Chain-Piecing Ad Infinitum

My new fabric line, Jasmine Tea, is due out in stores next month!  So exciting.  I should have my preview yardage in hand any day now.  Tonight I’m finishing a pattern to go with the line.  Sewing up the test version in solids and I kinda like it this way.

Ad Infinitum

Ad Infinitum.

Back of Bringing home Dolly

I always love the backs of quilt tops.  Sometimes I love them more than the fronts. It’s like a puzzle.  Can you tell what the pattern is from the back?

Did I mention Gus and I are learning Latin together this year?  Homeschooling is cool like that.  My Latin name is Paula.  Pronounced Pow-La.  Kind of like a superhero name.  My girls already have superhero names.  Evil-Lyn and Ultra Violet.  So it’s high time I got one.  Lots of Girl Power in this household.  Lots.  Bringing Home Dolly Quilt top

Pretty Umbrella Girls Charity Quilt

Just wanted to put out some quick pics of the charity quilt I worked on at today’s DC Modern Quilt Guild sew-in.  I bought the focus fabric because I wanted to use the red-pink-orange trees in some pillows for Violet and Evelyn’s room, and I didn’t have any plans for the little umbrella girls, but they are so cute and cheery so it seemed perfect for some charity sewing.  I picked a bunch of bright fabrics from my stash for the strips-

It’s an interesting balance finding fabric for a charity quilt, right?  They have to be fabrics that I’m willing to “give up” but I still want the finished project to look like it was made with care.  I want whoever receives the quilt to feel special.  So several of the fabrics are new and haven’t even made it into their intended projects yet, but I included them anyway just to make it extra-pretty.

Don’t mind my crummy cell-phone pictures.  It’s late and I have to get to bed so I can get up and drive to Philadelphia for a quilt show.

Umbrella Girl Blocks

I made some progress today but I would have made more if there weren’t so many interesting people to get to know at the meeting!  Life is rough, right?

I’m thinking of a young adolescent girl as I make this, so I probably won’t send it to the pregnancy center that the Guild selected this year.  Maybe I will send it to the Hershey Medical Center with the other quilt that my Mom and Aunt and I put together over the summer.

And because Elle made me aware that Evelyn Bea has grown quite a bit since I last posted pictures, here she is doing big girl things:

Big Girl Bea

Lest you should think that I am still sewing with a baby sleeping peacefully at my feet.  Not quite.

Hello World

So turns out when we left the old house behind, we left internet connectivity behind too.  Who knew that it would take almost two months to convince Comcast that there is indeed a house on this lot and that we would happily pay for their services if they would only come out and connect us to the world…

But anyway, blasting the cable company is all too easy, what have I been up to?  I’ve been doing lots of English paper piecing,

I attended my first DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting a couple weeks ago and loved it,

been sketching new fabric designs like crazy.

(Violet helped me by coloring these ones in.  Thanks Sweetie!)

(The thumbnails usually end up being my favorite part of making a collection.  Everything looks so nice and crisp here in black and white.)

I checked out Denyse Schmidt’s Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration from the library, and it has me itching to make, of all things, a tied comforter our of just a few big pieces of fabric.  Perfectly simple, a weekend project, with something beautiful and a feeling of accomplishment at the end.  A September project I am hoping, still getting my little girls’ room together in my mind.

So that’s where I’ve been.  And now back to sketching is where I’m going.

I love freezer-paper-English-paper-piecing

Hexie Stack

I am working on an exciting new project with these little guys!  I keep the stack on the kitchen table and work on them a few at a time whenever I can steal a minute away from Little Miss Teething Troubles.

Hexie Love

The stack is coming along rather quickly- I love English Paper Piecing!  It’s the best way to get something done in little bits of time.

Hexie Love 2

And, it’s spring.  Hooray spring!  No more filling the heating oil tank every month!  And pretty flowers ‘n’ stuff.  We didn’t have much of a winter this year so the warm weather isn’t as exciting as it might otherwise be.  We were kind of hoping winter would go out with a bang and give us just one big snowstorm before all the flowers came out, but they’re here, so might as well take pictures of ’em.

Magnolia Stella

Magnolia Stella

So, Happy Spring!

New Works-in-Progress!

The past couple of weeks have been full of late nights in front of the computer, finishing up a new collection of designs to submit to In The Beginning Fabrics. It’s very satisfying work but still, I was desperate to create some actual things instead of just computer-file things.  So I allowed myself to start a new little quilt

and I sketched out some embroidery ideas

and tomorrow I will attempt to knit a praying mantis for my dear niece’s birthday.

I will let you know how that goes, I may be biting off a bit more than I can chew with that one.

Oh and it snowed today.  Only our second snow since we moved to this house.  So pretty, like glitter falling from the sky.

Autumn Gatherings Sewing

I’ve been sewing!

Inner Glow 1

Inner Glow 2

Inner Glow 3

Thank you for sleeping so mommy can work!

Sleeping Bea

Inner Glow 5

Inner Glow 6

The pattern is called Inner Glow.  It has instructions for twin, queen, and king sizes.  (This is the twin size.)

