuzco – Ready to cut
26. Shoeman’s Puzzle – Ready to cut

Small Projects (FAL Q1 Eligible in Bold)
1. Stairway to Heaven Pillow – Top complete, ready to quilt
DSC_09962. Joy Table Runner – 40 blocks complete, need 10 more
DSC_04533. Madrona Road MQG Challenge – In process
DSC_04434. Gabe’s Minky Blanket – In process
5. 3 Play Doll Blankets for Girls – Blocks complete, ready to be assembled
DSC_04545. Lego Mat – Ready to cut
6. Drawstring Bags – Ready to cut
7. Coin purses – Supplies assembled
8. Quilted Tote
9. Journal Covers
10. Pot Holders

I can’t believe I was able to find pictures for all but two. I’ll insert the others once I get them photographed!

Linking up to…
2013 FAL Q1 at She Can Quilt
Let’s Get Acquainted Monday Link-Up at Plum and June

Today is a Special Day

I know that most people don’t like reading overly personal stuff on quilting blogs, but today there is only one thing on my mind. Eight years ago, shortly before her first birthday, my daughter received a second chance at life. A family, unknown to us, lost their child that day and made the courageous decision to donate his/her organs. Elena, having lived in a hospital her entire life without family, was life flighted to Nebraska with a caseworker to receive the liver. A few weeks later she celebrated her first birthday and the resulting newspaper story about “A Christmas Angel” would catch my husband’s eye. We met her on Christmas Eve and spent Christmas Day with her in the hospital. Eventually we became her foster family and saw her through a harrowing four month recovery period at the hospital. Finally, at 16 months, she was permanently released from the hospital. At that point she had undergone 20 surgeries and countless procedures. While she would be in and out of the hospital for a couple of more years due to her short bowel syndrome, we were finally able to start the work of teaching her what it meant to live in a family. At 4 1/2 we had the great joy of finalizing her adoption and officially became her forever family.

I tried to write out some of my feelings surrounding this day, but it’s impossible to put into words. In fact, a large reason that I sew is to give myself the time to process all those feelings on a daily basis. The magnitude of challenges we’ve faced have ranged from stabilizing her medically to teaching her to eat, from helping her to acclimate to life outside the hospital to overcoming severe physical delays, from struggling with attachment issues to the past 18 months of intense therapy to deal with her medical trauma and severe PTSD. There have been many days and countless sleepless nights of worry that we could never adequately meet her needs. And yet, there has been progress, amazing mind-boggling progress. For the first time, I am able to imagine a future for her where she is emotionally healthy and that is a testament to her own inner strength and resiliency.

It is a great honor and privilege to be Elena’s mom. Today and every day, I am deeply grateful for the family who gave her this opportunity to know what it is to be loved and be a part of a family. To all organ donors and families who have made the difficult decision to donate their loved ones organs, I thank you. And I would like to ask you all to please consider becoming an organ donor and let your loved ones know of your wishes. More information can be found here.

Fresh Sewing Day and Friday Felicities: There’s an end in sight…

We’ve had a rough week around here and we’re expecting company this weekend, so there hasn’t been a lot of time to sew. But then I can’t fall asleep due to the anxious thoughts bouncing around in my head, wonder downstairs to arrange a few things and then think maybe I’ll just piece a little more blue or quilt one more block. Next thing I know my Scrappy Stash QAL blocks are all pieced and half are quilted, including all nine of the big blocks.. I’m still a bit weary, but I think this progress counts as a Friday Felicity.

Blocks 71-80 in blue…

and purple makes 90…

Blue and purple 16″ blocks…

All nine big blocks…

These pictures were taken at night. I had hoped to take a few new ones today, but received a surprise visit from a friend and her one month old. Blogging vs. baby fix? No contest. And for those few hours with her little guy in my arms, all was right in the world, which is the best Friday Felicity of all. Linking up for the first time at Lily’s Quilts for Fresh Sewing Day and Felicity Quilts for Friday Felicities.

Wishing Everyone a Happy Weekend!