Accomplishments of August

I have had a sweet, sweet month of time off. The boys of course have been off from school, my summer term ended at the end of July, my summer job was only for the month of July, and church commitments were much lower in August as well. So, what to do with my time???

I spent a significant amount of time in my sewing room, that’s what! At any given time, I have projects at many various points of completion – quilt tops that are being finished, that are being quilted, tops that are done – but not yet in the quilting phase, in the process of being pieced, patterns that I’m cutting fabric for, that I’m gathering fabric for, that I’m planning on doing next, or that I’m dreaming of someday working on. This month, I’ve worked on projects in almost all of those categories!

Here are the things I worked on:

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This is a queen size quilt that I have been working on for far too long for a friend – Amanda Brown. The top has been done for a long time, but this month, I finally put the borders on it. Amanda’s mom, Sandy Brown, took it to a quilter for the quilting to be done and then I had the honor of putting the binding on to finish it.

I also completed a surprise for Amanda from the scraps leftover from her quilt. I put together a fun little wallhanging to go along with the quilt. This month, I did the quilting and binding. However, as is often the case, I forgot to take a picture of it before giving it away.

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I finished this quilt to start replacing some of our old quilts. I love these fabrics and this pattern. The colors are bright batiks with an Egyptian looking flair to them, so I chose to use a quilting pattern that worked well with that theme.

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I had just a small piece of this fun complementary piece with Egyptians walking to use on the back of the quilt. With the rest of the back in black, the quilting really pops out.

Another quilt top that has been done for a while that I finished and gave away before taking a picture was given to the Brydges Golf Benefit as a silent auction item. Hopefully, it will raise lots of money to be given to the Brydges Center in Nairobi, Kenya, to be used to develop a water delivery system to go with their new windmill. If you are local – you’ll get to see it if you come to the picnic next Sunday at Tartan Park.

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This is a quilt top that I’ve had done for a very long time. I am quilting this one with a double layer of batting so that it will be extra warm in our cold basement this winter while we watch TV. The applique flowers on the border were done by my best friend, Laura Potopa.

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It’s hard to see the quilting motif here. I had chosen a quilting motif and put it on about 12 of the blocks before realizing that I really hated what I had chosen. I actually took the time to tear all that quilting out, choose something else and start again. I like this one so much better.

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This patriotic quilt top has also been done for quite some time. I decided to get this one done now too. Each block uses a patriotic print in the center, and then a complementary border around it. Here’s a closeup of the quilting that I am using on it:

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I still have a large pile of other quilt tops that are ready to be quilted, but I can really only handle quilting two-three at a time. I actually only have enough safety pins for three. So, then I have to move onto some of the other categories.

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I have only done a little bit of piecing this summer, but this one has been really fun. This will be a wall hanging that will go on the wall in my living room when it’s finished. I love the crisp colors of the dusty blue and wintery white. I hope to hang it towards the end of fall – I better keep it out so I don’t forget I need to get it done!

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The next category is the projects I am cutting fabric for. The picture on the left shows the pattern’s sample. I am going to use the fabrics on the right. The dark blue will be the background, the batiks in the middle will be the large triangles and the marbles on the right will be the contrast between the triangles. I am getting this one ready to take to quilt retreat this fall.

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This will also go to quilt retreat with me. I have ordered a “layer cake” (40- 10″x10″ squares) that is the same fabric assortment as the “jelly roll” in the picture. Together, with a cream background, I will make the quilt shown on left. I think the purples and greens will create a much prettier quilt than the rusts, yellows and oranges in the pattern.

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This pattern is for a table topper that I saw online. I did the math and created my own pattern. The fabrics on the right are on audition for this pattern. I’m hoping to take this one to quilt retreat, too.

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This quilt is in the idea phase. I will be working on making a pattern soon. My friend, Beth Kromer, and I will be making these to use in preschool and Awana. The pockets come from upcycled jeans and will hold little surprises that together will help tell a story to the kids we work with. I’m excited for my first project with Beth!

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And the last category is to keep my momentum moving forward. I would like to start this pattern soon. I don’t have the time right now to spend getting fabrics pulled together from my stash, and I know I need to purchase the background fabric, so this one will just sit for a while. Maybe next summer when I am all done with school I’ll get back to it.

Hope you’ve enjoyed all the eye candy!

 

Current quilt project (one of several)

It’s been quite some time since I have blogged about my quilting. Rest assured, I am getting back into quilting full swing. During Tim’s illness and for the first 9 months or so after he was gone, I had very little desire to do anything creative. Now, the creative juices are beginning to flow again.

