Top finished

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I’ve finished the baby quilt top for my friend who is due next month.

It’s definitely not traditional colors for babies, but she is very much a natural tones person. The baby’s room has pale gray walls and white furniture, So these colors will fit in. I was originally going to make it all neutrals, but I couldn’t stop myself from adding in the coral and gold. I love how it turned out!

It’s a little busy, which is part of why I love it, so I made the back just four big rectangles. They can flip it over if they need to rest their eyes.

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I hope to get it quilted and in the mail this weekend. Normally I would just give it to her, but these are not normal times.  It’s weird to think that I may not even see this baby in person for months.

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I have a couple of quilt tops now in the line to be quilted, but I’m hampered by a lack of a place to sandwich and pin them. I don’t like to do it on the hardwood floors for fear of scratching. Usually I do them at work on the concrete floors there but that isn’t an option now. Maybe the garage floor? During the stay at home isolation my son has really cleaned up the garage so that he could use it as a workout area. So the floor in there is probably clean enough to pin on now.

Approaching deadline

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It suddenly dawned on me that if it’s almost the end of May, then logically that means it’s almost June, which means I need to get cranking on this baby quilt all of a sudden. The baby is due in mid June.  I went from feeling like I had all the time in the world to wondering how I could’ve wasted so much time!

So I am back to jigsawing pieces of fabric together. It’s rainy and quiet and my family members are all cocooning  in their rooms, so it gives a lot of time to think about Memorial Day as I sew.

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There are a lot of veterans in my family, but we were lucky enough to not lose any during active duty. I’m so grateful for that, and I’m thinking a lot about people who weren’t so lucky today. It is a very grim situation that much of the country finds itself in this Memorial Day, which makes it hard for people who have to mourn alone.  And there is so much to mourn right now.

I hope everybody is staying safe, and healthy, and finding people who they can connect with.

 

National Quilting Day

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Until today, I didn’t know there was a National Quilting Day.  Amazingly, considering I haven’t been working much at all, I actually worked on a quilt today. I must’ve sensed something in the air.

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I’m scrap piecing together a baby quilt for one of my team members. I’m not sure that the colors really look baby quilty, but she’s not a pastel person so I think she’ll like it.  And I’m having fun with the randomness as I build blocks and puzzle out combining the odd sizes.

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I need to decide soon if it’s going to be a square or a rectangle.

Well, this changes things

Sometimes the world makes a sudden sharp turn and becomes very bewildering.

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Around here we are all feeling a little like our puppy Maxx right now.  Things are all upset.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I work for a school district. Work is apparently no longer the correct word. The governor of Washington has ordered all schools to be closed, and now we are awaiting guidance from admin about what that means for our students and ourselves.

My particular school is very online. The students all have Chromebooks, and are very used to using Google Classroom on a daily basis. However, that doesn’t mean everybody has access from home, and students who need special services to be academically successful also can’t just open their Chromebook and go for it.

A lot of students also rely on the schools for meals, but I’m happy to report that my district has a plan to continue availability of food. They’re going to run the buses on elementary school routes and at each bus stop people can wait and be handed their food.  They’re also going to have a couple of schools open where students can stop and pick up food.

While what I can only assume are fairly frantic administrative meetings are happening to decide how to deliver education as well as food if (when) this stretches out, the rest of us are at home waiting to hear the plan.  My teaching team and I have been having video meetings and brainstorming possibilities.

And as of now, I’m also self-isolating with two middle school sons, while my husband still has to go into work.

I want to say that I know we are very, very lucky. The state is going to continue to pay my salary while the schools are closed, and so far my husband’s company is not talking about layoffs. Compared to other people, we are going to be just fine. The hair salon my niece works at closed with just 20 minutes notice yesterday, my sister’s second job just laid her off, and with the new notice to close all restaurants and bars and allow only take out, a lot more people are going to suddenly lose their jobs.  So we are grateful for what we have and ready to offer help where we can to others in our community who are less fortunate.

My sister and I visited my mom today.  She lives in one of those active retirement community buildings, where they are highly discouraging visitors. Locked doors and signs everywhere levels of discouraging. So our visit looked like this:

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We’ve told her that we will get her a bucket on a rope so we can keep her supplies of coffee creamer and chocolate topped up.

Luckily, during this sudden downtime, crafters can always come up with things to do.

I’ve started sewing again for the first time in a long time.  Baby quilts must be made!

And then there is the high volume soup making.

And, as long as the sunshine holds out, garden improvements. My new raised bed arrived recently so we put it together today.  It is steel and designed to develop a rusty orange patina very soon.

I also have supplies to make a lot more panels like this wire one that will go up on posts around the yard for vines to grown along.  One down, six more to go.

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And then there is the new puppy.  She is thrilled to have us around all the time!

