Friday, March 09, 2018

Finish it Friday: Big Sky Quilt

I have another finish to share!  This quilt came together fast thanks to its small-ish size, using charm packs, and having a deadline.  I made this quilt for one of my favorite friends here in Colorado, Julie.  I met her soon after I had moved from Massachusetts to Colorado and she's been such a blessing in my life.  We met in MOPS (a mom's group) and I have faithfully attended her book group she soon formed after I met her.  For a variety of reasons, I never expected that she would move from Colorado but her husband recently took an opportunity to work in Guam, a place they had lived before.  My friendship with Julie has felt like one of the most genuine friendships I've had while living here and it's pretty sad to have her move so far away.  I knew I wanted to make something special for her before she moved away, so I decided I would make her a quilt.  

I had my eye on the Moda collection, Big Sky for a while.  It has adorable motifs of bears and other forest animals, birch trees, and flora and fauna.  I knew it would be the perfect fabrics to help remind her of home.  I bought two charm packs and added prints from my stash.  I used a pattern in the book Charm School to create this throw size quilt: 

I did a boxy meander all over the quilt, a motif I have been wanting to do on the longarm for quite a while. 

I bound it using the "Suzy's Magic Binding" technique.

In an effort to save money and use the stash (but I have to admit I was sorely tempted to splurge on this Big Sky print for the backing), I created a scrappy backing with fabrics that matched the colors of the front. 

Sadly, with Julie moving, our book club is also dissolving.  I'll admit that I am glad to get back to reading whatever I want, whenever I want- but this group has been a real life line during some pretty lonely years here.  But I am happy to report that emotionally, I am doing better lately with the social dynamics I have encountered here.  More on that soon!

Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday, March 02, 2018

Finish it up Friday: Baby Gifts

I have three "current project" containers and two of the three have been emptied out- I've been very busy! 

One of my best friends from my undergraduate days, Aimee, recently had her first child: a baby girl named Olivia.  Aimee and I went on a semester abroad to South Africa when we were undergraduates at BYU.  Later we were roommates again when I worked at a center for eating disorders after college graduation.  A few years later, we reconnected when my husband went to law school in Boston and she was in the city working as a nurse.  We don't always keep constant contact but when we reconnect, it's an effortless friendship.

Several months ago, I learned that her nursery theme would be elephants.  I totally have a "thing" for elephant fabric and I gathered all the possibilities from my stash.  I have several juvenile and nursery elephant fabrics, but when I found this dramatic blue elephant fabric, I was really excited.  Her husband is from India and when I asked her opinion on which elephant fabrics she liked, she picked this fun, India-inspired one (like I hoped she would). 

I had this "Taffy"pattern (a Jaybird quilts pattern) from a yard sale and other stash fabrics that easily coordinated with the project.  This whole quilt came together in a mere three days- the large blocks, my excitement, and the fact that the baby came about one week early really spurred me on to get this done fast!

I *almost* did a fast and simple all over FMQ design over the quilt but I am glad I decided to have some fun with different thread colors and motifs within the quilt.  I did a tiny bit of straight line quilting on the purple fabrics on my domestic machine after I did most of the quilting on my longarm.  This is definitely the kind of practice I need to do to improve my longarm FMQ skills!

I also did a new-to-me binding technique: Suzy's Magic binding, a tutorial found on my friend Marti's blog here.  It's a pretty easy technique and joining the ends together worked easily; I used the technique that I always do (found here).  Finishing this binding is done by machine, something pretty necessary when it you think about the wear and tear that comes with a baby quilt. 

I backed the quilt in a Marden's find: an Outfoxed print by Lizzy House plus some fabrics from the front to make it big enough.

I also made Aimee one of my favorite must-have baby makes: the Changing Pad and Diaper Wipes holder from Cluck Cluck Sew.  This project requires a soft (usually stretchy) fabric for the interior, which is the reason I think I don't gift this item often enough.  But it's SO useful and handy- I've used one for each of my babies.  While I was making one for Aimee, I decided to make another for another friend who just had a baby boy:

This holder/pad is SO handy for being out and about with a little one.  You know how awkward it can feel to do a quick change at a playdate or you have to change your little one in a public restroom- this is so functional for guarding the environment from any mess as well as protecting the baby from germs.  It goes right in the wash easily too.

Another item I really like to have for a baby is a nice big receiving blanket.  I buy 1.25 yards each of two coordinating flannel fabrics.  I prewash them and trim them to the same size.  I round the corners with a plate or bowl and sew them together with a big hole for turning.  I flip it all right side out and do a generous edge stitch to complete it.  I find these so useful for all types of weather, it can be a makeshift car seat cover, it's great for swaddling, and it's so much more useful than those tiny, one-layer store-bought receiving blankets.

Finally, I made some burp cloths for both babies.  My first baby was such a spitter- I literally had about 25 of these in rotation.  I've gifted these to friends many times and I always receive grateful feedback.

Sewing for all these sweet babies has been a lot of fun.  I think I'll be sad when I am out of this phase of life when I can sew for little ones so frequently.  Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.