No, it is not a mirage. It is actually I, Shortcookie, returned as if from the grave!
Since I relocated back to the east coast from Utah almost a year and a half ago, I've been doing freelance work as an educational researcher and writer. It's directly related to my former life as a professor, but it is quite a different pace, with most of the work done from home in what I call my "day-time pajamas"—clean, fresh pajama bottoms with a comfy sweatshirt—as no one can tell from my email and reports what I'm wearing! No complaints about my work clothes, but it has been a bit of an adjustment to the pace. My consulting work is not yet up to full speed, so I have felt guilty over this past year when I spend any time sewing instead of working on drumming up more business.
So, day after day, I've walked by my mostly unpacked sewing room upstairs, trying not to be enticed by all the fabric yumminess. I did occasionally pull out my machine to work on my medallion round robin with my Utah quilty friends, and I think I may have made one baby quilt, but other than that it was one big goose egg for sewing over the past year and a half.
And then Christmas approached and I got that crafty vibe that you just can't say no to!! I have an abundance of fabric, extra time on my hands, and some ideas I've wanted to work on, and so it began anew!
I had made a vintage Lilly Pulitzer quilt for my mother almost three years ago, shortly after I began sewing and quilting. It is a smaller lap size, and it was early in my skill development, so I decided to make her a larger one with a bit more finesse. I was inspired by the baby quilt designed by Allison Harris over Cluck, Cluck, Sew. Her design is for a wonderful baby quilt that uses the WOF of each color, with a strip that inverts the color array. In order to make mine larger enough for my mother's use, I decided to create two rows of pieced fabrics for each color (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Turquoise, Light Blue, Purple, and Pink), with white in between.
This is a lot of color to through into my mother's life (and decorating scheme), so I decided to make a more muted backing that still ties to the front scheme. A while back I had ordered a ton of Lotta Jansdotter's fabulous Kita fabric, intending to use it for drapes, but we ultimately decided that the print was too small a scale for the room we had targeted. Such a sad thing it is, having 8 yards of fabric without a purpose! So I used that fabric for the backing, with a panel of color strips.
This quilt still needs to be quilted and bound (see below for explanation of that), but it should be about 63" x 63". I know that usually only baby quilts are square, but I find them a satisfying shape for a cuddle on the couch quilt.
What's more fun than doing just one large quilt just before Christmas than doing another one! I decided to do a quilt for my brother and his wife, who live up in Boston. I had made another lap-sized quilt for them a few years ago. I wanted to do something that would fit well with their lovely 1920s' home and balance both a masculine and feminine aesthetic. I found several versions of the quilt online of the quilt I've made for them, although can't find a source, so I apologize for not giving credit to the original designer. If you're out there, let me know and I'll give you proper credit!
UPDATE: Thanks IPatchandQuilt for letting me know that Ludlow Quilt and Sew calls this the Shadow Box pattern.
I was originally going to use the Kona slate grey for all the shadows, but had a brief, panicked meltdown when I thought I didn't have enough for the whole quilt. Karen, as always, stepped in with both a calming influence and a great idea, suggesting that I alternate the slate grey Kona with the Lotta Jansdotter Kita. I later realized that I actually did have enough of the slate to have done the whole quilt, but I found I preferred the alternating light and dark shadows.
For the backing, I used a similar approach as with my mom's quilt. My back was starting to act up, so Karen took over the sewing. She came up with yet another great idea and created a patchwork panel using all the fabrics from the front, set between Kita. This quilt also needs to be quilted and bound, but should be 62' x 72'.
They were both quite a hit at Christmas, even though they each remain unquilted and unbound. And now for that story . . . What I have not yet mentioned is that this great inspiration to make these two quilts was five days before Christmas. Knowing that we would be driving to my mother's on Christmas Eve, that left only four days to get it all done. Apparently my back and shoulder didn't quite like non-stop marathon sewing sessions, so I hit the wall. I woke up on Christmas morning and couldn't raise my arm above my shoulder.
So, dear readers, I have likely overwhelmed you with too much quiltery after so much radio silence. But my chief 2015 quilting resolution is to get back quilting and get back to blogging, so stay tuned for much more soon! Lots to report!!