Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Vacation

For me, one of the best parts about living in Minnesota is the glorious winter. The skies are blue and the pale sun is always shining. The snow sparkles and the frigid air takes your breath away. I absolutely love it here in the winter. I wake up smiling and look forward to the day ahead.
Unfortunately, this past week the skies overhead have been gray and dreary. The temps warmed up and the snow was alternately slushy and icy. It totally threw me off my game and I had a really hard time getting motivated. So today I am going to take a break from the gray skies and re visit a quilt that I made last spring.I made this quilt for Alex, one of my most favorite girls, who was graduating from high school last May. I wanted her to have something pretty that she could take to college with her this past fall. I've known Alex since she was a tiny baby and consider myself so lucky to have been able to watch her grow up into an amazing young woman.
Over countless sleepovers at my house Alex learned to sew and knit and be creative. She took her first canoe trip with Adrian and I when she was still in diapers and learned to paddle my kayak on a trip up to the Boundary Waters. We've has so much fun together over the years and it goes without saying that this quilt was stitched with a great deal of love for it's recipient.Because I wanted this quilt to be special, I decided to use my beloved stash of florals from Westminster Fibers. Most of the fabrics that I used are designed by Kaffe Fassett or Phillip Jacobs. The pale turquoise pansy fabric in the above picture in probably one of my all time favorite fabrics. It came in several different colorways and I confess that I bought every single one. The nine patch block is one of my favorite quilt patterns, I love it for it's simplicity and versatility. The blocks are six inches square and alternate with solid florals and nine patch blocks. I free motion quilted a loopy pattern with variegated thread. I finished off the quilt with a hand stitched tag on the back:In December, when Adrian and I went to visit Alex at college and I was happy to see the quilt scrunched up on her bunk bed in her dorm room. It made me happy to think of her sleepy and warm, curled up underneath the quilt that I made for her. Covering up with a handmade quilt is like a big fabric hug from the person who made it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Fresh Start

It has been over a year since I put anything up on this blog. I guess I just got lazy or bored or maybe a little bit of both. It could also be because I felt really bad for using my blog for evil last year when I shamelessly begged for votes when I entered a contest at Marx Foods. The blog just didn't seem like much fun after that little debacle. But I think a year is enough time to slack off, so I guess I'll try my hand a blogging again. Plus, my mom said I should start blogging because she likes looking at the projects I've been working on. Well, I can hardly say no to my dearest loveliest mama.

This little pillow is something that I made earlier this month while I was recovering from the black plague. I got the pattern from my friend Phyllis. Phyllis lives in Sisters, Oregon close to my parents house. She and my Mom are good friends who share a love of quilting. Whenever I am home for a visit, my mom and I get together with Phyllis for a day of fun and creative inspiration. She's one of the most talented and amazingly creative women that I know. Just hanging out in her sewing room is like a shot of creative adrenaline. When I was home in October, I noticed a darling little yellow wool pillow in Phyllis's sewing room. There were four little quail appliqued on it and the best part of all was that they had googly eyes! I was immediately smitten and asked about the pattern. Phyllis said that she saw a quilt on a tv show that had quail on it and that's where she got her inspiration. She very kindly shared the pattern that she made with me.The pillow is about 16 inches wide by 11 inches tall. All of the felted wool is from my stash that I've collected over the years. I used DMC broder medicis wool floss for the applique and embroidery. Broder medicis has been discontinued and it breaks my heart every time I think about it. I love that thread and wish that I could find a good replacement for it. I didn't have googly eyes so I used some white flower beads for the eyes. I like Phyllis's googly eyes better. If you look closely at the bottom of the pillow, one of the stems of sagebrush is missing it's little french knot flowers. I didn't even notice that until I was editing the photos of the pillow. I must have just spaced that out in my nyquil and benadryl induced delirium. I really did make this while I was recovering from a nasty bug. I felt good one day and managed to get the pillow top assembled and my embroidery supplies organized. Then I had a relapse, was sick for a few days and then I embroidered this while wrapped in quilts on the couch. Once I was feeling better I sewed the whole thing together. It was a really quick, fun little project that kept me amused while I was stuck in the house. Thanks, Phyllis for the inspiration!