Last night I put the last stitch in a quilt I have been hand quilting forever.
I don't remember when I started working on this... I'm guessing 2008. Definitely before I started blogging and documenting every moment of my life:-) It was hand-pieced by a friend who after quilting a few blocks decided she hated hand quilting and was never going to finish it. In a flash of insanity generosity I offered to finish quilting it for her.
Since then this quilt has pretty much been my constant companion....
Baseball games, football games, gymnastics meets, watching Audrey cheer... there I was quilting.
Obviously I've worked on lots of other things in the last 6 years but this was always packed and ready to go whenever I needed something to do. It still needs a binding but then I'll have to figure out my next epic project:-)
Other than a brief visit from Arthur our summer has been off to a fabulous start! I wasn't sure how much sewing time I'd actually get while we were in Maine but with so much swimming and water skiing by afternoon the kids are ready for a little quiet time which gives me a chance to sneak in some sewing:-) After my success with Murray the Whale I was ready to jump in and make the child sized version of Oh, Fransson!'s Preppy the Whale.
There are lots of pieces to cut and I found the key is to stay organized. It's easy to get confused with so many different sized pieces so I have a post-it marked pile for each component.
Once everything was cut I set up camp on the deck and started chain piecing my way through all those piles... I'm making good progress and only have a few more whales to go. As long as the sun keeps shining I should be done in no time:-)
A while ago the fabulous Oh Frannson! posted her Preppy the Whale quilt on Instagram. This quilt couldn't be more me if it had my initials monogrammed on it so when I heard she was looking for pattern testers I immediately begged her to pick me volunteered my services. Given this is a test I wanted to try making one of these before cutting in to my "real" fabric just in case there were any problems. Inspired by the Vineyard Vines logo I pulled some pink and navy from my stash and started cutting.
I needn't have worried, Elizabeth's instructions were as detailed and precise as ever and I quickly whipped together my first whale, Murray.
I loved him so much I decided he needed a quilt of his own:-) A few stripes later I had this cute little flimsy together just begging to be basted and quilted. Now I can't wait to start cutting a whole pod of whales!!!
I've been planning this project ever since Audrey failed to correctly identify all 5 oceans on a geography test. That's right, she incorrectly labeled the ocean she has lived alongside her entire life. Sigh! I immediately designed a notebook cover using this adorable Out to Sea panel but that seemed a bit like cheating:-) The class moved on to other topics and I moved on to other projects but while organizing my fabric stash I stumbled upon this panel and decided it was time to finally use it.
I cut out the panel and then added triangles from my stash to look like bunting.
The quilting was the hardest part of this project. I've never spent so much time adding quilting that is virtually invisible when you look at the pillow. I was really worried about doing the FMQ around the continents but it went really quickly and white thread on white fabric disappears. From there I quilted over the gridlines. It wasn't difficult but with all the breaks for the design it took forever!!! In the end it was worth it, it adds a wonderful sense of texture to the pillow.
For the back I added a vertical row of triangles to look like burgees and used this cute pirate girl printalong with the narwhal.
Now it can hang out on Audrey's bed with the rest of her pillows. Hopefully she can learn by osmosis;-)
I was inspired to make pencil cases this year after seeing Allison's adorable pencil case for Stephanie but after my son and I got to talking about the trials of handwriting this year and I had to go with some old school cursive.
I've been a tad overambitious with the teacher gifts in the past so I was a little worried about doing all that handwork. I had to make 5 of these but they worked up quickly and it was actually really relaxing. It was also fun to practice some of the embroidery stitches I learned from the fabulous Kate. I used a backstitch for the blue lines, a running stitch for the pink lines, and a stem stitch for the writing.
I also used this as an excuse to indulge my latest obsession, Aurifil 12 weight. The colors are beautiful, it doesn't twist up while you're stitching, and it has a beautiful sheen. I already planning my next hand quilting project so I can get more;-)
The pouches themselves are based on Noodlehead's Gathered Clutch, obviously without gathering the front panel. I loved how easy the zipper installation was for my Neptune version and I know from experience they are the perfect size for holding pencils.
This weekend I headed down to the beach with some of my favorite quilty peeps. I know from past experience I'm more likely to chat than sew so I brought along my patchwork Weekender pieces to quilt.
It doesn't really matter if I get distracted while quilting these and they go together so much faster with good company. It's also convenient to have generous friends on hand who will let you shop their stash;-)
Everything is quilted now so I'm ready to start assembling the bag for my class at Quilter's Way next week. I love how this is coming together and can't wait to see it finished!!!
Another recent gift, the Boston MQG was running a Sewing Room Swap and I was lucky enough to get Trish as my partner. My NoodleheadBerry Basket obsession started when I made a prototype for this Very Berry Berry Basket. When I first met Trish she was told me about the wonderful strawberry farms near her home so I thought this adorable Lecien print would be perfect.
In return I received this fabulous sewing tote from the lovely Gretchen. It's just perfect for corralling all the stuff I like to have next to my sewing machine and I adore the matching Keep Calm pincushion!!!