Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Back From the Blog Grave

Hi y'all!

Remember me! I used to blog here frequently? Now don't get huffy! I didn't forget you! Things have just gotten busy around here and it's been hard to get back to the old blog!

Out in my "other" life (that life that doesn't involve fabric--gasp! I know! Is there such a thing?!), I've been busy with job interviews. And that involves dressing up in heels. Oy, I've been out of practice for that!

In more interesting news, I just returned from a totally awesome sewing retreat hosted by Emily Herrick of Crazy Old Ladies Quilts. I had the best time! There were about 30 ladies at the retreat, which was held at the most amazing (and huge) house in the mountains in Springville, UT. We had a trunk show by Natalia Bonner, who showed off her phenomenal quilting skills. I got one of her books, which I've been wanting for a while, Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting. We also had trunk shows by Amber Johnson from Gigi's Thimble and Katie Spencer of From the Blue Chair. Both are so talented and showed their stunning patterns and quilts. Katie showed off her technique for using her leftover scraps on her quilt backs--such a great way to use up leftover fabric and to create one-of-a-kind backs!

The ladies at the retreat were so talented! Everyone was working on such different projects and it was wonderful to see the diversity of talent and interests! The house has a great room with a loft balcony, and every time someone finished a project she would hang it over the balcony railing for everyone to see and celebrate. So cool! I so wish I had taken photos of everyone's great projects!

This time I was surprisingly parsimonious in the list of projects I brought with me. Usually I bring bag upon bags of projects to work on, but this time I consolidated my things to only one bag, which still left me with several choices of projects. I had finished my baby quilt top for my cousin's son's baby before I arrived at the retreat, so while at the retreat I quilted and binded the top:

This is one of my favorite patterns. It's from  Hooked on Needles and makes a great baby quilt. I pulled out some of my favorite charm squares for this one, including several treasured Heather Ross Munki Munki pieces. I included two of her seahorses, which went really well with the Sarah Jane Out to Sea fabric, especially the mermaids! I did a rainbow-ish color array, using softer colors as this will be for a sweet girl. I still can't figure out what relation Nora is to me: her grandfather is my mother's first cousin. I think that may make her my cousin three times removed, but it kind of makes my head spin to try to figure it out!

This quilt is about 45x45, and uses Riley Blake's Sweet Divinity in pink for the backing. For the quilting I went with stippling. I'm still very much working on my free-motion quilting, but I'm really pleased with how this one came out. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it!

Of course, I was confidently quilting along when I discovered that my tension was screwy and had to undo about four inches in and the length of the fabric. Aaargh! As nice as the place was where we had the retreat, the lighting was not ideal, but I just happened to bring along my headlamp (you never know when you might need it for midnight potty trips!), and it was just perfect for the close-up stitch work. I highly recommend headlamps as critical retreat gear! Perhaps not fashion forward, but definitely a must-have!

In addition to this quilt, I also started my #xplusalong blocks. I saw them on I'm a Ginger Monkey's blog, and I just fell for them! I decided I wanted to use a slightly simpler color palate, so I'm going with aqua, orange, grey, and green. I have 12 done so far, but I have a ways to go if I want to do a queen-sized quilt!

Now that I've done 12, I have a wider range of aqua, more in the darker range, which is pulling out the color more. They look a bit more like the ones in the middle in terms of visual balance. They're pretty quick to make and the blocks are holding my interest . . . which is a good thing, since, as some of you know, I'm not someone who necessarily gets really excited by making block after block!

There will be more news from the retreat later, but before I wrap up, I have an important announcement to share. Due to a horrible situation, a mother and her six children has had to leave their home with little more than the clothes on their back. Some incredible friends and community members are stepping up and providing them with household items, clothes, and living arrangements.

Myra at She Taught Me to Love It is organizing a collection of new quilts for each of the family members, so I'm helping to get the word out. We are looking for new pieced and quilted, twin-sized quilts for the mother and each of her children. There are three boys, aged 6, 12, and 14, and three girls, aged 4, 10, and 16.

It would be great if you could make and donate a quilt for one (or more!) of these children or their mother. If you can't make a whole quilt, then piecing a quilt top or donating fabric, batting, or quilting would be terrific!

If you are able to donate any of the above, please leave a comment with your name and email below. Many thanks!

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