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So, keeping busy isn’t a real concern. Keeping healthy is, but we’ve got plenty of soap and social distancing.  I know the boys are going to get bored a lot faster than I will, but one likes to play basketball in the street, and the other one sees his friends just as much in video games as he ever did in person, and I’m letting them ride their bikes all around as long as they avoid people. Eventually they’ll get desperate enough to read books and remember they used to like those.

And, as I’ve explained to them, I am certified in this state to assign them homework!

Hoping you all stay safe and healthy out there.

Little birds, finished

I had to stay late at work last week for open house, so before it started I took the time to pin my sister-in-law’s baby quilt. This weekend, gray and rainy (finally! I know we’re going to get tired of the rain in upcoming months, but we really needed it) was perfect to sit down at the sewing machine for a while.

I used a rainbow thread to quilt a spiral in the center, with painter’s tape as a guide to keep the width consistent, and then a lighter variegated thread to outline the birds.

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I went back and forth for a while about whether the rest of the light background needed more quilting. I want it to be a sturdy blanket, but I also wanted the outlines of the birds to really stand out, so in the end I left it unquilted. None of the open area is very wide, so it should be fine.

The quilting went quickly, except for one bird where I caught the backing edge folded over while outlining the legs.  The extra fabric was going to be cut off anyway so I could just slice it close to the stitching lines and pull out the remaining fabric thread by thread.

I used the extra fabric cut off while I was squaring it up plus a few other leftover strips to bind it.  Then I had to watch a YouTube video to remind myself how to miter corners that weren’t at 90 degrees.

The yellow corner caused a little trouble – the navy thread looked horrible and highlighted my less than perfect stitching, so I ripped that part out and switched to a cream thread and it looks much better.

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I learned a lot and would make some changes in the future, but I think it turned out to be a very cute blanket for our new family member.  It will fly to Israel with my husband in a couple of weeks to wrap around its new owner.

FE5D0985-3BFD-4593-BA5D-E981413E04D6The finished quilt, before washing

FF0F31F0-1D45-45F5-B442-C3061693FBF1Out of the dryer and in full crinkle

D247B9CA-0D48-47C8-AF32-04D7CDE742FBAnd the back

 

 

Little birds

As you can probably tell from the blog title, I am fond of birds, and fiber, and especially the combination of birds with fiber.

Add in the fact that there is a new baby in the family – my sister-in-law’s – and it was time for some bird sewing!

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I used helpful tips from the pattern on this website, though I abandoned the measurements and paper piecing and figured I would even it all out after the fact.  I just used the pictures to figure out the general idea, and then started mass producing birds.

Occasionally I went a little too quickly.  There was some seam ripping.

 

Dratted beaks don’t always end up where you want them.  I might have been a little tired at that point.

But I persevered, and the baby quilt grew.

It took awhile to decide what I wanted to do in the middle.  I was going to put four more birds, like compass points, but it didn’t look right.  Then I was just going to go with the light background colors in a scrappy layout.  But this is for a baby, after all, and likely to be on the ground, and suffer various baby fluid indignities, so it seemed like darker colors would be the way to go.

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Similarly, I went back and forth on the corners.  Nests of eggs?  More bright blocks?  In the end, I added in more birds.  Because, as has been mentioned, I really like birds.

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The back got more of the bold colors.

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Now just the pinning and quilting remain.  I have a couple of weeks for that as my husband is going to hand deliver this when he flies to Israel in mid-October.  (I actually did all this sewing a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been very behind in the blogging.)

Sidetracked on a snow day

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We knew about this snow day in advance – the predictions for first snow and then ice were so strong that the districts all around us called it the night before, despite the then dry and clear roads.

So I had it all planned.  Movies and games for the kids, and an all day marathon of sewing Christmas gifts for me.

Except when I went on Pinterest to look at the placemats that I’d saved so I could choose my next scrappy layout, I saw this:  Four Corners Quilt.  And the next thing I knew, I was madly sewing strips from a jelly roll.

My strips were actual a half jelly roll, with just 20 strips.  They were also really busy, so I added in some solids as well, to bring it up to 30 strips.  It meant adjustments to make the center square much bigger as I was still 10 short. (11 really – I found one under the sewing table after I finished.)

It was so fun and so fast zooming through the strips, jelly race style.  There were occasional oops moments: twice I’d apparently not gotten the right sides together, but those were quickly fixed in the first round of sewing.  I also learned at the end of that first go that I’d better start untwisting the lengths before I sewed the sides together.

When it was 16 strips wide, I cut it in half and then in half again. I didn’t have enough of any of the solids left to make the center square, so I tried a nine-patch.  img_7163

Not good.  So much busy did not need more added in the center.  So out came the seam ripper. I dug through my stash and found a fat quarter almost the same color chartreuse, and the second attempt was much more successful.

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There are actually three possible little ones this quilt could be given to.  Maybe I need more jelly rolls?

And we have our first snow ball of the season!img_7165