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Paper Piecing

Rainbow Unicorn Goodness

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I’m going to let you all in on a little secret… I grew up with the real life Mary Poppins. It’s true! And yes, she’s just as wonderous and fantastical as you might think — I’m so fortunate to count her and her husband among my nearest and dearest friends.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I learned that they were expecting their first child. I cried happy tears, and then I got to work because this child needed the most amazing of quilts. Requirements included whimsy and rainbows. All the rainbows.

I plotted. I toiled. I stressed. I had a whole secret pinterest board dedicated to ideas. Seven months went by, but none of my designs really stuck with me. And then! It finally hit me — rainbow unicorn! BECAUSE OF COURSE RAINBOW UNICORN. Luckily for me, Kristy at QuietPlay had the perfect pattern.

In the flurry of sewing that followed, I choose a dark charcoal gray for the body, and the brightest of rainbows for the mane and tail. I also pulled two metallic fabrics for maximum sparkle: The background print is Whisper Stars from LizzyHouse (swoon!), and a silver Cotton + Steel for the hooves and horn.

I knew I needed to expand the 25″ unicorn block, but I was afraid to mess with its awesomeness.  I don’t like traditional quilt borders, and floating a 25″ square in a crib sized quilt created a vast expanse of negative space.  It stared me down from the design wall for at least two more weeks while I obsessed over a solution. In the end, I decided to offset the square with a few flying geese and a square in a square block. I added the extra flourish on just two corners, and I’m pretty pleased with the effect.

In the negative space, I quilted some wavy shapes that are somewhat similar to a topographical map. The unicorn’s fur is FMQ stippling, and the flying geese are hand-quilted in matching floss. The quilt is backed in a soft squishy flannel, and bound in dark charcoal.

I’m happy to report that the quilt has been put to work. Tummy time and childhood memories, here we come! 🙂

Linking up with CrazyMomQuilts, happy sewing!

 

Quilts For Pulse

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Boston Pride 2016This May we took our family to celebrate Boston Pride. We spent that rainy Saturday afternoon huddled under an umbrella with some of our closest friends, and watched the Pride Parade pass by in a flurry of rainbows, high fives, and hugs. I was reminded of my first march in the Boston Pride Parade back in 1998, and found myself reflecting on the progress that I have been so fortunate to witness.  Admittedly, there is still much progress to be made, but in those hours we celebrated one another. These are just a few of many happy photos that we took on that day.

Boston Pride CollageVery early the next morning, news broke of a massacre in an Orlando night club. We were out of town that day so I didn’t hear the news until late that night. But as the details emerged and the true nature of the crime was revealed, I found myself utterly broken.

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Months have passed since this tragedy, and words still fail me. But, thanks to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, I was able to put my hands to work in those first raw days and weeks; to be a small part of the change I want to see in the world. I am so very grateful to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild for organizing the #QuiltsForPulse quilt drive, and for giving me the opportunity to help mend some hearts (including my own!). It has been wonderful to see these rainbow messages of love and support pop-up across the internet.Quilts for Pulse Sew-in

A few friends came for a sew-in at my house, and helped to piece our quilt top. None of them had pieced a quilt block before (let alone paper pieced!), and I am so proud of them for tackling something out of their comfort zone. A special thank you to our husbands who distracted the children while we sewed.  For the quilt label, I included a quote from Lin Manuel Miranda’s Tony’s speech, who I feel said it best:

“And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside… Now fill the world with music, love, and pride.”

quilts-for-pulse-quilt-top-by-stitchifiedThis is one finish that I’m especially proud of. Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, happy Friday!

A Handmade Christmas

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Santa’s elves were especially busy this year. I entered what I lovingly dubbed the “Bonus Round” of Christmas making, and still managed to finish the very last present just before midnight on the 22nd. In previous years I’ve sewed past midnight on Christmas Eve, so I’m marking this year as a solid victory!

Here we have the Christmas toy line up in an early phase, before some of them had to go in the mail:

Handmade Christmas Toys, by Stitchified

The confetti yeti is the long lost twin of a yeti who now lives in California with my cousin. He is made from long shag faux fur and white fleece using the Confetti Yeti pattern. Working with faux fur should be a four letter word, but it’s done so we’ll use a ten letter word instead — Hallelujah!

The velveteen rabbit is for my niece, who is almost two. I’m sending along a copy of Margery Williams’s book as well (you can find my post with my feelings about this wonderful book here). Her bunny is made of cotton velour in fawn and baby pink; with organic cotton sherpa for his tummy and little cotton tail. I hope she loves him!

The little pink haired doll was commissioned by a close family friend for her granddaughter. I only just finalized the pattern for these dolls (based on a pattern by Jill Hamor of Bybido), and I was thrilled to put this together. More about dolls in the New Year!

The grumpy owl pincushion snuck into the Christmas line up, though he’s actually a belated birthday present. Oh, and he is missing his eyebrows in the photo lineup. He is made from Heather Bailey’s “Edgar Owl and Poe” pattern.  I love this pattern! There are a lot of little parts, but it all comes together in a really cool way. This is my third time making an owl, but my first time adding eyebrows. Here he is with his eyebrows, right before he jumped in the mail.

I love him and was very tempted to keep him! He has since joined my good friend MamaPeaches in her craft cave. Happy Birthday, MamaPeaches!

I also made two outfits for my niece’s collection of Monster High Dolls. At my SIL’s request, I tried to make the clothing a little more, um, modest. Not an easy task because because the whole process made me feel like a crotchety old lady saying things like “when I was a kid…”. Haha! The first dress is a sheath dress in yellow. The second dress (below) is a little halter top number with a vintage-inspired full skirt, and a little taffeta under-skirt to help fill out said skirt.The halter dress even accommodates her wings, so yay! Both dresses are fully lined. If anyone is interested in the pattern, please let me know. I didn’t make a formal pattern, but if there’s interest I could put one together.

