Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 Trunk Show

In November of 2016, I stumbled upon Soma of Whims and Fancies, who had the brilliant idea of hosting an online trunk show so bloggers can virtually display their quilts and other sewn items. I put together a trunk show of my 2016 finishes, and now I'm going to get a start on my 2017 trunk show by posting photos and links to posts here.

My first finish of the year was made for a little guy born the day (shy of eight years) before my son. Zeke was adopted by D's dance teacher at school and her husband. She has instilled a love for dance in my son I didn't think possible is such a science and math obsessed kid, so I had to make her a quilt! I had the idea of making a quilt that could be used for monthly photos, but the numbers were a perfect fit for someone who counts to eight all day! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Quilt #73: Zeke's First Year Quilt

A few months ago, I made a baby quilt for my friend Erin's baby. I was typically slow so Immy was a few months old by the time I got started on her quilt. In the mean time I was stalking her page for inspiration. 

She posted monthly photos of her baby on a muslin swaddling blanket like this one from Batzkids
Please don't pin this image from here. Pin (and buy!) from the source
I thought the idea was so clever. I knew I had to make a milestone quilt, but wanted to change up the look a little bit. One quilt that keep popping up in my searches is this one from the talented Kitty at the Night Quilter. She made a quilt block for each month of her son's first year, then took pictures with the blocks each month. Such a cute idea. I wish I had known how to quilt when my son was a baby. And now I want to make a turquoise and black log cabin quilt!

Please don't pin this image from here. Pin from the source.
As I browsed Pinterest, I saw lots of alphabet quilts, but numbers seemed to be left out of the fun. All the more reason to make a number quilt! 

I have a few baby quilts in my queue for littles who may be one by the time I finish their quilts. That's part of the reason I don't tell anyone I'm planning to make them a quilt because it may take years for me to get around to it. (Just ask my brother!) Plus, I just don't have the time to make quilts for everyone I think deserves a quilt! For this quilt to work as a milestone quilt, I had to finish it before a baby turned two months. (I figured if I gifted the quilt a little after the first month, mama could still get the picture taken). All I needed was a new baby!

When I learned that our son's dance teacher at school adopted a newborn, I knew just who would get this quilt. The fact that it was for a dance teacher's son was absolutely perfect. As I started playing around with a design I think I was subconsciously inspired by the playing platform of Dance Dance Revolution!

My initial design looked like this, with alternating blocks using royal blue for the numbers and frames.

I thought the frames might be mistaken for zeroes, so I played with a few other options. 

After deciding on the navy outline, I second-guessed my fabric choice for the inner square.

I love, love, love the heart print and think it's perfect for a boy quilt, but I realized it's too busy to go with main print.

All vacillating complete, I was able to quickly make the blocks. My housekeeper, who is also a quilter, made me this 12" x 12" mini-design table that is just right for moving pieces from my cutting area to my sewing table.

In no time, I had all 12 number blocks up on my board. 

Once I saw the numbers on my design wall, I had another idea. If I placed the numbers like a clock, then baby could be placed under the appropriate number to indicate her age in months.

I superimposed a photo of my now-eight year old on my design to see how it could work. I may have gotten something in my eye at this point.

Once the blocks were pieced, I opted not to put a border on it because it was already 45" x 45".

My backing fabric was not quite wide enough on its own so I added a few stripes. 

I quilted a giant spiral starting in the center block. Quilting is still the part that I need to improve most when I don't use straight lines, but practice makes perfect. (Seems there's a dancing analogy there, too)

I made my binding while I was finalizing my fabric choices and layout. I've been using my second spool holder for a while now to hold my binding as I attach it. This time, I had the idea to wrap it around an empty spool. Not only does it work great on the spool holder, but it didn't unravel or get tangled before I used it.

For the label, I added the adoption symbol. The points of the triangle represent the birth mom, child, and adoptive family, all connected by love. (I love the way Jane from They Call Me Jane explains what the symbol means to her).