Quite some time ago, I went along with a friend to Mill End and ended up coming home with fabrics for myself (Lesson learned: don’t ever go with a friend unless you have the budget to handle a purchase of your own!!)

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This is what the quilt top ended up looking like:

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As you can see – I have 17 black squares that need to have something pretty spectacular quilted into them in order for the quilt to look halfway decent at all. After spending a good amount of time searching online for anything that could work as an Egyptian design, I had nothing to show for it. So, like a good quilter, I sat down and just started flipping through my books to see if I could find inspiration – which I did! I found a pattern for this table topper:

Egyptian quilt pattern 1

I really liked the lines it presented, which you can see a little easier here:

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I traced just the lines I thought I wanted onto tracing paper:

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But, what I had traced was only about 3 inches across. My black squares need a design that is 8″ square. So I enlarged the design, turned the original on its edge, put it in the middle of the enlargement and recopied it:

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Then I realized that the design was too cluttered, so I played around a little and took out some of the detail. I ended up with this as a final quilting design for the black squares:

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And here’s a pic of the first black square to get the Egyptian design put on.

Egyptian quilting on a block

I used Signature M10 Variegated Citrus thread. It’s a perfect match!! I can’t wait to see all the black squares with this fun design!

(The table topper design and pattern are found in Weekend Quilting Wonders edited by Jeanne Stauffer & Sandra Hatch, published by House of White Birches, 2007.)

Playing the hostess

Tonight is my first “party” that I am hosting in our new home. I am SOOO excited to welcome the Sparks leaders from last year to come have a midsummer celebration of last year and a sneak peek at next year. I am looking forward to welcoming guests to our home to begin a new habit of hospitality in our home. (If nothing else, this habit will help to keep our home neat and tidy!)

I have also finished the second Eagle Scout quilt for a friend. We will be presenting it to her son tomorrow after church. I can’t wait to see if they like it. It is very much a brother quilt to the one I made for this Scout’s brother last year! I will post pics of it AFTER it has been presented to him tomorrow.

Other tidbits in our life: Luke is off earning a few bucks mowing a yard and then hanging out swinging his golf clubs with a friend. Micah is still recovering from his three weeks of intense activities. He’s currently taking a nap under his bed. Simon is prepping to go to camp with his best friend tomorrow. He’ll be gone for the week.

I am horribly behind on my seminary class. Summer is just not meant to be a time for serious academic pursuits! I struggle to get the motivation to read, think or write anything. I sure hope the grading is a bit lenient during summer term!

For those of you that are praying for my medical stuff – My MRI/MRA went just fine on Wed night. I am going in to consult with the neurologist on Monday, mid-day, to get the results. I don’t even know how to ask you to pray. Selfishly, of course, I would like them to see something that can be easily and quickly treated with ideal results. But more deeply than that I do desire that God be glorified in all things. I wonder at times if both can be attained, but I know that it is not always so.

Prayer warriors – please also pray for Luke just now. He is very much like a boat that has lost its anchor. He really seems to be drifting in and out of things that are not good choices. He very much misses his dad and has not yet found his way to anchoring himself in Jesus yet. I am daily praying that Christ covers him in heavenly protection until Luke finds his way to Him.

I’ve seen two Eagles

My new house is so beautiful. We are set right into the most gorgeous display of nature – we’ve seen deer, wood ducks, muskrats, geese and more. But what I find the most admirable is the two Eagles I’ve watched – Eagle Scouts that is!

I am now in the thick of my second Eagle Scout display quilt. And the most awesome part of it all is that the second Eagle Scout is the younger brother of the first one! Micah Fernandez has earned his Eagle Scout achievement and will be celebrating in just a few weeks – which certainly doesn’t give me much time to get his wall quilt finished, but I am working away to get it done in time.

Since Micah has been in Scouts a little longer than his older brother, Luke, he has a few more badges, so his quilt will end up a bit bigger. I’ve adapted the design of the first one to make a matching, but slightly different design for this display. I truly feel privileged to be part of this celebration at all, let alone as the designer and maker of his display quilt.

Here is a bit of a sneak peek:

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If you happen to know Micah or his parents, Kevin and Kari, be sure to congratulate him on this defining achievement!

Back to Quilting

Originally, this blog was created to primarily show pieces of quilting that I was working on and finishing. Ha Ha…

God had another plan! About 4 months after starting Life Stitches, my life’s stitches came apart! And so (sew, lol), I have used this blog in a very different way than I had first thought I would.

