Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I was hoping to have my gray and yellow quilt finished for the Blogger's Quilt Festival--as you can see that did not happen! But I was having a lot of fun looking at everyone else's quilts, so I decided to go back in the archives and pull out... the first quilt I made! It's not perfect, but it is still my favorite (so far).

I made this quilt for my best friend when she had her baby this past March. The colors are her choice and match the nursery. She didn't know I was making her a quilt, and she was so excited! Judging by the frequency with which it shows up in pictures of the baby, I think it was a hit.

The back is flannel, as I remember my own quilt from childhood having a flannel back and loving my "fuzzy quilt." I hope that little E (and her mama!) will enjoy her quilt for many years!

All Framed Up Baby Quilt
40" x 40"(ish)
Made: March 2012
No special techniques used
Pattern: "All Framed Up" by Melissa Corry
Quilted by me!
Best category: baby quilt, scrap quilt

Thanks for stopping by! I'm looking forward to working my way through many of the other quilts in the festival!

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

MY Baby Quilt!

A crazily busy month has meant that I've done very little sewing, and I'm currently back in Nebraska to visit my grandparents and mom, and particularly my grandma who isn't doing so well. I am really grateful to have made it back to see her for possibly the last time, even though it is difficult to see her like this.

But while I'm back at my mother's, I spied my very first quilt at the bottom of the bed and decided it deserved a little post of its own!

I had a few more pics, but for some reason, Blogger keeps uploading them with the additions of large neon stripes. This one miraculously emerged unscathed on the fourth try.

My aunt made this for me when I was born, and I slept under it for pretty much every childhood nap that I can remember. The back is bright pink flannel, and I always loved that it was "fuzzy." The fabrics are very 1980s (which makes sense, I suppose!), but the pattern is timeless and I have always loved it. It is so well loved and well washed that it feels like butter (in a soft way, not a greasy way!) I never once noticed (before becoming a quilter) that some of the seams don't match quite right and that there really is very minimal quilting (she outlined a few of the "around the worlds.") There's a good lesson in there--our recipients really don't mind or even notice the imperfections, they just love that they had a quilt made for them. I think that's true even if the recipient isn't a child. It's a good reminder to just enjoy the process of making and the act of giving (to others or to yourself!) and to realize how immaterial the small imperfections are.

Hope you are all having a lovely week! I'm hoping to maybe finish up my yellow and gray quilt in time to enter it into the Bloggers Quilt Festival, but class and Hurricane Sandy may conspire against me! Then again, if I can get it quilted and the binding on, there are worse ways to ride out a hurricane power outage than by finishing the hand binding of a quilt. :) Outdoor photographs may be out of the question though!

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Basting in the Basement

I finally got around to basting my gray and yellow quilt! I don't have any hard surfaces in my apartment except my tiny kitchen and tiny bathroom, so I decided to take my quilt here:

The basement of my building, where my office is also located! I felt a little silly carrying a Swiffer and all of my various supplies across the Arts Quad, but hey, it worked. It was so much easier than trying to do it on carpet! A few of my fellow grad students wandered by and were very interested in what on earth I was doing crouched in front of the pop machine. :)

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

WIP: Embarking on Embroidery

It's been a crazy month-- my boyfriend arrived for a five day visit on my day on the blog hop, then he left, then three days after that, my brother and sister-in-law arrived for their own five day visit! Mix in trying to stay on top of my teaching and writing in with that, and well, very little sewing has occurred. Plus, I had to clean my sewing mess off of my dining table. :) In spite of that, it was fantastic to have all of the visitors, and I had a wonderful, if exhausting, two weeks.

However, I did venture into embroidery for the very first time! I found an amazing beginner series at Wild Olive and went to town. Seriously, it's a great series for the beginner-- it answered every one of my questions, with easy-to-follow instructions and lots of pictures. If you're new to embroidery like I am, you should definitely check it out!

But I bet you want to see what I made, right?

I made a label for my gray and yellow wedding quilt that is still languishing in WIPland! It took far less time than I thought it would. I might not do it for every quilt, but it's a nice option for particularly special quilts, I think.

Also, does anyone else weirdly enjoy French knots? I think they're really fun to make, but it's possible I'm just strange.

I've seen a lot of beautiful photos from Utah since everyone is posting stuff from Sewing Summit, but I'd like to give a shout out to  central New York's fall, because it's totally killin' it this year.

Sometimes it blows my mind that this is in a town where I live.

Oh! I also started a rock climbing class through the university last weekend. It's all women (by design), which is pretty cool, and it's so much harder than I imagined it would be! The wall is made of natural rock, so it's substantially more slippery than most indoor climbing walls. When it came time to belay from the top, I remembered that I find heights terrifying, and I had to close my eyes in order to get myself to step off of the top off the wall (I can't explain why that was somehow less scary to me!) Yet as you can see, I survived, and I have five more weeks of a grueling 3.5 hour class! Hopefully that survival rate continues. ;)

Linking up with Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday!

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Well then, let's do it! Let's Get Acquainted!

"I've been waiting for this moment, all my life."

