The little girl’s birthday quilt – a finish

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Here to share a little finish today. It’s my daughter’s birthday quilt. I might have been a teensy bit late in finishing it, considering her birthday was in June, but hey, still in the same calendar year.

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I do work well with deadlines, and recently my daughter laid one down: “Mom, I need this quilt by Monday,” she said.

No problem, I thought.

On Monday, I had it all done except hand stitching the binding down (which I planned to finish after the kiddies’ bedtime, while re-watching episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix). “Okay, Mom,” she said, “I’ll give you one more day. But I need it tomorrow. So you’re really going to have to work hard.”

I don’t know where she gets it.

usa_8402Anyway, we have a lovely little quilt ready for lots of teddy bear tea parties. It’s only 48 inches square, so it’s not really a bed quilt, hardly a throw, but great for playing with the dolls and snuggling. It features the very cute Heather Ross Tiger Lily fabric. I used the Picnic Basket pattern by Amy Friend for BasicGrey, which calls for two borders totaling six inches on each side. We were limited, however, by our need to use this cuddle fabric on the back, which was only a 54-inch piece. I tried some small borders, but it didn’t look good, so we just went with this. I didn’t want to miss the rare chance to use this coral-red cuddle fabric that we already had on hand — it’s a nice match I think.

usa_8425(“In this picture, I’ll be showing off the soft back of the quilt,” she said.)

For binding, I saw a stack of fabrics lying sad around my room, looking kinda coral-pink-ombre, and so I put them to work. They are enjoying their new life.

usa_8395This is the second finish off my Q4 Finish-a-long goal list, found here. Yay!

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(“Hmm, maybe I’ll do the camera?” she said.)

The Bear Paw Quilt is Finished

You heard that right, folks, the bear paw quilt is finally finished.

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For the most part, I like it! I don’t love the look of the white thread on the black areas, but I’m not up to doing different types of quilting motifs here and there. Maybe that can be next year’s goal.

I originally planned to do some straight line quilting echoing the shapes more, but as it happened I got a little nervous when I found that some of the white sections on the edges were a little ripply before quilting. I am not sure if it is just that they have a long bias cut edge or if I made a cutting mistake, but either way, straight line quilting is not that forgiving. That’s why I went with an all-over loop — and the ripples went away for the most part.

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It’s funny, I’ve been seeing a lot of bear paws around lately. Have you? I didn’t use a pattern for the layout and finishing, but I used these cutting instructions for the 14″ bear paw blocks. I recently noticed Fat Quarter Shop has a pattern for a similar quilt with the blocks set on point, but I didn’t look into it, so I don’t know what size blocks that pattern includes. This quilt finishes at about 72″ square.

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I went with my daughter’s class on a field trip to this pumpkin patch and I thought it would be a great place to photograph a quilt, if there weren’t 100 small kids running through the pumpkins. Fortunately, when we went there yesterday, there were only about six people there (for about 15 minutes anyway)! Amazing! Unfortunately, it was windy and hard to get any good photos. And I don’t know how to edit photos, or there would be certain background details I would remove from some of the pics *ahem*.

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This quit is for a friend of mine who requested a black bear quilt. I couldn’t find anything interesting with bears at the time I started it, which is why I went with the black bear paw, but later I came across several patterns for bears. So the back features a bear with a row of patchwork. This bear is a scrappy appliqué: you fuse a bunch of pieces of fabric together, zigzag around the edges, cut out the bear shape, and then appliqué it onto the quilt. I used a pattern by Shannon Brinkley – this is her medium sized wandering bear. I kind of love this back and would not mind having a similar one on my own bed! The blue fabric is a Carolyn Friedlander ‘widescreen’ wide back.

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The worst bit of quilting fell on the bear, poor thing. It took a while to get back into the quilting groove. I should not go so long before finishing my next project. The fall colors are encouragement to get some more quilts finished!

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This is the first finish off my Q4 Finish-a-long goal list, found here.

What I’ve been up to lately

Hi friends. What have you been up to lately? Any fun projects going on? I have things going on, but not a lot of big quilts. Or even small ones, really. Sometimes I ask myself, what am I getting up to?img_3071

The church where I’m a pastor is currently working on opening a community art center. It’s a community development effort, a chance for the church to be a better neighbor to our community by seeking its flourishing. Located just a few miles outside of Manhattan, our community has a lot of diversity, but not necessarily a lot of shared history. We’re hoping to make a  welcoming space for arts and crafts and learning and making together, where relationships can form and community be strengthened. Everyone benefits from feeling connected. An ethos of giving back to the community will be part of the concept — together, we can help each other and those in need with the things we make.fullsizerender

Pottery. Fabric. Paint. Artisans and enthusiasts. We’re taking the wide view toward arts and crafts of all kinds.img_3336

I’m in charge of getting this project started. It’s still in the funding and logistics phase, but it has been taking up a lot of my mental energy (a lot of that is just me on the see-saw, constantly thinking “this is going to be awesome!” and then “gah, is this a terrible idea?”). Most of the people I’ve talked to are enthusiastic about the concept, but I guess there is just a lot of uncertainty when you personally are doing something you haven’t done before.img_3406

Anyway, while we wait for adequate funds to begin the reno on the physical space, I’m trying to work on other things that need to be done, like publicity and getting the website together. I’m thinking about a nice clean website, cheap but easy to navigate. We also need some kind of online thing (within the website, I guess) for people to use to register for classes or seminars. I was thinking maybe some of you have some recommendations on this type of thing, or advice in general — if so, drop me a line.img_3168

The local elementary school PTO is hosting a holiday craft fair in December. I’m thinking about getting a table and making a spate of small, colorful items that people might like to pick up as holiday gifts (quick things with a low price-point). I myself am not really interested in selling stuff, but I’m thinking to do it as part of the publicity for the art center. Pouches and other small projects, simple baby blankets and whole-cloth quilts — these are some of the things we could be making together — and I think seeing them out and about helps generate interest. Yes?

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Meanwhile, my own creative time has taken a bit of hit. Pretty much all I’m making these days are these blocks! One a day, and we’re up to 66 today. At least there are a few minutes of making each day, right?

img_3374Although I love the fabrics I’m using, I’m not always wowed by my block of the day. Some of them are just not that exciting, are they? But you know what? They are looking pretty good together (see the first 49 below). In work or in life generally, it’s kind of this way, isn’t it? Not every day is amazing, but they add up to something pretty nice. This is good for us to remember every now and then, when we’re wondering why our days seem just so-so, wondering if we’re missing something. Every day doesn’t have to be amazing for something very special to be forming.img_3473