My Very Late Start to the Sweetie Pie Quilt Sew Along

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Image courtesy of Riley Blake Designs

When I first saw the pattern for Lori Holt’s Sweetie Pie Quilt last year, I literally gasped aloud, which, when in the context of creativity, is a sign I’ve recognized to mean that I should seriously consider committing to the project, yarn, fabric, etc.  I’ve learned that ignoring that first impression gasp aloud usually leads to serious regret.

But I’m an imperfect being, and told myself, “NO.  You may not commit to making this quilt.  You have a million UFOs, it has applique fer cryin’ out loud, and just…NO.”

And then the sew along was announced.  Oh, I dearly love a sew along.  “NO!”

Then the templates became available, and oh my goodness, the cuteness…”NO!”

Then I saw the quilt in real life, and it’s even better in person…”NO!  No, no, no!”

The sew along started, and I looked forward to Lori’s blog posts each Monday to see which block they were working on that week, and oh my goodness, the cuteness…”NO!  It’s birthday season!  You’re knitting a sweater, sewing up birthday dolls, and you need to make a flapper dress for the school play!  STAHP IT.  NO.”

My oldest daughter, Emily, plays the harp, which winds up with broken strings far more often than you would think, and the closest place that sells harp strings is the music store we where we rent her harp, which is in Salt Lake City, about an hour to the north of us.  During her last lesson in January she snapped THREE strings.  (It was pretty funny to watch–pretty, pretty harp music…*twang!*  Teacher and student grumble, regroup.  Pretty, pretty harp music…*twang!*  Teacher and student emit frustrated growls, then  *twang!* for no reason, teacher and student just give up on life.)  The broken strings were often-played strings, which meant that a trip to the music store was imperative or Emily would backslide into not practicing, and darn it, I’ve had to hound her and nag her to get her to the point where she’s getting somewhat consistent with practicing.  Must. go. to. music. store. fast.

Anytime I have to run an errand up in SLC, I totally have to make a day of it because it’s the big city and I live in a small city that still has that small-town feeling to it, so the lure of all the shops and dining establishments that we don’t have in my town…duh, ya need to give ’em a visit!  I made my way up to the music store, purchased the harp strings, and still had four hours before I needed to start on my return trip home.  I decided to do a yarn and quilt shop crawl.

Amidst the shop hopping, I discovered a new-to-me shop, and…*blissful sigh.*  Lots of modern fabrics, a room dedicated to batiks and Kaffe Fassett, a room for Civil War-era fabrics, and upstairs, at the top of the stairs so it’s all you see as you ascend to another eagerly-anticipated realm of fabric, they had Lori Holt’s entire Sew Cherry 2 fabric collection and the Sweetie Pie templates.  I gasped aloud AGAIN, despite having seen all of those things for months and completely knowing they already existed.  My fingers lovingly traced over the edges of the templates through the plastic packaging, and I remembered my “gasping aloud” rule.  I picked up the templates, and placed them amongst the fat quarters in my arms before turning to investigate the contents of the rest of the room.  I made it halfway through that upstairs room before putting the templates back on the table where I’d found them.  “NO.”

I headed back downstairs, poked about a bit, and then noticed that I was approaching the time where I had to start returning home.  I got in line, which was pretty long, and settled into checking my phone for any new emails and the like, but couldn’t concentrate because there was a pair of women right in front of me who hadn’t mastered the art of quietly conversing in a public space, and they kept trying to draw me into their personal conversation, so I eventually just gave up and smiled politely and nodded my head while they talked at each other and kept turning to me for…I don’t know, some sort of contribution, despite that their conversation was about which classes they should take at the shop.  (“Um, I don’t even live here…”)

Anyway, the line finally dwindled down to the ladies in front of me, who were there to sign up for a class, but, despite having come to the shop to sign up for a particular class, they had managed to befuddle themselves while standing in line as to whether or not they truly wanted to take *that* particular class, or perhaps a different class?  The dialogue continued at the shop counter, with the shop clerk casting sympathetic glances over their shoulders at me while trying to walk them towards a decision.

