Little Quilt Distractions

Truth:

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I sent out my novel.  Now to wait patiently as three friends read it, make notes and get back to me…. Do I even have patience?  I’m thinking not.

I promised myself not to open or edit the file until I hear back from them.  Turns out giving myself such a rule is a GREAT way to make all sorts of ideas on improvements, edits, and changes pop into my head.  Can you hear the sarcasm there?  Well, it’s thick my friends.  It’s NOT great.  Between insecurities about the whole thing, remains the fear I left out something crucial to the story or how I could have made something better before letting anyone read it.  What if it doesn’t make any sense?  Do I need a better scene there?  Less dialogue there?  More backstory?  Agghhhh!!!

Distractions.  I need distractions!  Quilting to the rescue!!  Two dear friends have or are having new little ones so I’ve been working on some carseat quilts for them.  I found the idea for these over at the Moda Bake Shop blog.  I first made one (following this pattern) over a year ago — no photo of that one  — and it turned out so cute!!  Since then I’ve been making different designs for the quilt top.

Here’s one I made for my new little nephew back in September.  I just used a 5″ square charm pack with all sorts of fun sports prints.  I had enough charms left to put an offset strip down the back and make a burp cloth to match.IMG_5109.JPG

These little quilts are so fun!  I can be totally creative.  The newest quilts were made with a 10″ layer cake in sock monkey theme!  There were boyish and girly prints in the pack so it worked out well since I needed one of each.  (Girly print one to be seen later after it’s been gifted.)

I sewed the squares together and cut them into half-square triangles then arranged them into two different patterns.

Here’s the boy print one for little Rhett:

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I am so excited because I found a new way to do the binding that hides all the ugly first round of stitching!  The binding turned out nice on BOTH sides — that’s never happened before!

For the quilting part I just did a simple grid pattern following the main diagonals.

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Here’s the back.  It’s kinda plain, but the gray shows off the quilting nicely.

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And here’s a closeup of the label.  These were taken pre-wash so the pencil is a little visible.

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I’ll finish up the girly one soon.  Once I gift it I’ll post some photos 🙂

 

Writing through the holidays

Small house = sewing machine and all notions must be put away out of sight until people aren’t in and out for parties and dinners.  So over the holidays I focused on my writing and took some time away from sewing and quilting.

At this point in my novel (65K words) I’m doing a lot more adjusting than I am actual typing.  My family probably thinks I’m nuts.  I just stare at my computer for what seems like hours, barely touching the keys.

In fact at one point the word count decreased from 64K down to 62K in a day, but then I decided someone needed a luxury vacation to Grand Cayman, the characters, not me.  Then I rewrote the entire ending.  That was a fun day of “Oh crap! Did I just make the biggest mistake ever?!”  It took me about two weeks to be okay then finally happy with the new ending.  The old one is still tucked away safely if I ever decide to go back.

This is the not-so-fun part of writing.  The part I’ve gotten stuck on before and junked the whole thing.  You see I have this goal in my brain of 100K words.  Publishers don’t usually take smaller submissions unless you are an established author writing a novella (aka mini novel) as a teaser or something for your upcoming full length novel. Ha!  I haven’t even been published.

So I have this goal in my brain and for some reason I get stuck around 60-70 thousand words and can’t move on.  This story is framed from beginning to end — YES I have an ending (first time ever!), but there’s still stuff missing.  Problem: I’ve read it so many times I don’t know what else it needs.

Also for the first time ever I’m sending this baby out to a few friends for some constructive I’ll-be-in-the-corner-in-a-ball-waiting-for-them-to-hate-it criticism.  (I admittedly have confidence issues with my writing)  When am I sending it?  They are asking the same thing.  When I’m sure there aren’t any huge what-the-heck-just-happened holes in the story.  So I’m publicly making it known I will send the two-thirds done novel out this week.  I’m never gonna know until I jump!

Here’s proof I can put myself out there a little.  The first few paragraphs and my current word count 🙂

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A little pre-Christmas project

I was chatting Christmas projects with my mom-in-law this past week. I was telling her my plan for some little gifts I plan to make. She mentioned a pattern she’d sewn back in the day that was easy and quick. 

After searching for the directions and the pattern I thought it would be fun to try it. 

Yesterday I pulled out some cute Christmas plaid and got to work. 

Five hours later… I decided these must get faster with practice. I drew out the pattern, cut out all six tree shapes, sewed them together in pairs, ironed them, sewed them together and started stuffing. Then I had to patch the seems that popped (oops!)  The stuffing took me as long as all the cutting and sewing combined. 

But once I got the branches stuffed I had some help from Lu Lu 🙂  

  The whole thing turned out pretty cute though I think I’ll add some tiny bells or balls to the tips of the branches and maybe a star.  

  

I doubt I’ll be making more. It used up my entire stash of stuffing! 

After working all day on it I’m ready to write today!

Lu Lu’s Girl Crazy Quilt

Lu Lu has seen me working on her big brother’s quilts for ages now. I had planned on waiting to make her a quilt until she was a little older, in her own room maybe (and not sharing with her 3 brothers), but when Booger recently got to put his newly finished quilt on his bed, she was in awe.

I heard those little words. “Can I have a quilt, Mommy?”

Um… of course. Why not? I can always make her another when her tastes change, you know like three seconds years from now.

So I started checking out all the adorable fabric lines for girls. Let me tell you this: there are about 500x more girl fabric lines than boys. Choosing “S’More Love” for the boys’ quilts was a piece of cake. Lu Lu’s final choice took much more.

I asked her what colors she wanted in her quilt (challenge #1). I thought for sure her favorite color (purple) would be the first thing she listed. Nope. I even double checked and she said no.

Pink
Blue (light blue, not dark blue)
Yellow
maybe Green

Ok. Thank you Little Miss 3 year old color expert.

My next challenge was letting her choose which fabric line she liked (from my top 3-4 favorites). I made a pinboard on Pinterest with swatch sheets from about 10 different lines from owls to castles. I narrowed those down to those with the colors she rattled off which was not easy despite the seemingly endless fabric lines to choose from.

Once she decided on which one she liked I double and triple checked to be sure that was the line she wanted. I could just see my ordering it and she’d change her mind, or worse still I’d be half way or almost done with the whole thing and she’d say she didn’t like it. I probably won’t ever say this again, but I love how she wasn’t wishy washy.

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From there I decided on a pattern. Again I asked her what shape she’d like (all the while praying she wouldn’t want hers to be the same pattern as her brothers’) and she pops out with “triangles”.

Whew! I wouldn’t have to repeat that design again just yet. Wait, triangles?! Oh geez! Up to that point I’d only tried triangles on some quilted pot-holders for a friend and they turned out a mess. Well, only I thought so, but still I like the points to match and they hadn’t.

So to save myself some time and headache of a bazillion half square triangles to deal with I decided to grab a Layer Cake (10″ squares) of the line Lu Lu chose – “Girl Crazy” by design by dani for Riley Blake Fabrics – and do large half square triangles (two from square). I actually needed 2 Layer Cakes for this since I didn’t want to do any borders.

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She was pleased from the moment it came in the mail. She flipped through each fabric and loved the “pink pokey dots” so I snagged some yardage for the back.

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Aside from avoiding the horror of two of the same print or color touching in the random-but-not-random pattern this quilt was easy.

When the top was finished Lu Lu thought it was ready for her to use. I had a hard time keeping her off while I basted it.

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For the quilting I did a simple diagonal stitch on either side of the main squares then shifted in a few inches to create the illusion of smaller squares.

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And I chose a medium gray for the binding and label. I did the label by hand in cursive – a little challenge for my novice embroidery skills.

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When I washed it and surprised her with it, she squealed “Thank you mommy!  You are the best mommy ever!  It’s beautiful!”

All effort paled in comparison to her joy and gratitude.  She’s worth every stitch.

S’More Love Series Quilts (Part 2)

Poor Booger…

Nearly two years ago I started the first in my quest to make all 3 of my boys matching (nearly) quilts. Lemur liked the first backing I chose and Booger didn’t so he would have to wait for the second quilt.

Bless his patient little heart. Well, not-so-patient at times, but I can’t really blame the kid. I had the top pieced and the layers basted almost a year ago. I can claim some grace since I had a new baby and all, but the procrastination had to stop.

So I pulled it out, laid it on the back of our couch in plain view, determined to finish it for him. And I did, eventually.

So a year in the making, Booger now has his very own S’More Love quilt.

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Here’s a closer shot of the quilt pattern.

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(Drewdle decided he had to help me take the photo and slipped his little hand in there)

Check out my post here for some more photos of Quilt #1 in this series.

Booger chose the cream background with green and orange fish. He also decided he’d like “Evergreen” for his front border. Very good choices. It turned out great!

I’ve also taken to putting a hand embroidered label on the the back of the quilts I make. Not too shabby given my skills with a needle are sadly lacking which is also ironic since I’m writing a sewing blog. Usually if I can’t sew it on my machine it doesn’t happen, but these little labels have turned out pretty well.

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You will not be seeing Quilt #3 any time soon. Drewdle is still way too young for me to think about putting him in a twin bed, we don’t have the room for it yet AND I’m nearly sick of this pattern. I am sad any future boys we may have will not have a matching quilt as S’More Love has been discontinued and I can’t find the Jelly Rolls anymore. I suppose if the time ever comes I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

S’More Love Series Quilts (Part 1)

Just FYI I’m hopping back in time (to 2013-14) to tell you about the first larger quilt I made (larger than a lap size). I decided to undertake making a quilt for each of my kiddos. At the time I was expecting #4 and knew he would be a boy. God-willing the three boys will share a room when we buy or build a bigger house — for now all 4 kids share a room, but that is a post for another day.

So three boys and a girl who need quilts….

I combed through zillions of fabric lines to find the one I wanted and finally settled on “S’More Love” by Eric & Julie Comstock for Moda fabrics. Here’s the swatch sheet:

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Adorable right? Fun, bright and very boyish! At the time my older boys were joining Trail Life USA so the camping theme in “S’More Love” was perfect.

I purchased 3 Jelly Rolls (42″ x 2.5″ strips) of the fabric line and I bought the backing fabric for the first quilt. Lemur decided he liked this back, Booger passed and said he’d take the 2nd quilt with a different back. He’s told me several times since he wished he’d taken the first one since I took so long completing his (sorry kid, I had a newborn…)

So I started planning, cutting and sewing. Here’s what I came up with for the quilt pattern:

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I found the idea for this pattern from Pinterest on a quilt called “Field of Flowers”. It basically uses 5 strips in a 10″ block in an alternating hatch pattern.

Each quilt for each boy would have different fish background and a different front border color. #1 had the brown orange and teal fish so I went with teal blue for the front border.

For the quilting I decided on a free motion wave pattern that would follow the direction of the strips in each block.

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In the border I tried my hand at free motion quilting a meandering pattern with leaves thrown in. It looks complicated, but it was actually easier than the triangles. Go figure.

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(pre-washed photo)

The brown offsetting triangles gave me some fits at first. Let me tell you, free motion quilting a triangle is NOT easy. Its not too shabby for my first go.

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(post-wash)

As a whole the quilt turned out great. Lemur loved having something new and being the first to get a quilt made by mommy. I do have a label for it, but I haven’t set aside time to pick out part of the binding and put it in.