Inner Glow

Inner Glow 7

Inner Glow 8

I hand quilted it with a super-simple big stitch using perle cotton.  You can see it best in the photo of the back.  The big chunky stitches contrast with the silky fabric in a way that I found very pleasing.  Plus it was done in, like, two days.  Can’t beat that for hand quilting!

Inner Glow 9

Inner Glow 10

The pattern will be a free download on my website as soon as I figure out how to do these sorts of things… so this weekend-ish.

Inner Glow 11

The quilt is hanging out at Patches in Mt. Airy, MD.  Do let me know if you’ve seen it there!

Next up I have some plans for the greenish -orangeish ones.  This time I’m bringing in the rest of my stash to play as well.

Next Project

A Day Unplugged!

What to do when a hurricane knocks out the power:

Play Monopoly with the whole family

Hurricane Monopoly

Finish knitting project

knitting with bea

Finish hand sewing project

Star-leaf quilt block complete

Take a walk and rejoice in the crisp, cool weather that blows in after a hurricane blows out

summer walk

And, after eating mostly crackers and Lebanon bologna all day and wondering aloud how far we’d have to drive to find an open Cracker Barrel, (nursing mamas get hungry!) rejoice again when the power comes back on after only 14 hours!

Although I’m sure being without power would rapidly have lost its idyllic charm had it been much longer than a day, (especially because we have an electric well pump) this day made me feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by the family we have created and grateful that we were able to enjoy being unplugged, together.

Knitting for my Bee

Tiny Hat

So I finished my second knitting project ever, the Layette Hat from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.  There was a lot of yarn left so I started knitting up the Pom-Pom booties to go with the hat.

Tiny Booties

Aren’t these pom-poms the cutest? It took 13 feet of yarn for each pom-pom to get them this full.

Problem is, I needed a different size of needle to finish the booties, so I had to go back into the land of temptation that is my local yarn store.  I came out with the required needles plus two more balls of the cozy cream-colored merino angora, plus an orchid bamboo/wool blend and a celery green alpaca/silk yarn.  Well the baby can’t have just one hat, can she?  And doesn’t knitting for baby require the softest, coziest yarns available?  Thought so.

Layette Set

Evening Plans

EveningPlans

This past week I have been sensing my body slowing down.  It knows, better than my conscious mind does, that now is the time to rest and gather strength for the weeks ahead.
I can feel my thoughts turning inward and imagining the little one we will all soon meet.  For most of this pregnancy I have had my mind on other things; am I doing enough for the kids I already have, am I achieving the goals I have for my business as quickly as I should, how are we ever going to turn this house into the cozy home I had imagined when we signed the lease when everything keeps breaking.  But suddenly, the only thing I can think about is: I know how to knit and I have not made my baby a hat.  This is why I learned to knit; to make cozy little things for my babes.  And even a July baby will need a soft cozy hat to keep her temperature up for the first few weeks.

EveningPlans2

I spent most of my precious energy this afternoon shepherding my other two kids in a last-minute dash to get to the yarn store before closing.   Of course the yarn store did not disappoint, and I found the perfect book of patterns along with the perfectly soft and fuzzy angora merino yarn in twenty minutes flat.  So this evening, courtesy of a dinner of leftovers from the weekend celebrations, I plan on doing nothing more than enjoying the dappled sunset from the sun porch and knitting my baby a hat.

Yay Design Wall!

Yay!  We finally put up my design wall a few days ago and I am so pleased with it.  It’s a pretty low-tech solution- just two sheets of fiberboard wrapped with black batting and attached to the wall.  But it looks nicely finished and it’s much bigger than any other design wall I’ve been lucky enough to own and I am just thrilled to have it.  As intended, I immediately put up my little embroidery pieces and got to work designing a set of patchwork pillows out of them.

Aster Pillow In Progress

I have a great knack for making things complicated (husband snickers in the background) which has resulted in some very intricate projects that I’m really proud of, but has also led to a whole slew of things that don’t get finished for months, years, decades…

Pillow Thumbnails

So true to form, my first sketches for these pillows included several different pieced blocks, mini appliqued orange peel blocks, 1 inch mosaic squares, and the like.  I even started prepping the shapes for the applique.

Orange Peel Cutouts

Then I had to step back and ask myself if the embroidery really needed all that intricate accompaniment, and when I thought about it, it did not.  I decided it would look great and be done in a day if I just did a little strip-piecing of some favorite fabrics.

Aster Pillow In Progress 2

I figured out the length of strip I would need, put two pins that distance apart on the ironing board, and started cutting strips free- form with scissors, not deliberately cutting them “wonky” but not worrying about getting them ruler-straight, either.  Stuck up on the design wall in pretty much the order I cut them, I was happy with them and got right to sewing!

End of the Day

I love “The Pile” that develops while I’m working on this kind of project.  The patterns and colors seem to vibrate when they’re surrounded by so much variety.  Flip it over, rummage through it, and I’m bound to discover some combinations that I wouldn’t have thought of if I used a more disciplined system of cutting.  I don’t even mind folding it all back up again when I’m done, because it’s just another chance to enjoy all my beautiful treasures.

End of the Day 2

But we’ll get to that some other day.