Finally, they decided to go with their original class decision.  Lady #1 whipped out her checkbook, and wrote the check out to the wrong shop.  This was very funny to the two women, who paused to have a glorious chuckle at the mistake.

Lady #1 flipped to the next check in her checkbook, and the two of them spelled out the name of the shop, letter-by-letter, together while she wrote.  Having accomplished the very impressive task of writing out the correct name of the shop on her check, they paused for a little victory cheer and dance before she proceeded to write the wrong amount of money to be paid to the shop onto the check.  More laughter.  The shop clerk shot me a look of extreme pity.

Check #3 was produced, they spelled out the name of the store together, had another dance, and then spelled out the correct amount of money, number-by-number, and then erupted into yet another victory dance upon completion.  A couple of high-fives later, and Lady #1 went to rip the check from the checkbook…and ripped the thing in half.

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Lady #2 straight-up exploded with hysterical laughter, and had to hold onto the counter to keep from collapsing to the floor.  Lady #1 wasn’t too far behind her friend, and the shop clerk looked at me with an “Oh my gosh, we are going to die here,” expression on her face.

Check #4.  Letter-by-letter, number-by-number, perforation-by-perforation.  A sloooow hand-over to the shop clerk.  EXPLOSION OF VICTORY DANCE, HIGH-FIVES, AND HUGGING WHILE JUMPING UP AND DOWN.  The shop clerk moved with superhuman speed to finish up the transaction, and, upon completion, turned to Lady #2…

…who pulled out a gallon-sized Ziploc bag of coins.

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I decided that it was a great time to wander through the shop once more to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.  Namely, that it was a great time to go back upstairs and have a little debate with my conscience regarding the feasibility of making my own Sweetie Pie quilt, because God was OBVIOUSLY STALLING my exit.

I declare no coincidences in this experience–the moment I picked up the templates, some five or so minutes (or was it years?) later, with the intention to purchase them, Lady #2 let out a whoop downstairs, like my own cosmic cheering section.  I looked at the templates in my hand, heard the cha-ching of the cash register, and nodded.

The women were exiting the shop when I reached the main floor, the store clerk made eye contact with me from across the shop, and upon the closing of the door, stage whispered, “I am SO SORRY.”

So, four miswritten checks and a bag of coins later, I walked out of the shop, templates and fat quarters in bag, and a couple of pieces of candy from the store clerk’s under-the-counter stash tucked in with them.  Traffic was unusually light coming home, and I arrived at my kids’ school to pick them up with five minutes to spare.  Making this quilt is obviously an important part of my life story–I mean, HELLO, the stall of the century, cosmic cheering, and free candy…so I’ve given myself over to the will of the universe.

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The Storybook Hexagon Quilt is Finished!

This quilt serves as a caution against mindlessly window shopping at online fabric sites.  I had no plans to make this quilt, but as I was clicking through SuperBuzzy’s website during Christmas break, I spotted a fabric…and in a glorious instant I saw this quilt in my mind’s eye.  I quickly closed my web browser and ran away from temptation, telling myself that I had no time for making a quilt like that because I was committed to two other quilts for my children already, both seriously overdue.

But the fabric wouldn’t leave my brain.  I stewed about the idea for two whole weeks, all the while reminding myself that I did not have the time to add another quilt to my to-do list.

But then my heart got involved and started pleading with my brain to reconsider.  It was going to be a beautiful quilt, and it would be like creating art, and if I didn’t give my heart what it wanted, it refused to care about anything else.

Sigh…

Alright.

There are three different fabrics used for the fussy cut hexagons, all of which are from Superbuzzy.  The music-themed one is Trèfle by Kokka, and then there’s a November Books print by Kokka, and a folksy print by Cosmo Textile Company.  My selvages are pretty sliced up on the last two, or I’d give you more information.

Everything else, besides the solid blue, came from the stash.  I think the gray polka dot on the back is a Riley Blake print, and the roses print is years upon years old.  (I’m tremendously helpful, aren’t I?)

The quilting is a mix between free motion and walking foot.  I stippled the string blocks, outline quilted the hexagons, straight-line quilted the white stripes, and then did FMQ scallops around the white stripes and borders of the quilt, with some feather hearts in the corners.

