Florabelle Hexie Stripe Quilt for Blank Quilting

It’s an odd-numbered month (and an odd month, in all honesty…), which meant some fabric headed my way from Blank Quilting.  This month’s fabric collection for me was the absolutely gorgeous Florabelle collection, which is a seven piece (plus panel) collection designed by Color Pop Studio.  I’d had my eye on it since I noticed it’d be going out in March, and I was so pleased when it showed up on my doorstep!

 

Blank Quilting also included one-yard cuts of four colors of their Jot Dot prints, and a couple of weeks later a box arrived from Air-Lite Manufacturing, containing a twin-sized poly-cotton batting and a swatch card for their four different types of batting.  (I really want to give their cotton double-loft a try in the future! It feels ah-mazing.)

I decided to sew this all up with the Hexie Stripes pattern by Suzy Quilts, adding two borders of Jot Dot to increase its size.  I’d not used a quilting ruler that wasn’t squared-edged before, and I ended up slicing off the tip of one of my fingers just a few cuts into using my awesome new triangle ruler!  Goodness.  It wasn’t a horrific injury, but it did take about a week before I could do anything without aggravating the gauze-wrapped injury.  I re-embarked upon the quilt’s construction and made slow, but steady, progress just as news broke of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Washington State.  I upped my efforts just in case we ended up with some sort of government lockdown order, and got it into the mail to the quilter as fast as I could.

Ashley of Hen House Quilting got it quilted up and back into the mail right before the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Proclamation was put into effect, so yay, it got back to me in its quilted glory in time to finish it up before the end of the month! THIS QUILT HAS SUCH GREAT STORIES ALREADY.

And because we’re on lockdown I was rather limited with my photography locations, so these photos were taken by my daughter’s high school because it was pretty enough and there were no people around.  (We all have to make sacrifices, my friends.)

The quilt itself is a nice, warm quilt, thanks to that poly-cotton batting.  My cat, Quesnel, has deemed it a good quilt and spent the afternoon in my lap.  Many memes were created as a result, which I’m sharing because they make me laugh:

Thank you, Blank Quilting, for the opportunity to work with such a pretty collection!  It’s made such a pretty quilt!  (I do have plans to turn the panel into a wall hanging for my craft room, but it got pushed to the side with all the craziness that was March!)

My Farm Girl Vintage quilt is FINALLY FINISHED!


April 4, 2015…almost five years ago.  That was the day I sewed up my first Farm Girl Vintage quilt block. I was three and a half weeks post-op from my back surgery; still in A LOT of pain, but knowing that I needed to get my butt out of bed somehow so I could regain strength and avoid any additional atrophy.  I decided to hold out the carrot of sewing, something I generally didn’t have a lot of time for in my pre-back injury days, to entice me to work through the pain.  Farm Girl Vintage had just been published, the sew along announced, and I wanted to tag along.  I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with making actual quilt blocks—I’d done a lot of English Paper Piecing, some string quilting, and some basic square patchwork up to that point—but I told myself I’d figure it out as I went along.

When I first looked at the specs for making the Wooly Sheep block that day, I almost shelved the book and walked away.  There were twenty-three separate pieces to cut to make that one block, an astronomical number to my newbie quilter mind.  I actually don’t know why I decided to go forward; it spooked me so bad, and I know what my usual response to that kind of shock was at that time…and it was NOT to go forward with it!  However, for whatever forgotten reason, I decided to give it a try.

It took about three hours to make that block, and I remember pinning it on my corkboard and sitting back to look at it and thinking, “I made that, and it looks like the picture in the book!”  I was absolutely chuffed. And, because I had made that one block, I knew I could continue and make all the other blocks in the book.  It was my reason to get out of bed during those months of physical therapy and non-stop pain: If I got through my exercises, I could make a quilt block that day.  Each block also carried the bonus of being able to post its finish on Instagram and then reading through nice comments from my friends.