If I'm able, it usually make a taggie blanket to go along with my baby quilt. In this case, it was the perfect way to provide a frame for this milestone quilt. 

When I trimmed the backing, I had the perfect design for a little pillow. 

While we were taking photos, D, who always wraps his love in each of my quilts as we pray a blessing over the recipient, wanted to make sure I point out that the quilt works as a milestone quilt for big kids, too. 

All the self-doubt aside, this was a fun quilt to make. I've already started thinking of how I can make another one. I made a quick template with fabric from Falling for Alex

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for  #ZekesFirstYearQuilt  on Instagram. If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

One Monthly Goal: January 2017

Wow. 2017. Time for a fresh start. 2016 was a rough one for our world. Let's hope 2017 brings more peace and joy. 

So last month, I participated in Elm Street Quilt's One Monthly Goal for the first time. I had a list of items, but my ONE month goal was to start and complete a quilt for a teen girl who lost her home to fire on election day.

When I posted the goal, the quilt looked like this on my EQ7:

I had also pulled fabric from my stash and purchased the backing fabric.

So how did I do? I finished it and I love how happy and cheerful it turned out!

Now, if you're curious about the other items on my list. I made a little headway.

  • Finish the Minion quilt (binding and label) - DONE!
  • Make the Scattered quilt (shown above) - DONE!
  • Stella's quilt - I'm closer to landing on a pattern.
  • Auburn quilt- I didn't do a thing
  • Mystery Quilt - Completed clues one, two, three, and four.
  • Christmas charity quilt - DONE!
  • Teacher gifts - Done! I don't have a photo, but I made a few Cleveland Cav items for D's teacher, who is a big fan of the team.
  • Replenish fidget supply. I didn't do a thing.
  • Make magnetic fidget. Didn't touch it.
  • Car quilt. Done!
  • Birthday shirt for D - DONE!

  • Birthday shirt order  - DONE!

  • PJs for Mom - Done!  The heat transfer vinyl is metallic so hard to photograph without shine. 
  • Open Etsy Shop? Still pondering.
  • Put craft table on casters? Ran out of time.
Considering how crazy busy December is for us, I'm feeling pretty good about my progress. Even more so because I spent a decent number of days recovering from a rotary cutter accident! It happened on the 4th and while the stitches have been removed and the wound has closed, I'm still having trouble bending it and the nerve endings are still healing. Looks like I'll be following up with the hand surgeon again.

I spent the last week of the year on a 4,000 mile road trip from Ohio to Arizona and back again. Now time with my machine, but I did start basting some hexies. So, on to January and 2017. What are my goals?

  • First year quilt: finish
  • Auburn quilt: start and finish
  • Stella's quilt: design and start
  • Mystery quilt: catch up and keep up
  • Bee Hive 2017: complete first month block
  • Charity quilt: Russian orphanage
  • Hexies: total of 100
  • Replenish fidget supply
  • Make magnetic fidget
  • Sketch out rocket blanket
  • Car poncho
  • Open Etsy Shop?
  • Put craft table on casters?
And my One Monthly Goal? The first year quilt. It's an idea I'm still working out, but hope to finish up this baby quilt by the 8th when I give it to one of our son's teachers, who just adopted a baby boy born December 8.

Now it's time to get started!

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Quilt #15: Not a Tree Skirt

I started my first quilt in March of 2013. It has been two months shy of four years since those first stitches. As I am writing this post, I am working on my 73rd quilt. With each quilt, I learn something new. Sometimes it's a game changer, like when I learned how to trim up fabric and cut in strips. (How did I make those first five quilts?!) Sometimes it's a subtle confidence in improving my craft. Even when I struggle, I usually find a way to finish the quilt, muttering the mantra, "Finished is better than perfect."

My last finish of 2016 is actually the 15th quilt I started back in December of 2013. And it wasn't meant to be a quilt. It was intended to be a tree skirt! My favorite color is purple, so when I found purple Christmas fabric at Joann, I bought a yard, naively thinking that would be enough for my project.