I’m super happy with it.  I still stand by the opinion that I did not have the time to make this, but it’s OK in the end.  Sometimes you just have to give your heart what it wants, despite logic and logistics.  My heart is pleased.

Pattern:  “Cat Tails Quilts” from Hexa Go-Go by Tacha Bruecher.

January = Cutting and basting hexagons
February = Piecing hexagon blossoms
March = Piecing string blocks, appliqueing hexagon blossoms to string blocks
April = Assembling quilt top and back (I could have gone faster on this, but I burned out a bit at this point.)
May = Quilting & binding

And that’s how you make a fussy, fussy, my-heart-won’t-settle-for-anything-else quilt.

Linking up with:

Rocket Age Hexagon Quilt Progress

I’ve been toting this project all around town–I’ve stitched at the park, I’ve stitched at Bluebird’s softball games, I’ve stitched in the car and at doctor’s appointments.  All twelve of the hexagon blossoms are complete, and I’ve moved on to piecing the string-pieced foundation blocks.  I’ve only sewn up two full blocks to applique the hexagon blossoms to, so when that second one is done I’ll have to sit back down at the sewing machine and whip up more string blocks.  Seeing that I’m actively avoiding my sewing machine in order to spend more time outside before the weather climbs into the volcanic range of temperatures, I’m not sure the next string blocks are going to happen anytime soon.  We’ll see.

I didn’t use any of the “advertisement” or “mini figures” prints in the hexagons, so they look extra special in the string piecing.  I love, love, love this fabric line!*  With Michael being the rocket scientist that he is, and doing his best to instill that love in his children; and my love for vintage and retro furnishings, this quilt is going to be so perfect for my little Monkeyboy.

It makes me laugh each time I look at the little rocket boy, stabbed in the head.  Sorry not sorry.

With the size of the full string blocks measuring in at 16.5 inches, I’m feeling a little conspicuous when I’m stitching them in public.  This might become more of an at-home project in the future.  So cute!

*The fabric line is “Rocket Age,” designed by October Afternoon and distributed by Riley Blake Designs.

Linking Up:

Storybook Hexagon Quilt Update

The kicker about a craft blog is that you need to craft in order to have something worth blogging about.  When I’ve come upon some free time over the past month, I’ve asked myself, “Get ahead on the quilt, or write about the quilt?”  I’ve chosen getting ahead each time.

And it’s been working quite well for me.  I’m in the home stretch of finishing the top!  The twelve blocks above are, as of this morning, complete and sewn together, and I just finished sewing the first strip of sashing to one side.  Unfortunately, I noticed a little twinge of pain in my left wrist as I was helping the bulk of the quilt top along the side of my sewing machine, so I decided to take a break and let it all rest for the rest of today.  And that, my friends, is a great time to start writing about the quilt!

At one point of assembly I got so tired of messing things up
that I started posting reminder photos of the measurements
I was aiming for on my Facebook page.  I imagine my
non-crafty FB friends think I have issues.

I counted up all the different fabrics being used–there are twenty seven different fabrics at play in this project.  The hexagons hail from three different prints I picked out at superbuzzy.com, and everything but the powder blue background fabric are bits and pieces from the stash and random fat quarters I’ve bought as I’ve found them appealing.  The design of the top is almost word-for-word the cover quilt of Hexa-go-go, except with some serious shrinking down–the “full” blocks of the cover quilt measure in at 16 inches, while these are 11 inches.  The hexagons are one-inch hexagons, lovingly hand-basted and stitched by yours truly.

I really should have just bought the entire bolt of the powder blue fabric when I found it, four stores into my quest.  Powder blue is not an easy color to find in shops right now, all the light blues lean towards aqua and turquoise.  I’m being exceptionally frugal with my limited amount of powder blue fabric, despite having already made a second trip to the fabric store and knowing that I could return and get more if I ran out.  It’s become a “thing” now, and I’m dedicated to the idea of NOT needing more powder blue fabric.  I’m even going to do a pieced back in order to conserve some powder blue.  There’s lots of red and pink strings leftover from piecing the blocks, so I’ve pieced a long row of them to break up the back of the quilt.  Depending on how much powder blue I have left, I might piece together some more rows.

