Friday, 28 August 2015

Year Apart Quilt - Creating a Mini Stash

As many of you know we moved from Texas to North Carolina this summer. Paul got a much better job, with a much longer contract and the prospect of permanence in several years. We have been really wanting to be somewhat more settled for a while now so this is fantastic on all levels, plus Houston has really awful weather and a lot of concrete. Though I really like the rest of Texas.

x and + quilt laid out in full.

However, as you may have gleaned from allusions to bs, from my absence here and elsewhere, and the title of this post, this hasn't and won't be the straight road we expected. My visa is going to take longer to apply for and get than Paul's (thankfully, he's already working - woo!). A lot longer. We can ask to speed it up, but likely be rejected. What all this means is that I'm going back to Ireland on Sunday, where I'll stay for at least the next 7 months, more likely the next 11 months.

Things could be worse. Paul has a flexible-ish job now and will be able to work from Ireland for a little bit early next year, hopefully. I can look for a job and work while I'm back home - yay! Also, scary, because it's been a while. Mostly I'm looking for things I can distract myself with for when I'm lonely or ragey (because parents, again, at 33). So I've made probably a way too ambitious list, for my suitcase, let alone my time, of projects to bring home and make.

USA Embroidery Map

In July I was following Adrianne from On The Windy Side's instagram feed and her #year30quilt, and I thought, well why don't I make a block a day for the time we're apart. So I started a little notebook of daily block ideas over the last month to see if I could even come up with some inspiration each day and it's been fun! I thought I'd forget completely before the first week was out, and I do forget every week or two for like a day, but then I pick right back up. So I think I'm going to go for it, a #yearapartquilt.

I'm going to cheat on the concept slightly, and use the notebook, so my blocks will be from inspiration that happened a month previous, but it will mean I can plan what I need for a whole week on a Sunday night. Hopefully, if I actually am that kind of organized, and don't just think it at the beginning. Let's find out!

How have I never used this print?

In deciding this I realized I don't own any fabric in Ireland anymore. Buy more, you say! Just moved state, I say! So I decided to cut a 6" strip off every piece of fabric I own (ok, I skipped a few of the more ugly ones). I still filled two of those plastic shoe boxes. I didn't even cut all the solids, I figured I'd defo buy them locally. This is just a starter pack? Have I gone too far?  Sometimes it's hard to tell where too far is.

I also have a pile of large print/multicolor fabric equal to the one on the left,
and a pile of solids equal to the one on the right not pictured.

I've also started a very pinterest-cliche USA embroidery project. By started I mean, gathered all the materials, transferred the map outline, and packed it back up again. I plan to color in the states that I've been to, as I visit them. So far I'm good for 13 states and D.C.

Trimmings not looking that much smaller...

I've reached the point where I'm beginning to worry about suitcase limits, even though I'll be buying a 2nd one (have to bring home the winter coats, because I will freeze - I'm coming from Houston, people!). Even so, I'm still pondering whether I should bring my x and + blocks and finish that off, along with a quilt for my parents, and an AMH footwarmer for us. (not going to mention the quilt I already have in Ireland, or the smaller clothing projects I also plan, nope, they don't count)

Bit more like it, that's yellows and oranges.

I think the packing will provide a natural culling point. And Paul gets a 2nd bag for free, so he can always bring me more stuff at Christmas, right!??? I think that's how marriage is supposed to work, fill your suitcase with fabric for me, that's defo a vow...



All the neutral and warm fabrics in one shoe box.

This is approaching rambling territory, it's getting late, and I'm getting hungry. So it's time I let you go. I guess I just wanted to update you on why after one move, I'm making another one so soon. Why it's only me this time, and why not to be surprised when another one hopefully happens next Spring/Summer. Wish me luck, even if only with the packing!!

A :)

Friday, 21 August 2015

The New Addition Quilt

It's been a long summer, filled with mostly non-sewing bs. But there has been one quilt that has gone from beginning to end and found its home with a little girl I haven't gotten to cuddle yet but will find in just a few more weeks.


Sometimes the wind wins.