Plum and June

Apologies to Phil Collins. And, it's not strictly speaking true, either. But ever since I serendipitously stumbled upon Beth's blog hop when I started blogging in May, I've been really looking forward to my day on the hop! It's been so fun to read everyone else's "Getting to Know You" tidbits (I am so nosy) and to discover a lot of other wonderful bloggers! Many thanks to Beth for getting the party started. Be sure to check out Patricia's blog today, and Martha's and Melissa's from earlier this week.

My name is Catherine (I show up as "Books_Bound" in your comment sections, so see, you've already hit some big paydirt by reading this) and I am a PhD student at Cornell University. I was born and raised in Nebraska, and I still consider it my "real" home. I grew up sewing (unwillingly--my mother is a Home Economics teacher and forced me to sew yearly projects for 4-H. "Forced" is exactly the right word, too) but didn't start quilting until this past January. I had created a list of "27 Things to do while 27" and one of them was "try quilting." So I did--I took an introductory class a a wonderful local store, and here I am! It's a wonderful diversion from school.

My projects thus far! I'm not prolific, but I hey, it's about the process, right?

I tend to love all of the projects I've done (vanity?), but so far, I've only kept a bag and a half-finished mini! I'm going to make a quilt for myself one of these days, I promise. I just think it's so fun to give stuff away, particularly if you've made it just for that person and according to their likes and personality. It might be my favorite part of quilting. My least favorite part is the cost. Boo. :(

"I'll take 'Potpourri' for $200, Alex"

Well, ok then.

Favorite game show: Surprise! It's Jeopardy. I even got to go to an audition last month! It was very fun, but I'm pretty sure I didn't make the cut. This year. Now that I've gone once, I'm bound and determined to get on there someday.

Life ambition: Marry well and buy all the fabric I want. And clothes. Wow, I love clothes.

Backup Plan: Teach college.

Backup Plan C: Be an extremely educated Starbucks barista.

Favorite sewing tip: Respect the rotary cutter.

What I'm doing in two weeks: Taking a rock climbing course.

Favorite sport to watch: College football (Go Nebraska Cornhuskers!) I love it. I like tennis too, but only if they aren't grunters. Which most are, so I like tennis on mute.

Coolest place I've been: China (2006) or Argentina (2004). I love traveling. I have an ideal schedule for it. But I have no money. Life is cruel.

Craziest thing I've learned since blogging: That Brits call throw pillows "cushions." It took me awhile to figure that one out.

Favorite thing about blogging: Honestly? I love looking at the stats page where it says from which country people are viewing your blog. Since I can't travel, I find it awesome that my blog is at least getting some play in Iceland, India, Japan, etc.

Most overused punctuation: Exclamation points. It's a sickness. I'm working on it.

That's probably enough, right? If you need more, check out my "About Me" section or my "Completed Projects" section! Thanks a lot for stopping by, and be sure to check out my very first tutorial for my Matt and Kim pillow!

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Matt and Kim Pillow

This is the Matt and Kim pillow! Probably the easiest pillow on the planet, but hey, it's cute, right?

Why Matt and Kim? They sing this fun song called "Block after Block" which I always think about when sewing. It's such a peppy song, it always makes me happy. So here's a happy pillow named after a happy song.

You will need:
--1 20" pillow form
--3/4 yard background fabric (that's the cream color in this one)
--22" by 22" square of muslin
--22" by 22" square of batting
--3/4 yard pillow back fabric
--32 2 1/2" squares of fabric (mini charm packs would work great!) You might also want to have two 2 1/2" x 1" scraps for the end of the middle row. They'll barely show.



Sew together two rows of eleven squares. Sew together one row of ten squares and add the small scraps to each end of that row. Use a 1/4" seam allowance, and press open.

After your rows are sewn together, arrange them like this, with the eleven-square rows on the top and bottom. 

Stagger the squares so that the seams of the middle row line up with the middle of the blocks above and below them.

Stitch the rows together. You should now have a pretty ribbon 6.5" wide and a little over 21" long.

Cut the background fabric into two pieces that are each 8" x 21." Sew one rectangle to the top of your rows with a 1/4" seam, and the other rectangle to the bottom row.

Trim your patchwork piece to 21" square. (Note: this will result in a 20.5" finished pillow cover, so there is a little bit of room in the pillow case. If you want it more snug, trim to 20.5", but I'm just nervous about stuff like that.)

Baste your patchwork with the batting and the muslin on the back. Quilt as desired.

Out of the pillow backing fabric, cut two rectangles, each 21" x 26". Fold them in half so that they measure 21" x 13". Sew 1/8" along the folded edge. 

Place your quilt sandwich face up on a flat surface. Take one rectangle of backing fabric and align the three unfinished edges with the edges of the quilt sandwich. (The folded, stitched edge should run parallel to the pretty squares section.) Repeat with the other rectangle on the other half of the pillow. (Note: if your backing fabric is directional, pay attention to that now.)

Pin the edges of the backing to the sandwich, and stitch 1/4" all the way around.

Turn the case inside out, sharpen the corners with a corner turner or a chopstick, and press the edges to make them crisp.

Ta-da! A happy, pretty pillow to make you happy.

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