Wanna see my favorite photo of quilt progress thus far?  Here it is:

My kids have learned what the term “photo bombing” means, and so now they take any opportunity to try it out, especially when it involves crafts.  (I think they’re trying to send me a message.)

One of my friends stopped to chat with me on the sidewalk this past week, and she mentioned that she absolutely loved watching for update photos of the quilt on Facebook.  She then told me that she had no idea how I was going to be able to choose which one of my girls as owner of the finished project, and that, if it were her, she’d just frame the thing and put it up on the wall as the art it was.  Talk about flattered!

What’s funny about it all is that I was having the same thoughts about it!  Not about who to give it to, because that was already decided when I started, but the thing about it being “art.”  When I saw the fabric at superbuzzy.com, a vision of this quilt appeared in my mind’s eye, and I was a goner.  I tried to talk myself out of it because I knew it would be time-intensive, and I already have some big ol’ time-intensive projects geared up to go in the queue, but I just couldn’t shake this project from my heart.  I had to make it.  So I plunged into it with boldness and a giddy sort of fearlessness that comes to me but rarely.  I feel like an artist, painting broad swathes of color across a blank canvas and being utterly enchanted with the result.  This has been a joy to create.  I totally love it.

Which is good, because the next quilt on my list is this all over again…but on a bigger scale.  I’ve learned some good things working on this rendition that will make the next one have neater seam matches, which I’m glad about.

So I while I feel I should apologize for the severe lack of blog posts that are happening on this lil’ blog o’ mine, I feel like it would be silly and insincere.  I’m busy creating art; which takes time, concentration, and applied effort–which are in short supply whilst juggling the demands of life.

How blessed we are to be able to do the things that bring us joy.

Linking Up!
Monday Morning Star Count

Green & Pink Hexie Applique

The long sides of my little bag are pieced, and now I’m working on appliqueing the teeny hexie strips to their proper places.  I decided to go with the hopscotch print for the main fabric of the bag because I just love it so much, it should be the main fabric, right?  Let’s just hope my girls don’t think that the bright pink earmarks it as only appropriate for the under-thirty crowd.

I do my handwork while listening to my kids recite their various school facts, or else I go insane sitting and listening to the things I recited as a young school child.  (The brain can only take so much–when you start in on the third kid’s schooling, you’re just kind of done.)  BUT, during my second grader’s math lesson, these little hexagons came in handy:

It was a lesson on angles, and she’d forgotten how many angles a hexagon had.  Hee hee.  Crafty teacher mama for the win!

Linking up with the Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts, and Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

Patching Up the Blankie

If you have a child who carries a blankie, you’ll totally understand the necessity of tending to whatever injuries the coveted item encounters. Rabbit’s blankie has had this ouchie for a while, but then it caught on something the other morning and tore some more and she seemed rather distraught about it–so I decided to do something about it.

I located some random pink gingham flannel (which isn’t too terribly random when you consider that this a house with three young girls living in it!), cut out a heart, hefted the sewing machine upstairs and started some intense blankie surgery, while Rabbit anxiously looked on.

End result:

Finished: Ewe Beanie

I think it’s adorable!

Yarn: Bernat CottonTots in Strawberry. I’ve had it forever and finally used it up with this.
Pattern: Rolled Brim Baby Hat with a Top Knot, minus the hearts.
Needles: US 6 DPN

I knit this up in the car when we were at Mr. Broke’s mother’s house for Christmas. It’s a three hour ride up, and then we spend lots of time in the car because she lives a long way away from anything, so it takes at least thirty minutes to get to a restaurant or store…lots of free time that needs something to keep my hands busy. I actually started another hat on the way home, but don’t know if I’ll finish it ever. I get tired of a pattern rather quickly, even one as cute as this.

Everything is sheep-themed for my little lamb. I knit up this beanie and felt it needed something more to make it cute. I originally thought I’d weave some pink and brown grosgrain ribbon around the brim, but I was admiring a sleeper I’d bought for her one evening and realized that I could duplicate the super cute appliqued sheep. I stink at applique, so it’s not the best job–but I can live with it.

I think she’ll look rather cute in the combo. I am getting so excited for this little one to arrive!