Sunday, January 8, 2017

Feather Quilt

Hi there! It's been a while. I suppose it took finishing a quilt to get me back into this space. I felt that this one needed to be documented and well, shown off a bit. It's pretty special. I'd always wanted to make a feather quilt, since Anna Maria Horner released this free pattern a few years ago. I love feathers - symbolic of hope and strength, and each unique in nature. I think this quilt pattern captures that beauty.    

This pattern relies on a range of quilting skills from simple strip piecing to utilizing templates. I thought it would be overwhelming, but I truly enjoyed the variation in the process. It was exciting to see the feathers come together bit by bit. I will say is easier to make a flock of feathers, then just a few! I made 38 feather blocks for this one (twin size from the pattern), then added a ten inch border to all sides to make it big enough to fit on my queen bed. Truth be told, I should've made it a little wider, but in favor of symmetry, which I like, I wanted the borders to be even on all sides.

As the pattern involves strip piecing, I started with a design roll of Honor Roll fabric, also by Anna Maria Horner. I believe I read her once describe this collection as "a riot of color", which is exactly what I wanted for this quilt. For the background I chose a very deep, dark blue, Kona nautical.

One of the fun things about this quilt pattern, is the freedom you have in piecing the strips for the feathers, themselves. To achieve some variation in the width of the strips, I cut some of the design roll strips in half lengthwise. I also added some random widths of solids and strips of a low volume white print (from Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics collection). I think the white was the perfect addition to the patchwork.

But, enough about the fabric. It's the quilting that steals the show, right?!?! I knew once I committed to making this a larger quilt, that I would send it out to be professionally quilted. Thankfully, a local studio, Singing Stitches, came very highly recommended by several quilty friends. And, oh my, I'm so happy to have found Suzan and Mark! Once I spotted this bird design, I knew it was meant to be. The edge to edge quilting makes the quilt look seamless and as if the feathers are floating on top. I'm so, SO happy with it!

I also wanted the quilt backing to be seamless, so I chose this 110" wide sateen backing by Anna Maria Horner. It's silky and lovely. I'm so happy that designers have been releasing wideback fabric - it really makes the process so much easier! The binding is a colorful floral from Mod Corsage, also by Anna Maria Horner. I actually love to use florals for binding quilts. This one in particular gives the edge a watercolor effect that I love.

Yesterday, we had our first snowfall of 2017. It was a beautiful day and although cloudy, the white snow made everything illuminate. I spent some time by the fire, finishing the hand-stitching on the binding then convinced my husband (on his birthday, no less) to rig a line so I could hang the quilt and get good photos outside. It was a bit breezy, so the quilt was blowing and flapping around in the wind. At one point a big gust came through and the whole thing snapped off the cord, floated up in the air and settled in the snow. Just like a feather.  

Along with being meaningful to me, I sort of feel like this quilt is an ode-to-Anna...her pattern, her beautiful, rich, inspiring fabric. It reminds me of where I began with quilting, about 6 years ago. It was the simple beauty of color in her fabric (Good Folks, if you're wondering) that initially drew me in. After that, it was the process of learning and making quilts that full-filled my need to do something meaningful for myself. Over the years, my interest in quilting has waxed and waned at times - often I find myself frustrated and over-inspired and have to step away for a bit...over and over again. In many ways, completing this quilt felt like a full circle journey, bringing me back to a place where I'm ready to start anew, with the simple inspiration of color. Lord knows, there's enough of it in my sewing room. It was grounding and rhythmic and beautiful to create. And, for that I am grateful.      

Friday, September 23, 2016

I think I'll Blog Now

I might reference Forrest Gump more than any other movie in my life. Do you remember that part when he's on this amazing adventure running across the country and suddenly one day he stops, pauses, turns around and says "I think I'll go home now".

That's how I feel about my life, our life, really lately. One big, long run filled with beauty and fun and wonderful people, but also messy days and rain and bumps in the road. In any case, I. am. tired. And, today, I feel like pausing, turning around like Forrest Gump and deciding to spend my days differently. I'm not sure what that entails, but I feel like the arrival of Fall will give me some cues. This morning, I decided a short blog post would do me some good.  

Artifact Uprising was having another 25 free prints sale, which if you have never taken advantage of you absolutely, positively should! The quality of their prints is exceptional and I find it always forces me to sort through my recent life's photos a bit. Of course, last-minute Laurel was up late last night picking out my 25 favorite pictures that encapsulated our summer. Most of them were iphone pics, but I found a few gems that I took with my big camera. It's always, always a good thing to look back at your life and pause to remember how wonderful it's been. I think I'll finish today sharing a few of my favorites. And, no, we, did not get a dog, but met a very sweet one on our trip to the river in June. Happy day, friends. I hope to be back here again soon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

That Pink Tiger Dress

So, alas, I finally sewed up Lyla's "pink tiger dress". It turned out so cute! I decided to try the Roller Skate Dress pattern by Oliver + S. I've always loved the shape of this dress and the cute neckline detail. I'm excited to check another Oliver + S pattern off of my list - they are all so well done and I learn something new from every pattern. 

These tigers are one of my all-time favorite Cotton and Steel prints, from Alexia Abegg's Hatbox collection. I can't seem to stray far from fun prints when I'm making dresses for Lyla. For the neckline detail, I used this Kauffman dot chambray in indigo. I also lined the dress with chambray, but a different one that I don't love quite as much (saving the rest of the dots for another dress).


I sewed Lyla a size 2T, based on her measurements but added about an inch to the length. I'll be honest, I don't love the overall fit of this dress on her. The neckline is a tad big and I found that the dress tends to ride up if she's sitting. Also, I probably didn't need to add the length (it's a bit on the long side), but it will give her lots of room to grow. Maggie used to grow out of things so quickly, that every few months she was changing sizes. I could never keep up! Lyla, on the other hand wears her things forever, especially dresses!

Overall, this was a great pattern to sew! I believe actually that the fit is pretty accurate and this is just the style of the dress. I think if I were to make another roller skate dress, I'd use a more fluid fabric, like double gauze or rayon and/or I'd consider going down a size. The riding up business bugs her a little, but I'm hoping the tigers will win her over and she'll still wear it. In any case, it is a really, darn, cute dress!

It was 70 degrees here yesterday, so we took a walk to the little lake in our neighborhood. Lyla is such a good little hiker and will walk all the way around the lake. She stops to take a break and occasionally asks me to pick her up, but doesn't whine too much when I refuse. I love adventuring with her!

I'm really looking forward to Spring. The days are getting a little longer and brighter down here! Hope you're all enjoying some signs of Spring as well!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February Blues

I really have no business feeling blue this February. It's been a relatively mild winter here. But, it seems there have been more gray days than not, and it's been just cold and dreary enough that I'd rather stay indoors. I'll admit - and this is a tough one for me to admit - I'm getting bored.   

That said, my time at home with Lyla has been so nice recently. She seems to have jumped leaps and bounds with her speech over the past month and it has made a world of difference. She talks, I understand (!), I respond and her face lights up with joy. We're having actual real conversations! 

We've been talking a lot about dresses lately. She loves the dresses I've made her and wears them (plus a couple more I've made over the year) regularly. Seriously, this girl is my biggest handmade supporter. So, of course I've told her I'll make her a new dress (or four). She wants "pink tigers" on her dress and she wants it done in about 30 seconds. She says "you make my dress now. OK, Mommy? I paint hearts." She paints a bit, turns to find me watching her and says, "s'ok, Mommy, you just make it." Sure thing, sweets. 

I think that soon enough, I'll be able to sew a bit with her by my side. Up until recently, I would never dream of us sitting here creating together, knowing she'd likely wander off within minutes and get into things. But, I'm noticing her becoming more independent and engaging in her own play just a little bit more lately. It's wonderful on so many fronts. I love those moments when she drifts off into her own little world, seemingly unaware that I'm nearby. What a bright spot she's been this February.

And, then, there were other bright spots, of the the impulsive purchasing type. I hope I'm not the only one who does that. Last week I added this pretty stack of indigo fabrics to my stare and gaze at on my shelf stash. Mostly all from Handcrafted by Alison Glass, but a little of Cotton and Steel's Bluebird as well. Good gracious, they're beautiful. But, what shall I do with them? That's what I'll be pondering this March while I sew dresses for my little girl.

I hope you've found some bright and beautiful spots this February!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Bluebird Poolside Tote

I knew when I made my first Poolside Tote that it wouldn't be my last. This pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead is one of my favorites. It's a fun one to put together and makes a super functional bag. I especially love the shape and all of the details Anna has added to the pattern. 

The exterior of this bag features a fun print from Cotton and Steel's recent Bluebird collection. I'm slightly obsessed with this collection of blue fabrics (more on that soon). To me, this print screams summer, pool time, beach, and sunny travels. This particular fabric is printed on an unbleached cotton, which gives it a lovely natural look. Since it's a lighter weight cotton, I basted canvas to each of the exterior pieces. This adds some sturdiness and weight to the bag. It's just a bit on the floppy side, but I kind of like it that way.    

The handles of the bag and the interior are yarn-dyed Essex linen in black and chambray. The accents are Cloud9 Fabric's Cirrus Solids in Coral (which I was ecstatic to discover at Joanns!!). I interfaced all of these fabrics with Pellon SF101.

This bag is so roomy and can hold so much! I included a little leather clip on the interior for those keys that tend to disappear.

This bag was a gift for my friend Kendra's 40th birthday. This is the year my closest friends (and I) turn 40 (I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that one) and I decided I wanted to sew something for each of them. Maybe Poolside Totes for everyone and then a group trip to the beach! Sounds pretty perfect to me!