I didn't finish it before Christmas so I set it aside for a few months to work on other things. When I pulled it out again, I was feeling pretty good until I ran out of the purple print.

Look how little my now 8-year-old is!
The BIG lesson I learned: fabric goes out of print! This is why quilters have big fabric stashes! We buy multiple yards of fabric at a time to avoid these problems! I checked ebay, Etsy, and all the fabric de-stash sites, but I couldn't find any more of the purple print.

So, what to do...

D thought I could make a quilt for Curious George. 

Then I found some peppermint fabric and tried to make it work, but I didn't like how it turned out.

So I shoved it in a closet for a few years. 

As Christmas got closer this year, I thought about it again and decided I could make a small quilt with it to be done with it. I ripped it all apart down to blocks and re-assembled it into this.

It was still pretty small, but nothing that a few borders couldn't fix. Fortunately, I still have plenty of the blue and green prints.

For the back, I found this minky at Joann and thought it was perfect.

I finished the quilt the day before we left to celebrate Christmas in Arizona with me mom. 

I was feeling a little frustrated as I quilted because of little annoyances like running out of thread, and my own general crankiness with it not being what I had originally wanted it to be. I had already decided to keep it, but I needed some happy memories with it, so we took it on a road trip. It was fun looking for the right photo opportunity.

1: Home in Ohio 2: A potty stop at a BBQ restaurant that smellled SO good in Kentucky 3: Our hotel in Nashville, Tennessee 4: A lodge-like welcome center in Arkansas, 5: Sunset somewhere in Oklahoma 6. Midnight in Texas 7. A windy welcome to New Mexico 8: A Navajo shop in Arizona where we talked with a woman about the code talkers 9: Mom's house!

It was a fun way to break up a very long road trip. Some of my favorite pictures were taken in Winslow, Arizona. 

But my very favorite picture was this one with mom's new puppy. Our son has been severely allergic to dogs all his life. We started him on desensitization therapy a few months ago and this trip would be our big test. We are all so thrilled that it has been a huge success!

The purpose of our trip was to celebrate one last Christmas at my mom's house and help her pack up 70 years of memories. The fact that D and Murphy became such good friends is a really nice bonus. 

We are about to head back home today and the quilt is filled with happy memories and Murphy cuddles. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

En Provence Clue 4

I'm very happy to say that after the craziness of two weeks ago, I had a very restful and productive week. I finished a quilt, which always makes me happy.

I also went back and wrote a post about my first finish of the year

I also finished a quilt top made of blocks of what was intended to be a tree skirt 3 years ago when I was a new quilter and didn't know that fabric went out of print. It's been sitting in my UFO pile forever so it feels great to have found a way to finish it. 

I found some fun minky for the back and got it sandwiched, but I don't think I'll quite finish it before the end of the year. 

But back en Provence...

I'm making good progress on the Quiltville mystery quilt. Clue 4 was released 3 days ago, and I finished it 2 days later. We'll be busy with the holidays over the next couple weeks so it feels good to be caught up before I get behind. 

This week we played with purple again--my favorite, using the tri-rec ruler sets--that I'm learning to love. I'm still a little leary of triangle-in-squares given that I sliced my finger so badly on the first set. On slashed finger news, I'm getting my stitches out tomorrow. I'm a little nervous because it's been just over two weeks and I still can't bend it all the way. And one of the stitches is ingrown. Ouch!

I'm only doing half the number of units because I'm making a smaller version of the mystery quilt. For this clue, I only needed to make 40 units. 

I don't know how many weeks of clues are coming, but it looks like we're getting close to making some blocks out of these units. In my project bin you can see that my yellows and greens haven't been touched yet. 

I saw how others played around with the units to try to guess what blocks we may create. Here are a few I made.

And here a couple more.

Previous posts for this quiltalong:

You can also follow me on Instagram at de Jong Dream House. To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #djdhenprovence.

In case I don't get another post up before Christmas, may your holiday season be full of wonder. 

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