I didn’t complete the sew along on time because I ended up getting a stress fracture in my foot from being too gung-ho about my physical therapy walks, and then I joined a year-long sewing bee and it was the Year of All the Baby Quilts, so I didn’t actually come back to finish the Farm Girl Vintage blocks until two years later. I finished up the remaining blocks by August of 2017, and then I have no notes about it at all until an Instagram post in March 2018 where I said it only needed its binding. But, my husband was looking for work and we ended up moving a few states away that year, so it sat in a box until just a little while ago when I went on a mad UFO-finishing spree and rediscovered it.  So here we are, two (in total, five) years later, and it is finally complete!

Knowing what I know now about quilting, I was so not ready for this quilt…and yet, it worked out.  There’s a couple of blocks in there that are quite bad (namely, the House and the Canning Jars), but I learned the necessary lessons from them and didn’t make those mistakes again, so the rest of the blocks are fine.  When I come across those particular blocks while I’m sitting under it, I smile and pat them, remembering how frustrated I was with them—and then I’m grateful I pushed on despite my imperfect results.

Don’t wait to make the quilts you want to make!  I had to re-do a number of these seams because they came out insane on the first try, but that’s the awesome thing about sewing: You can almost always rip out a seam and give it another try.  You don’t have to start over (usually), and even if you do, you can usually use the first “failure” block in a different project.  Really, the only true setback is if you run out of a particular fabric, and most of the time you can just buy some more.  Annoyed with yourself that you might be about having to do that, it’s not the end of the world.  (And trust me, just about EVERYONE who makes quilts has had to do that at some point!)

 

I watch new quilters fret about making mistakes, and place limits on themselves and deny themselves the projects that their hearts truly want to make, but you don’t have to do that!  Google tutorials about that kind of pattern, watch YouTube videos about it, read blog posts about beginner quilting tips, but above all, start sewing! And start sewing something you’re going to love!  Who cares if some of the seams are jaggedy?  Who cares if your color choices make you cringe later on?  Guess what?  You’ll learn the lesson and do better on the next one…because there’s always a “next” quilt.

It sits on the big red chair in my craft room and I snuggle underneath it as I read or do some hand sewing.  I’ve banned everyone in this house from ever using it on their beds because this quilt is MINE.  I cut my baby quilter teeth on this quilt.  I will be buried with this quilt.

Narumi Glam Clam Quilt for Blank Quilting

I mentioned a little while ago that I was chosen to be a brand ambassador for Blank Quilting Corporation, and that, from time to time, I’d be sharing some projects made with a new Blank Quilting fabric collection.  I’m excited to share my first such project with you today!


I was provided with the Narumi fabric collection, designed by Nathalie Runghen.  It’s an eleven piece collection, along with a panel, featuring Japanese designs in a palette of red, gray, black, and cream.

As luck would have it, my best friend spent a large amount of her childhood living in Japan, and red and black are amongst her favorite colors.  I decided it was time to make her a quilt!  After a little bit of mulling, I decided to make Latifah Saafir’s 8-inch Glam Clam quilt because the fan print made think that this collection would work well in a clamshell quilt…and now I need to also make a 12-, 10-, and 6-inch Glam Clam quilt, too.  Excellent pattern!

In addition to the Narumi fabric collection, Blank Quilting sent me some yardage of a couple of their basics: a gray shade of Urban Legends, their mottled solid line, which I used in the design, and “Red” from their Eclipse Solids collection, which I used for binding.  I also fussy-cut a little of the panel for a couple of clamshells.  The quilt was skewing too dark, so I added in some white to elevate it.

Ashley of Hen House Quilting quilted it up for me, and I love the design she picked.  I’m a little sad to let this go live at my bestie’s house!  I really, really like how this all turned out.  I adore that wisteria print, and I’m looking forward to what I’m going to make from the cherry blossom and geisha girls prints.  This is a fun collection!

I think it turned out really great! Thank you, Blank Quilting, for granting me this opportunity to work with this gorgeous collection!  Narumi is available in quilt shops now!  I hope you enjoy working with it as much as I have!

Jelly Belly Bars Quilt

That Crafty Cara's Jelly Belly Bars QuiltI just finished sewing up a lovely new pattern from Fat Quarter Shop called the Jelly Belly Bars Quilt.  It’s made from a jolly bar precut and a jelly roll precut, but I went rogue and made mine from a layer cake and, because the fabric I wanted to use for my frames didn’t come in a jelly roll, I hand-cut my frame strips.

Back in October, I posted on Instagram that I really wanted to make a low-volume quilt.  When I started brainstorming about what fabrics to use in my version of the Jelly Belly Bars Quilt, I thankfully remembered that desire and decided to move forward with that look in mind.

Cara Brooke's Jelly Belly Bars QuiltI used Modern Background Colorbox by Zen Chic for my prints, and the frames are Bella Solids in the “Ruby Ice” color (SKU# 9900-169).

My quilt looks a little different from the others you’ll see today because I added an outside border onto mine because the quilt as written finishes at 54.5 x 60″, and I’m just a little taller than average, so I knew it would be just a little too short for me to use it comfortably. I actually had a layer cake of the Modern Background Colorbox, so I just cut it in half and used the second set to piece a border.  Finished size with added border = 63.5 x 69″, which makes for an awesome-sized throw that will cover my toes.

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For the backing, I used the “Sky Blue Picnic Basket” print (SKU# 24075-15) from April Rosenthal’s “Orchard” fabric collection.  I then bound the quilt with some more Bella Solids “Ruby Ice”.

That Crafty Cara's Jelly Belly Bar Quilt

The quilting was done by Ashley of Hen House Quilting.  I said that I wanted something modern, but not sharp; rounded if possible.  She picked out this quilting design and I couldn’t be more pleased.  It’s turned out exactly like I wanted.  Sweet, while still managing to be modern.  I absolutely love it.

Cara Brooke's Jelly Belly Bars Quilt

I mocked up a number of brainstormed ideas for this particular quilt, and I’d hate for them to go to waste, so I thought I’d share them with you, just in case they inspire you to go make a Jelly Belly Bars quilt of your own!

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Mock up of Jelly Belly Bars Quilt with Modern Background Colorbox frames, and Bella Solids Bleached White centers.

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Mock up of Jelly Belly Bars Quilt with Bella Solids Peacock (SKU 9900-216) frames and Modern Background Colorbox centers.

Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for inviting me to sew along with you!  You can visit their post about this new Jelly Belly Bars quilt pattern on their blog by clicking here.

Or, you can just jump on over to Fat Quarter Shop and download a copy of the Jelly Belly Bars quilt pattern for yourself! You can also buy a Jelly Belly Bars quilt kit, and backing kit! Happy sewing!

Sleighbell Sampler Quilt

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Four and a half years ago, I began working on it.  I was just getting started in quilt-making, and absolutely fell in love with both this quilt and Farm Girl Vintage, so I threw caution to the wind and decided to join both of their quilt alongs.  I did great on sewing up the blocks, but when it came time to put the sashing and borders on them, I FROZE.  It took me years to finally break through that block, but I eventually did it and now I get to bask in the delight of a freshly-completed Christmas quilt draped across my favorite couch.  I love this quilt so much.

Pattern: Sleighbell Sampler, by Sherri Falls, from her “Winter Wonderland” pattern book.

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Fabric: “Holly’s Tree Farm,” by Sweetwater, “Jingle,” by Kate Spain, and a few scraps from the stash. The backing is flannel from Bonnie & Camille’s “Vintage Holiday” collection, and I cannot remember exactly what collection the binding came from, but there’s plenty of bias candy cane-striped fabrics out there to choose from these days, so you’ll be ok to find some if you need some.
(Also, can we start a petition to #bringbackhollystreefarm in the future, please?  Love that collection.)

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Quilting: I tried out a new quilter this time ’round, Ashley of Hen House Quilting, because she’s more local than my usual go-to.  I’ll definitely be using her again; she’s really sweet and very professional, and I only have good things to say about the experience of working with her.  She helped me pick out a beautiful snowflake quilting pattern that just goes beautifully with the quilt, and I love it so much!  Thank you, Ashley!

Modifications: None.

