The Joy of Quilting

Quilting has lost some of its joy for me since my husband died. Before he died, I used to make baby quilts for just about every family member or acquaintance that was expecting a little one. It was something I enjoyed doing.

Somewhere along the way, I think people in my life began to get excited or started to expect to receive a quilt from me. I’ve had friends joke with me that they will have to have a baby in order to get a quilt from me. I tell them it’s probably true. I like baby quilts — they’re done before I get bored of the project and I can quilt them easily enough myself. I don’t like sending out my quilts to be quilted… I’m self-conscious about my piecing and basting.

This past year I made the painful decision to sell the home my husband and I bought together, brought our baby home from the hospital to, the place my husband breathed his last breath. I finished two quilts I had in progress before I had to pack up and move. A friend of mine was having a baby shower about a month after my move and try as I might, I didn’t get the quilt done before the move and afterwards I was up to my eyeballs unpacking a three bedroom home by myself and helping my eighteen month-old son adjust. I just didn’t have the energy or inclination to quilt. At the shower I gave her another gift and apologized that I didn’t have time to make her a quilt… probably the first time in seven years I came to a baby shower without one. Mom-to-be was very gracious and told me not to worry, she understood all that was going on in my life. Her mother (grandma-to-be) then joked that I still had the first year to deliver the quilt (a joke about gift etiquette, I suppose?).

For some reason that really took the wind out of me. I’ve always viewed my quilts as a labor of love given to people I care about in order to be cherished. When I start a project I usually have a recipient in mind and I think about them the whole time I’m working on it. I don’t want it to be viewed as an item on a list people expect to receive. I’m not explaining it well, but it’s bothered me ever since. I know my friend would hate to know her mother’s comment affected me this way.

Recently, a good friend of my late husband’s had his first baby with his wife. I was inspired to quilt again; I knew my husband would have loved for me to make one for them. I chose a very simple but cute pattern and started choosing and cutting fabrics. Unfortunately, I think the walls in the new house must be thinner because the sewing machine seems to wake my son up at night. I’m getting frustrated with quilting again.

I have so many projects I want to do, but so little energy and time. I think that’s a dilemma all quilters face though, especially those with young children. April Rosenthal recently posted this paper piecing tutorial I want to try. Maybe if I switch between a few projects, I will be less frustrated. I’m not used to working that way but it seems to work for a lot of quilters. I’m going to give it a try.

WIP Progress:
– Mike’s T-shirt Quilt: Shirts picked, need to decide on design and backing/background fabrics.
– Baby Young Quilt: Cut, need to finish piecing

Another Project

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When I was working on the many flying geese units for my Sunburst Quilt, I thought about tossing the so-called “bonus triangles,” but there ended up being so many that I kept them in this tin. I know Ive heard of others using these HST and I thought I might, too. Lord knows I need more fabric added to my scraps pile [not really] so I hope I can come up with a project for these soon. Jean over at QuiltSocial has some good ideas. If you have any ideas feel free to share them! Hopefully this can be a project I can work on for some time like I intended for the Meet in the Middle project. 😛 Oh well, best laid plans!

So Much For Taking My Time

Well, my Meet in the Middle project went way faster than I anticipated. It took me no time at all to cut out all of the strips I needed. I didn’t follow the instructions exactly… instead of finding 10″ long strips in my scraps stash, I grabbed a bunch of different sized strips and cut them to be 2.5″ wide and at most 10″ long. Most of my rows have more than 5 different fabrics in them, making the quilt a lot scrappier looking. Now I’m trying to decide on a background fabric.

The first picture is the fabric that I had in mind for this project. It’s a nice, dark charcoal grey. But the pattern calls for white fabric so I thought I’d pull out some white prints I have and see if I liked any of those. The second picture is a white print with navy blue stars, moons and planets. I kind of like how that one looks, too. The third picture is a white print with rainbow colored dots (if you click the picture you’ll be able to see it more clearly). The last one is a blue grid with rainbow colored hearts and stars on it. The last two fabrics are actually from my mom’s stash… she bought them for my nursery over 30 years ago! Who knows what she intended to do with them but clearly she never got around to it.

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Well, while I am deciding I can start cleaning up the mess I made going through my scraps… Getting this big ol body down on the ground and picking them up sure is going to be a challenge! Any volunteers? 🙂

A New Project

Another week is starting, which means I’m another week closer to meeting our little guy. I’m 38 weeks pregnant now which means I will go into labor any day now (I hope). My sister was late with both of her children and my mom was late with at least one of hers, so who knows when I will go into labor!

My best friend and I at her wedding this August, I'm 34 weeks pregnant.

My best friend and I at her wedding this August, I’m 34 weeks pregnant.

I was telling my husband the other day that I feel a little adrift and weird in this “in between” stage. All year I’ve had projects to occupy my time: last December DH was diagnosed with cancer again so we had his treatments to go to each week; that ended in August when he had his surgery. Now he’s at home recovering. Also in December my best friend’s now husband proposed, I helped her plan a winery wedding here in Temecula so that took up a lot of my time until the wedding happened on Aug 29. In February of this year I found out I was expecting our first child, so I was busy planning and making items for his nursery, his quilt and making quilts for family members before he arrived.

Now what am I supposed to do! DH is thankfully cancer free for the moment and recovering, so we’re only going to the hospital once a month instead of once a week; Vanessa’s wedding is over so I don’t have that to occupy my time; Henry’s nursery is done, his diapers are ready, his car seat is in the car, all of the little projects I wanted to finish before he made his entrance are done… I know I should be getting plenty of rest and I do try to, but I’m bored stiff!!