As the newest addition to a family, I thought it fitting I use plus blocks for this quilt. The colours are inspired by a photo of a mountain at sunset I have pinned, on a background of cream. I had a lot of fun looking for just the right fabrics, and then fussy cutting little details here and there - kids in trees, butterflies, baby toys.


We found a still spot ahead of the rain.

A navy binding with a thin zigzag gives lots of directional changes and a nice firm frame. But the backing was so perfect - Ann Kelle's superkids;girls in pink! I just LOVE this fabric. I bought extra.


The Supergirls are Flying!

I free motion quilted this one. The very first time I've done anything larger than a 10" square. I just chose a loopy variation on a straight line, some baby pink thread, and went for it. It went surprisingly quickly and well. I tend to lose concentration as I get further down the line and speed up as I go around the loops and so my stitch length can get a little funny in those areas. But I definitely improved as I went on. And I enjoyed it, in an 'enter the zen' kind of way. If I was trying to do a lot of different designs I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy that right now, but my skills aren't there yet so no need to fret about that for a while!


Girl in a Tree and loopy FMQ-ness.

I finished sewing down the binding when we arrived in Ireland at the start of July and tried to find a good day to take some photos. However, the nice days were incredibly windy and the non-windy days were wet and overcast (and freezing). But it was fun trying to find the still spots, or the calm between the gusts, and eventually for close ups I reverted to the clothesline in the back garden.


Just realised this picture is taken on the seam line of the back, but here
are the supergirls!!

At the moment I find myself overwhelmingly just wanting to make things. But by the time I've figured out what and how and gotten the sewing machine out I don't want to anymore. It's like I'm overthinking the quilts right out of me. One part of me wants spontaneous creation to feel better and another part of me feels I can't start until I know exactly where I'm going, and the two parts don't seem to be able to co-exist. One saps the joy from the other. Does anyone else ever feel that way? Or have I finally started to unhinge?


Lovely post-wash texture.

Overall though, I made something this year and it has a snuggly home! There's definitely some joy right there.



Thursday, 7 May 2015

Planning for an East Coast Autumn

Just a quick drop-in, the last 5 weeks since I got back to Houston have been busy busy busy. Paul went straight to a job interview two days after I got back, and then was offered two jobs within the week following his return. He'd been sending out resum├ęs and doing the odd interview since the end of last year and nothing had been happening so we weren't really expecting this sudden frenzy. We got some good advice about going to visit the prospective new towns, we didn't do that with our move to Houston and we've found the adjustment here pretty hard. So you saw some of our visit to Muncie IN last time, and we also visited Raleigh NC. I took much fewer photos in Raleigh, the weather was not as good and it turns out it doesn't matter because come August that's going to be our new address!!

Street art, Raleigh.

I was completely wiped out last weekend after a month of travel and decisions, following on from a month where I was stuck in Ireland recovering from a bad scald. I had bought some AMH velveteen in a sale a couple of summers ago and planned on making a throw for the bottom of our bed. Before Christmas I had begun cutting out squares from my AMH collection, bits and pieces from various collections (scrap packs, FQ bundles, charm packs, whatever I'd gotten my hands on). But life had gotten in the way, that happens easily for me when it comes to lots of cutting or basting!

Fussy cut prints. The Big Squares.

Last weekend I was in just the right head space to mindlessly cut squares though, fussy cut in places, and then play with layout and enjoy the colours! Paul got into it as well, and the squares stayed on our bedroom floor all weekend. We had to use our phones' torches to go to the loo in the night - totally worth it though to wake up to all the colours in the morning!

I couldn't decide if the gaps should be filled in with more AMH or if that
would be too chaotic, so I tested in the top left corner first.
LOVED IT!

All The Colours!

Blocks got moved, one got replaced with a big leopard print square, I
couldn't believe how much tinkering I did before I was totally happy.

Anyway, this one's packed away into a plastic shoe box now and maybe it'll be my first quilt to make in our new place in NC, when we find one - it looks kind of perfect for Autumn to me! In the meantime, I have two quilts that need making before we leave Houston, one that's a top and partial back. And another that's only a plan, but will need to go to Ireland when we do for visas. I will keep you updated ;)

All The Colours!!!