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Yay!  I have a goal of a Christmas quilt or blanket for every bed, couch, and armchair in our house, and this guy puts us at a total of five…only six more to go!  Ha ha.  (Hey, we all need goals to work towards, don’t be afraid of how big they are!)

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Unicorn Star Party Quilt

Unicorn Star Party Quilt, sewn by That Crafty Cara/Cara Brooke

My first big finish to come out of the new craft room is this Star Party quilt for my Rachel-girl for her eleventh birthday.  I started it last year, and it only needed its binding, but binding is hard to do when you’re being yanked back and forth between “Yay, he got a job and we need to get packing!” and “Well, shoot, the job offer fell through at the last possible second…should I unpack the craft room?”  Ugh.  2018 was rough, folks.

But I digress.  We are where we need to be now, and the craft room is unpacked, and I’m never moving again (she said as she chuckled anxiously), and so we can get back to our regularly-scheduled crafting program ’round these parts.  Boo-yah!

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Excuse the dark/blue lighting–it’s winter…

When I saw the “Happy Little Unicorns” fabric collection pop up on the “Coming Soon” page over at Fat Quarter Shop, I immediately subscribed to be notified when it became available because I KNEW it was perfect for my unicorn/glitter/rainbows-loving girl.  I had a completely different pattern picked out to use it with, but found myself browsing the Robert Kaufman website last year to look at the free quilt patterns that they released for their Kona Color of the Year announcement, and lo and behold, they have patterns listed for almost everything they release, INCLUDING a quilt pattern for the Happy Little Unicorns fat quarter bundle, appropriately named “Star Party.”

It’s nine big blocks, which was fantastic and fast; and the only modification I made to it was to substitute some polka dot lavender fabric in for some of the solid lavender (I think it was Corsage) around the middle block because I…probably cut something wrong?  I don’t remember, actually.  (Never did I insinuate that I was perfect.  NEVER.)  I used Robert Kaufman flannel in lilac for the quilt backing.

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The quilting was done by Utah Valley Quilting, and Kerri found a unicorn motif and we used lavender thread on the front and RAINBOW VARIEGATED on the back.  I mean, could it be anymore perfect than that?

SONY DSCBut then we finally got a job offer that actually stuck, and moving sucks and unpacking sucks even more, which brings us to this year, and me frantically attaching the binding earlier this week so that I could give it to her for her birthday.

I really thought she’d figured it out that I was working on finishing the quilt for her birthday, but she hadn’t, so she was pleasantly surprised when she opened it.  Win!

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The Details:

Fabric: “Happy Little Unicorns” fat quarter bundle by Sea Urchin Studio for Robert Kaufman.
2.25 yards of white solid for background
0.5 yards of Kona Cotton “Surf” for binding
3.5 yards Robert Kaufman flannel “Lilac” for backing

Pattern: Star Party

Quilting: I can’t find it on the Utah Valley Quilting site, but it definitely was in one of the design books at the shop.  It’s been so long since I had it done that I can’t remember what the design was called, sorry.  But I’m sure Kerri could help you figure it out if you wanted to use it.

I might actually end up using this pattern again because I really liked making it.  And I rarely use a pattern twice, so that’s a big compliment.  Love the big blocks, and super loved the adorable fabric collection.

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But, most of all, I loved making my girl happy!

Classic & Vintage: Double Nine-Patch Quilt

Good morning, friends!  Today I get to FINALLY share Fat Quarter Shop’s newest pattern with you!  It’s from their “Classic & Vintage” series of patterns, and it’s called the Double Nine-Patch Quilt!

You probably aren’t aware that one of my most favoritest, favoritest things about quilts is NESTED SEAMS.  Seams that have to match perfectly, and so you press the seam allowances opposite each other so they’ll nest into each other and lock themselves into place…oh my goodness, sign me up for THAT.  You can imagine my exclamation of joy when I first laid eyes on the mock-up of Fat Quarter Shop’s newest pattern in their Classic & Vintage line-up, the Double Nine Patch:

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Just. look. at all of those nested seams.