Halter Dress for Monster High Doll, by Stitchifed

And the last of the toys include three little mice, who are pincushions to a few of my in-laws who are aspiring sewists! The pattern for these came from Love Patchwork and Quilting. Once they have pins in them, they can double as hedgehogs. Here’s an extra picture of the three of them ready for wrapping 🙂

Pincushion Mice, by Stitchified

DoubleGoosed Mini, by Stitchified

I even made a few things that weren’t toys! There’s this lovely mini quilt, which is a wall hanging for my mom’s office. I love this pattern (double goosed by Jeliquilts!) almost as much as I love Cotton + Steel, so it seemed like a good combination. I had a lovely time piecing this one – just some mindless stitching while I watched The Great British Baking Show on my iPad.

OMGMagicDreamCloud, by Stitchified

I also made a very special blanket with Nani Iro and wool batting. I am officially calling this blanket a “OMGMagicDreamCloud Blanket” because it is truly all of those things. If the materials weren’t so very very pricey I would make one for myself (and maybe make it three times as large!). I ordered the fabric way in advance from Japan, and almost panicked when I wasn’t able to find the wool batting online with Amazon Prime. I managed to find a package and get it delivered in time, but it was awfully close! If you’re interested in making your own OMGMagicDreamCloud Blanket, you can find the tutorial here.

 

Coarline Wristlets, by Stitchified

And last, but not least I threw together three Coraline wristlets for my daughter’s Montessori teachers. Swoon patterns are fantastic, though for me, there is always a little bit of a learning curve — I am not a bag maker! These came out just fine, though I did struggle with a wonky zipper on the first one I made. Sometimes it’s good to stretch yourself — I always learn a lot when sewing one of Alicia’s patterns!

 

Quilted Baby Lovey, by Stitchified

Even my oldest daughter got into the holiday making and sewed the baby a new lovey. She pieced the quilt top all by herself (seriously!) and backed it with some minky. I did handle the rotary cutter because she’s not allowed to use that until she’s 21! I also took care of the quilting and put the binding on, but still! Not bad for a freshly minted five year old!

Phew! As you can see, it was a very handmade Christmas over here. I loved making this year’s presents, though I am a little glad that crunch time is over.  Now it’s time to settle in with a nice scotch. Happy Holidays!

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday!

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I fell in love with the Arkansas Traveler block the very first time I saw it over on Freshly Pieced.  Since then I’ve seen so many beautiful versions pop up in the blogosphere, but I knew I needed more experience before I attempted it myself. Paper piecing and diamonds — whoa. I feel like I’ve been practicing for this very moment for months. Well, ready or not, I went for it!

As you may know, the Arkansas Traveler combines traditional piecing with paper piecing. You begin by cutting 60 degree diamonds (measured to the eighth of an inch!), and assemble them in groups of four. I went through a lot of layout variations in my head, but in the end I went scrappy.

This was my first time doing diamonds, but it was easier than imagined. I used my Perkins Ruler to show me where the scant quarter inch seam would fall, and used that to gauge where the dog ears should go. That seemed to work really well for me. I definitely still had to pay attention when lining up the diamond sets, but I only had to rip out a few seams.

Once the diamond sets are complete, they are set into the background via paper piecing. I’m happy to say that paper piecing came more naturally this time, and passed more quickly. It took me just a few minutes to do the paper piecing and trim up my four mini-blocks.

Matching up the points was definitely the toughest part of this block. I’m happy to say that my little Janome was able to push through the center seam with the papers intact. Thank you, Acufeed. That’s a lot of fabric and a lot of paper, but we chugged through it.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I matched up all the seams that I realized I had an error in one of my four mini-blocks. See that one in the upper left of the finished block? The paper must have slid on me while  I was paper piecing that bit. By the time I noticed it was way too late to fix.  I’m a little disappointed, but my sister made me promise not to go crazy making her quilt. So I’m resisting the urge to rip it all out and start over. Have I mentioned that my sister is amazing? Because she is.

Here’s a little status shot of my three blocks so far. I’m really pleased with how it is turning out!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced, which seems extra appropriate this week. I can’t thank Lee enough — this really is an amazing block, and it comes with a perfectly clear tutorial. Always an inspiration.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

 

Summer Solstice Quilt

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I’m officially dubbing this WIP the “Summer Solstice Quilt.”  As I mentioned in my earlier post, my plan is to combine several stars from Faith @FreshLemon’s Summer Sampler and Solstice Stars Series. See what I did there? Summer Solstice Quilt. Mmm hmm.

Well, after weeks of procrastinating I finally broke ground on my project. This was my first time foundation paper piecing, and I was so intimidated! I am a creature of habit and paper piecing seemed completely counter-intuitive.  I’m happy to report that everything went smoothly  despite my worrying, and I had a lot of fun! I think paper piecing might be my new favorite thing — it was so satisfying to watch the little bits come together.


My first star in my Summer Solstice Quilt is the Star of Mystery. I am so thrilled with how it came out! Unfortunately, I’m having a tough time getting a photo that is true to color. The midnight navy is reading as black… maybe my camera is trying to tell me something about 2AM photo shoots.

I will say that this block was hugely time consuming. It took an hour and some change to cut the pieces, and then another couple of hours to complete the various sections. After investing all that time I decided to baste the segments together first — just to make sure that  my points matched before joining them more permanently. I think the extra step paid off 🙂

Star of Mystery, all finished!

I’m feeling reinvigorated on this project. I can’t wait to start up my next block!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced