Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Quilt paper piecing

Remember this pretty stack from a few weeks ago? Well, much of it is now in pieces, as I'm working on my first paper-pieced quilt, a baby quilt for a friend's new addition.
I'm doing the Cut Glass Baby Quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival, and it's coming along smashingly. After much cutting of templates and fabric, I got to work in earnest at last weekend's Sew Me St. Louis event, an in-town retreat for the STLMQG.
I made pretty good progress at the retreat and have put in a few late nights so far this week. I was moving right along last night until my machine suddenly started having a major thread-getting-stuck-in-the-bobbin problem. I spent about an hour trying to fix it with no luck before giving up. I've got a few more ideas that I'll try tonight, so fingers crossed. I need it to work! The in-laws are visiting this weekend, which means no sewing, so I'm hoping to get this fixed and finish up the top before they arrive. Back to work!

The neverending to do list (but, hey, it's getting shorter!):
Perfect quilted tote
Cut Glass baby quilt
Mystery pieced quilt
Mystery HST quilt
T-shirt quilt
Aviatrix Medallion quilt 
"Treasure" bag for B
Superhero cape for B
Sewing circle tote
Re-cover the downstairs chair
Ironing board cover
Reusable snack bags
Washi dress/tunic

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Milwaukee Marathon weekend

A week ago, we headed up to Milwaukee with some friends so they and Matt could run the Milwaukee Lakeside Marathon. It was Matt's third marathon, and he'd been training like crazy all summer for it, hoping to set a new personal best. We drove up Friday morning so we could have a few days to relax and explore the city (well, really, the downtown). We had to take it a bit easy, you know, marathon and all, but it was nice to have a chill time with friends (sans baby, see below) and explore a new city.
The first night, we had a fabulous fish fry dinner at one of the local breweries. There was even a polka band -- hello, Wisconsin! We also frequented a great coffee shop called Colectivo, which had the best espresso machine ever.

Finally, Sunday -- race day -- arrived, and the three runners headed out bright and early for the start. It's a point to point race, so they actually had to be shuttled 26 miles to the start (the finish was about a mile from our hotel). Meanwhile, I slept in (bonus!), then walked to Colectivo for breakfast and some treats before heading to the finish line (past the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum and Lake Michigan) to catch their finishes. It turned out to be a gorgeous day.
Chris finished first, and he snuck up on me in a group, so I didn't have time to snap a picture. Matt came by about 25 minutes later, blasting through his goal and crossing at 3:39:00 on the dot. I was so excited for him! Stephanie finished third with another solid race.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, B was spending his first weekend alone with the grandparents. This was the first time we'd both left him for more than a few hours, so we were a bit nervous about how he would do, but everyone did great! When I texted my dad to see how things were going, these were the pics I got in response:

Ha! Pretty good, I'd say. Thankfully, my dad and step-mom didn't leave until Monday evening, so we some family time on Monday with a tasty breakfast and some time at the park.
Finally, my dad had one more surprise waiting for us when we got home. As you may recall, we began work on the shelving unit in our downstairs playroom last winter, but after the initial installation of the pre-fab shelves, our work stalled out, and it's looked like this since January.
I'd mentioned to my dad (a super handy guy) that we planned to finish off the shelves with molding, etc. to hide the edges and make them look like true built-ins and that maybe he could help us with that on a future visit. Lo and behold, we came home to this masterpiece:
I have no idea how he even had time to do it all by himself (He even primed it! We just need to do the final coat of paint.), but man was it a welcome surprise! Check another item off the to do list. All in all, a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

My perfect quilted tote

Yes! A finish! As I hoped, I finished my perfect quilted tote (pattern here by Elizabeth Hartman) in time for our weekend trip to Milwaukee last weekend. (If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed it in one of the action shots.)
Can I tell you how much I love this bag? First, no surprise here, but Elizabeth's pattern is extremely well written, and the finishes -- the facing, the magnetic snap, the zipper pocket -- create a really professional looking bag.
It felt great to finally break into my hoarded Melody Miller typewriters and feature one on the front patchwork. The rest of the patchwork fabrics include many beloved navies and teals from all over my stash.
I used white thread for the quilting. On the inside, I decided against the solid fabric the pattern suggests and instead lined it with Sealing Wax in Clear from AMH's True Colors collection (one of my favorite basics -- heck, fabrics -- ever. I have got to go pick up some more, as I used up all but a few scraps on this bag.). For the pockets, I combined a bit more of the Sealing Wax print with a Cotton and Steel basic, XOXO in Night Owl. The textured solid used on the outside, facing, and straps is Essex Yarn-Dyed in Indigo.
I will say it has taken a little getting used to switching over to this tote from my Go Anywhere Bag, which I've been using non-stop for the last year or so. I love, love, love all of the pockets on that bag, especially on the outside, and it's hard letting that feature go, but the new tote has so many other features to recommend it, I'm sure I'll forget about those pockets in no time. Now, I've got a quilt to get back to...