Putting this quilt together is pretty simple–I’d even suggest that it’s accessible by a “gettin’ tired of making charm pack patchwork quilts” kind of beginner.  I actually kept track of how long each of my sewing sessions were with making this quilt, and I went from starching my pre-washed fabric to finishing attaching the borders in a little under twenty hours (spread over five days).  And the finished quilt is sooo beautiful:

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I just love classic patterns, and this is such a clean, pretty look.

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I chose to go with a fat quarter bundle of Riley Blake’s “Comfort & Joy” fabric collection, because, hello,  CHRISTMAS, and I decided that I was going to keep this quilt for myself and I have been in love with this collection since it was first released last year, so “Merry Christmas” to yours truly, mwa ha ha.  I love, love, love the red, green, and white together.  Oh, be still my Christmas heart.

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I had the quilting done by Utah Valley Quilting, in their “Holly AB” pattern.  I love how it turned out!

Fat Quarter Shop has a kit available with Sweetwater’s “Project Red” collection included (oh, it doesn’t get more classic than red and white, does it?), and also a backing kit to match.  (Seriously love the print they chose for the backing!)

As always, there’s a cute little video explaining the new pattern, and you can watch it here:

Oh my goodness, I love this quilt.  Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for the opportunity to help you spread the fun news of this new pattern!

Linking Up:
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

 

The Nutcracker Mosaic Quilt Story

My mother and I adore decorating for the holidays, and we send each other new Christmas decorations most years, specially timed so that they arrive in the mail right about the day after Thanksgiving.  (Because it’s silly to give a Christmas decoration to someone to open ON Christmas–it just gets packed up the next day and you don’t get to use it for almost an entire year!)  My decoration theme is gingerbread men and woodsy greenery, and her decorating theme FOR YEARS has been snowmen.

But a few years ago she decided she was done with snowmen, and that she wanted to instead decorate with nutcrackers.

190e6f6925a9ba7931102d1122490416Last spring (think 2016) the fabulous “Nutcracker Christmas” fabric collection by Riley Blake came out, and the first time I saw it I thought, “Oh my goodness, that would be perfect for my mom!”  But money was tight, and it was softball season and I had no time to make anything anyway, so I told myself I’d revisit the idea at a later date.  Softball season came and went, and I kept catching glances of the collection and thinking every time that it really would be just perfect, but everything was working against me to buy the fabric.  But the pressure to make something with it kept hounding me.

Finally, one evening in July after having seen a whole bunch of mentions of the collection throughout the day, I had enough.  I was saying my evening prayers and I was so weighed down by thoughts of this fabric collection and really frustrated, so I decided to just be straight with God about my dilemma.  I told Him that I felt like He wanted me to make a nutcracker quilt for my mom for whatever reason, but that I just could not make the financial aspect of getting the fabric to work out, and if He really wanted me to make the quilt, then He needed to figure out how to get the fabric to me for free.  I was instantly washed over with a feeling of relief, and, thinking that the matter was settled and I was freed from the obligation, I crawled into bed, sighing with gratitude that I wouldn’t have to worry about the nutcracker quilt anymore.

The next day was quilt guild, and I set out for my meeting with a peaceful heart, settled into my seat on the front row, and chatted with my friends while waiting for the meeting to begin.  A member of my guild, Shannon, asked if she could make an announcement.  She walked up to the front of the room carrying a large basket and said that she had lots of scraps leftover from some quilts she’d made and that we could have anything we wanted that was in the basket.

Guess what was sitting on the very top of the pile?  Yep, a bundle of Nutcracker Christmas fabric.  I looked up at the ceiling and shook my head in humbled amazement.

il_340x270.1029714215_rds0Upon getting home, I measured the fabric in the bundle and I had roughly a fat eighth of every print in the collection, plus about a yard of all three colors of the border print.  That’s A LOT of fabric to get for free!

I decided to use the fabric with the “Mosaic” pattern found in Fat Quarter Style, and that I wanted to fussy cut the border fabric for the Christmas trees, gifts, and individual nutcrackers, using  the rest of the fabric to fill in the mosaic blocks.

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I chose to use Kona “Snow” for the borders and sashing, and ordered some more of my favorite print for the back.