But now, I am excited to share a bit about my quilting again. I haven’t done much quilting over the past couple years, but I hope that will change once I’m in my new house. My sewing room there is so beautiful – I hope to be spending a lot of time there.

And to kick it all off -

Last week, a friend took me to Mill End with her, she needed to pick up supplies for a quilt retreat she was going on. I was just along for the ride – or so I intended. UNTIL I started looking at the batiks. Just one caught my eye, then I noticed another one that was similar, then I saw the same one in a different color, then I found the central piece to the set, and on and on it went until I came home with this:

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I really have no pattern in mind for these fabrics – so if you are a quilty friend and can think of the perfect pattern – please let me know your thoughts! I am planning for this to be my first creative project in the new sewing room. That should give me the motivation I need to pack up this house and get to the new house! (Unless I go fabric shopping again…)

Spring Quilt Retreat

Quilt Retreat was last weekend. It was a marvelous get away for me. I am so thankful that I was able to pull all the details together for a short reprieve from my daily grind.

I spent time renewing friendships that have developed slowly over many quilt retreats. And yet, these friends are dear to me in their own way. Holly, Mary, Jane, Connie, Jean, and many others are women that I know only in November and March at Lake Beauty. But when they see me at camp, they come to put their arms around me for a weekend of restoring myself and relaxing. They understand if I cry, but enjoy laughing with me when the mood strikes.

This is the first year that I have actually slept in. On Sunday morning, I actually slept in until 10:00!!! I can’t even remember that last time I’ve slept that late. I slept right through breakfast! Good thing I thought ahead and brought my own muffins with me.

I was able to put together a twin size quilt, which I will blog about separately, the beginnings of a special quilt, which I’ll talk about in a second, and a crib quilt. All were fun projects to work on, and it was wonderful to just take my time and enjoy relaxing while working on them.

The special quilt is a gift that I gave today, so now I feel free to talk about it and share pics. A special young man earned his Eagle Scout today and his mom had asked if I could make a quilt that we could put some of his badges on. So I designed a quilt with a white star in the center of each block that we could sew his badges onto.

Here’s the God-moment. About three years ago, I had purchased some gold Scout fabric with the fleur-de-lis emblems on it. I really had absolutely no reason to purchase it as I have no Scouts in my family. I’ve had it in my stash ever since and done nothing with it. When Kari approached me with this idea, I immediately thought of this fabric. We pulled it out and were amazed to see that the fleur-de-lis actually have eagles in them!

After a couple of mid-project adjustments, we ended up with a project that this Eagle Scout will cherish for many years to come.

Luke's Eagle Scout Wall Hanging is 48" x 48". Kari wanted a patriotic theme, and the gold Scout fabric worked in perfectly.

The center of the quilt shows Luke's Order of the Arrow, Troop number, and the 100th Anniversary Eagle Scout badge, which is absolutely stunning.

 

 

This closeup shows an alternate block that we designed for the corners, as we had four larger badges that wouldn't fit in the star blocks.

This is the opposite corner, with probably my favorite badge. In the corner, there is a badge that shows a beautiful mountain and the phrase "Duty to God" written in the sky. Stunning and meaningful all at the same time.

 

 

Quilt Retreat

Ooohhh~ I am getting quite excited for my upcoming quilt retreat – it’s next weekend, the 16-18th.  I have about 6 or 8 projects that I’ll be taking with me. I’m excited that I will be taking a new/old friend to quilt retreat this time.

My best friend will just be returning from a trip to San Diego, so she decided to pass on quilt retreat this spring. Instead, I will be taking a friend that I have known for a long time. She used to attend my church years ago. I never really knew she was a quilter until recently. So, Jolyn and I will be off to Lake Beauty next Friday. It will be her first time coming to a Lake Beauty Quilt Retreat.

Three blessed days of being away. Spending some marvelous time with my Lake Beauty family. Spending time working on some quilting. Some me time. A friend pointed out last week that the only time I leave my house for myself is on Tuesday mornings for Bible study. I realized how true that was. And that makes me long for and look ahead to quilt retreat all the more.

For all you pray-ers out there: pray that Tim’s family arrives safely, as they will be staying here while I am gone. Pray that the PCA’s that come in the mornings and evenings will do a wonderful job of caring for Tim as they get him out and in bed each day. Pray that I would be able to completely relax while away. Pray that the boys will behave themselves while I am gone!

When I get back, I will post pics of at least some of the projects I work on while gone. And you can be sure that I’ll have a big smile on my face, too!