So I decided to start a new quilt, the Meet In the Middle/Springhouse pattern that Kelli & Jo over at Jo’s Country Junction wrote. It looks nice and easy and a great scraps buster. I have no expectations for finishing it anytime soon and I’m not going to push myself to get it done at any particular point. It will be nice to have something I can easily pickup as I have the time and inclination. Here’s my “Design Wall” this week:

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A pile of lovely 2.5″ strips waiting to be sewn together! I love the scrappiness of the original and I think mine will be even more scrappy. I might even use a dark background since I’m fresh out of white fabric at the moment.

I’m linking up over at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday. Click on over to see what others are up to.

Finishing Up

This week I was able to finish up the last of the sunburst blocks, so I’m reaching the home stretch for this quilt. I’m following a pattern from the Moda Bake Shop blog. I picked it because I thought it would go fast and it did. I’m glad it went so quick, I really wanted to have it done before baby arrives and it’s looking like that’s going to happen. Here’s what my design wall looks like today:

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I was able to find some white fabric in my stash, it’s still a good thing that I used the dotty fabric though because I ran out of the white fabric before I finished all the sashing! I ended up digging through my scraps bin to find enough to finish it all off. Now all I need to do is decide on binding and backing fabrics, then baste, quilt, bind & label and it will be ready to ship to its new owner!

I’m linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday. Head over and check out what others are up to this week!

A Productive Weekend

This pregnancy is rolling right along, right now I am at 36 weeks pregnant, just about a month to go. Some days I am full of energy and am able to get lots of housework and errands done. Some days I am too tired and only do the bare minimum. And then there are other days I am in too much pain or discomfort to do it all, even though I have the will and the energy!

This weekend I was able to finish my baby’s quilt, I am so relieved to have it done! Mike’s cousin is also pregnant right now with a little girl. She’s not due until December but I’d like to try to finish a baby quilt for her before Henry gets here. I’m sure I won’t have time once he arrives! I found this pattern for this Sunburst Quilt over at the Moda Bake Shop and thought it looked simple enough. I had thought about doing a quick granny squares quilt for the baby but this one looks a little more fun. I was able to whip through 6 blocks on Saturday and Sunday:

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Turns out I didn’t have any acceptable white fabric in my stash, so I’m using this dotty fabric I have left over from Henry’s quilt instead. And turns out I don’t have enough of this fabric either so I’m going to have to get creative! It will end up being a fun, scrappy quilt. I’m linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

22 weeks

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It’s a little bit difficult to take bump pictures of one’s self, but I tried! Here I am at 22 weeks along. We found out that we are having a baby boy and he’s already started kicking around in my belly! I’ve started planning his nursery, it’s going to be a rustic woodland theme. I got the idea after seeing Bonnie Christine’s Hello Bear collection, I am absolutely in love with it!

Hello, Bear!

Hello, Bear!


I’ve ordered fabric to make crib sheets, diaper pad covers and a quilt. I think I need some more fabric but I need to decide what quilt pattern I’m going to do with it before I decide to buy more!

It’s such an exciting time for us, but we are still having to make weekly trips to the hospital for Michael’s cancer treatment. I had hoped we would be farther along in treatment by now, but infections have prevented Michael from making regular progress; he has had to take chemo breaks to let his body fight infections. We’re trying to stay positive though. For more information on Mike’s cancer, read the cancer tag.

Since I’m blocked on the baby’s quilt, I started on another project in the meantime. Here is a work in progress shot:

It is a LOT of applique, but I am looking forward to the challenge!

Design Wall Monday

I’m still working on this project that I started around Halloween (jeez, was that almost 5 months ago??) Last Thursday night I finished cutting the squares and started assembling the blocks…

Design wall

So that’s what’s on my Design Wall today! There are 100 blocks in this quilt, but depending on the size (I’m not a great planner :blush: ) I may cut that down and make it a bit smaller. We’ll see.

I’m linking up over at Patchwork Times. Head on over and see what others are working on!

Cutting away…

Cutting, cutting, cutting and I have tons of little squares to show for it!

Work in progress.

I’ve actually started putting blocks together, too. I’ll be posting what I have so far on Monday for Design Wall Monday.

I wanted to get an entire row done before I stopped for the night last night, but I didn’t feel like sewing anymore around 8:30. After getting totally burnt out on quilting at the end of 2011, I haven’t done much quilting. I finished 11 quilts that year and then in 2012 I didn’t even get to half that, only 5 completes (honestly, I’m surprised it was that many!).

This year I want to build my love of quilting again, doing it not because I feel like I have to because someone is having a baby or getting married, but because I really WANT to. So little of my life is made up of things that I want to do or enjoy doing; I don’t want my hobbies to become a chore, too.

Look out for the finished blocks on Monday! 🙂

Starting a new project

Hmm... what am I up to? ;)

After not quilting pretty much all summer (except to finish the granny squares quilt) I’ve got the bug again. I kept seeing everyone’s tweets and posts about Quiltmarket and got inspired again 🙂 I decided to replicate this quilt I’ve had pinned for a while:

Should be a nice and easy pattern to get me back into the swing of things. I’m using scraps and fabric from my stash, unless I need more white. Don’t think I will, I bought a ton for the Granny Squares quilt and didn’t use half of it.

I’m hoping this one will go quickly since I want to have it done by Christmas, but I’m not holding my breath 🙂