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Utah Valley Quilting did the quilting; it’s “Christmas Pano 2009 SD,” using a light mint/seafoam-colored thread.  I went into the shop thinking white thread, but Kerri, the shop owner, talked me into a little bit of color and I’m so glad I listened to her!  The quilting really pops on this quilt!

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Last, but not least, the binding is made up of leftovers of the diamond section of the border print fabrics.

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I apologize for the photos–in my haste to make sure that the quilt got to my mom on the day after Thanksgiving, I rushed it to the post office and forgot to do a photo shoot!  “Draped over chair in living room so I could show the binding to my best friend in a Google Hangouts photo” is all I have of it in its completed state.  At least there’s that, right?

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I love how this quilt turned out, down to its cute little quilt label!  My mom phoned me half an hour after opening the box, apologizing that it took so long to contact me because she’d “been staring at it for twenty minutes” before remembering to give me a call.  She’s extremely pleased with her gift, and even more so after I told her the backstory of how this quilt came into existence.  Perhaps she just needed a reminder that God loves her?  It was fun to let Him work through me.  This has been a Christmas gift for both my mother and myself.

Best of 2016, and Planning for 2017

I love reading everyone’s “wrapping up the year” and “plans for the next year” posts so much!  The online creative community is so interesting in that a lot of us are pretty transparent about what we do, which I really appreciate because online creativity *can* become an overly-staged, whirlwind-finishing sort of thing very easily…but then there’s those souls who refuse to get caught up in it all and just stay real, and I love reading their blogs.

Best of 2016

Trying to nail down my “best” projects of 2016 is really hard because almost every single one was a gift I made to be given away, and I don’t want anyone to think that I hated making the gift I gave them because it didn’t show up in this list…NO.  If I didn’t want to make a gift for you, I didn’t make you a gift, end of story.  I actually had four more gifts scheduled to make this year, but I quit one about 2/3 of the way through because I hated it so much, and with another one I just wasn’t feeling it, and will probably finish it up in 2017, and with the other two I just didn’t have time once all the crazy post-op stuff went down.

Oooh!  Categories!  Let’s see, five categories to round out the year:

Prettiest:  The baby quilt that my daughter and I made for her teacher who had a baby girl in May.  I loved working with Vintage Picnic, and the design of the quilt was just perfect.  For some weird reason, this quilt was blogged on our family blog, so if you want to see more pictures of it, you’ll have to head over there.

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Most Fun to Make:  The Dr. Seuss baby quilt.  It was a last-minute decision, so I picked a pattern that was on the wonky side and wouldn’t need perfect seams and the like, and I just had fun slapping it all together.  The fabrics were super fun and bright, and I really enjoyed the process of just making and not getting bogged down in the minutiae of perfection. I’ll have to remember to throw a wonky/improv project into the mix every now and then when I’m starting to feel a little stale.

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Biggest Skill Stretcher:  The Beehive Swarm swap blocks.  There was a lot of foundation paper piecing, which I tend to shy away from because I don’t like it, but there’s nothing like it for perfect piecing.  I still don’t like it, but I’m better at it now, and can grudgingly admit its superiority for certain qualities.  I also tackled curved seams for the first time with August’s block, and they are not as difficult as I psyched myself out to believe!

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Most Popular:  Within the walls of our home, it’s the Layers of Charm Flower Sugar Quilt.  It sits proudly on the back of a couch in our living room and it gets used pretty much every day.  The kids fight over it, and I’m always finding it snuck into one of their beds.

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Outside of our home, the Art Gallery Fabrics Blithe pillows have been the most popular, garnering 25% of the blog’s web traffic this year, and also being the only project about which I’ve received comments from my friends and neighbors when I’m out in the real world.  Pink and mint are hot, people.

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Project of the Year:  Not really a project, but 2016 was “The Year of All the Baby Quilts.”  There were a lot of baby quilts this year.  All good things, but man, I’m going to take a break for a while.  If you’re expecting, do not expect a quilt from me in 2017.  I’m just done for a little while.

Planning for 2017

First and foremost, my health.  If all I accomplish in 2017 is to raise my health to an enjoyable level, that will be enough for me.  It’s been three years of pain, almost two years since my back surgery, and I am simply to the point where nothing else really matters to me other than feeling good again.  Luckily, we found another source of some of the pain I was experiencing, hence the surgery in November, so I think I’ll be able to move along the path to better health a little easier, and hopefully a little faster.

When I woke up from my most recent surgery, I had no back pain, which we were hoping would be one of the side effects of that particular surgery.  Upon being cleared to do normal things again after six weeks of lying around with very little to no back pain, I ambled on down to the ol’ Craft Dungeon, and did a little sewing.  I felt some familiar discomfort in my back, decided that was enough sewing for the day, and stopped.  Unfortunately, the discomfort increased steadily throughout the evening until I was forced to give up, take some serious pain meds, and just go lay in bed.  I think using my sewing machine is needlessly adding to my back pain!  It’s happened a few more times, so I’m pretty sure I’m correct, which makes me incredibly hesitant to sew at all anymore.

It’s my hope that after a few months of consistent strength training (read: if I can manage not to injure myself for that long), that my back will be strong enough to handle sitting at the sewing machine.  Until then, I’m making a goal to just not worry about the crafty side of life, and to give it a go when I think I’ve gained some strength.  If I’m not strong enough at that point, then I’ll wait a few weeks and try again, rinse and repeat.

Of course, there are some projects that I would love to start, finish, adore…but I’m going to be patient, and when the time is right, I’ll resume my place in the Craft Dungeon.  A few months isn’t going to hurt anything.

Bread & Butter Quilt

SONY DSCMy roommate from freshman year of college just had her first baby, the third of my close friends from freshman year to procreate this year.  We’ve stayed in touch over the years; she’ll randomly send me a little email here and there and they just brighten my day so much.  She’s always been one of the nicest people I know.

So, of course, when she emailed me early on in the year to let me know that she was expecting, I wanted to go all out for her and her wee one.  I had plenty of notice, so I really sat down and thought about what to make.  I recalled a quilt pattern I’d seen in a book I borrowed from the library while we were living in Australia, and luckily, I remembered the name of the book, Two From One Jelly Roll Quilts, by Pam and Nicky Lintott, and even more luckily, the book was available on Amazon.com (so many Australian books cannot be obtained stateside, but this one was British!), so I ordered it, took a glance at the pattern, chuckled at its cleverness, and committed.

Her nursery has been decorated with an alphabet and storybook theme, and she said she was fond of polka dots, and then she found out she was having a girl, and the Bread & Butter fabric collection popped into my mind’s eye, and I knew we had a winner.

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I’ve been in a lot of pain for the past couple of months so progress on this quilt was very slow.  It was decided that I would have another surgery to help with the problem, and when I finally got a surgery date scheduled, I just had a feeling that I really needed to get this to the binding stage before I went under the knife.  I had to enlist the help of my bestie, Denise, to cheer me on and encourage me, and we hosted a couple weeks’ worth of “Epic Sewing Thursdays” where we’d text pictures back and forth to each other every hour or so to show our progress on our respective projects.  You sure can get a lot done when you’re working “alongside” friends!

My check-in for surgery was at 12:45pm on Election Tuesday, and I was finishing up the machine-stitching portion of the binding at 10:30am.  Why fret about surgery and politics when you can focus on making pretty things for babies?

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The hand binding took two days, and the quilt label took lots of minutes over lots of days because my surgery ended up being a little more invasive than originally planned, and I was put on bed rest for five weeks instead of “three days of resting” afterwards.  Bah.  (Which is also why you’re getting quilt photos in front of the Christmas Tree…I wasn’t allowed to leave the house, ha ha.)

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But in the end, the result was the same:  A beautiful baby quilt for a beautiful baby girl, who has a beautiful mother with one of the kindest hearts you’ve ever met.

Congratulations, Stephanie and Jon, on the start of your family.  Welcome to your life, Baby Sydney…look to your mother’s example and you’ll do well.

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