Barefoot Thank you

Sometimes I find it important to think back on the week and realize how truly lovely it was.

In the warm winds and blossoming sun of summer, I received my very own squeegee in the mail. The postman simply rang the bell and left the package by the door, but upon hearing it, I flew threw the house, threw open the door, saw it, and ran partway down the driveway to shout a barefoot "thank you" after him. What a wonderful Tuesday treat.

Wednesday I was blessed with a final surge of motivation to finish my business plan after many weeks reading books, mapping ideas, and dreaming. I am excited to announce that the quilt and fabric shop should open near the beginning of August. So exciting!

Thursday, prompted by my list of to-dos, I pieced and printed several quilt tops. (It's amazing how much more I accomplish when I write myself lists.) This one is a peppy poppy version of my previous cut-glass quilt, Little Pieces. Although it's missing some mid-tones, my favorite local fabric shop Pink Castle was more than willing to help me flesh out that area of my new palette. Such a friendly place.

And lastly, sewing machine hunting! I had the crazy experience of stumbling upon a Bernina 830 at a local resale shop last Christmas. I brought it home for $15 in it's pretty red case full of accessories. Unfortunately, it had been dropped on its head at some point and wasn't fit for fixing or function, said the sewing machine repair man. Since then, I've been keeping a keen eye out for another one, and I may have found it last night. Cross your fingers this little Bernina dream comes true!

What was lovely for you this past week?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Remnants of Summer

With little pieces of hydrangea fabric from the summer as well as an overprint of hydrangea design, this block brings me back to walking the hot streets of Florence with my sister at my side. Freckles and sandals and sketchbooks in backpacks. However, rather than settling into nostalgia, I like to remember the many things that have grown from that month: a deeper relationship with my sister, a year of studying fabric design, a beautiful quilt from the fabrics we purchased at the markets, this show. Dwelling on the past is not productive. Appreciating, instead, the unfolding of moments into long-lasting treasures keeps us thankful and grounded in the present and future.

Making it was a whirlwind of late nights and frantic stitching. The deadline for the juried exhibition was Friday before noon, and I began it Tuesday morning. Between every class and commitment, I would dash off to sew or print, pick up velcro or make frames. The final stitches zig-zagged around the edge of the ninth block at 3:30 in the morning Thursday night, and I fell contentedly into bed for several hours before bringing it to the gallery for the jury.

I think it's the layers in this one that make it my favorite, as well as the movement between the navy and coral pieces. After piecing each of the nine blocks, I laid them down on my printing board and over-printed two layers of the hydrangea design in a transparent white. At first, it felt like the white toned down the outside colors too much, but after adding a zing of color with coral straight-line quilting, the piece really came together. The free-motion quilted swath of the hydrangeas that overlaps from the grey blocks to the colorful ones is probably my favorite aspect of the design, and I look forward to figuring out how to make this design into a full-size bed quilt.

Picking Up the Pieces

The Broken Dishes baby quilt is finally finished! I bound the corners this afternoon while catching up on Once Upon a Time and perusing hairdos for banquet. Well...maybe I didn't peruse and bind at the same time, but I took strategic breaks when the thread ran out to go on Pinterest, don't we all?

Before I lay this quilt to rest on my blog, I would like to explain the idea behind the quilt. Recently I've been considering the time and resources that will go into my senior quilt show and the other ways those resources could be used, i.e. feeding the hungry, tutoring the needy, sponsoring orphans. I realized that I would love for my quilt show to do those things. My newest idea is to create a quilt show of baby quilts that will then be donated to the Pregnancy Counseling Center for unwanted pregnancies and unwed mothers. Theoretically, each quilt would have a wish stitched into it, a hope for the child that it will enfold. That he would work with his hands and enjoy dirt under his fingernails. That she would see the love of God in her life and not seek it among those who can't provide it. Or this quilt: that his or her parents would remember that people are more important than things and that they would pass this truth along to him or her.

When children come into a house for the first time, things get broken. The cut crystal candy dish on the coffee table is knocked off by sticky fingers or the new car comes home dented after a distracted parking attempt with girlfriends in the backseat. However, when it happens, I want this child and its parents to remember that people are more important than things. The candy dish can be replaced; just praise the Lord that no toddling feet stepped on the glass. And the car may not be so shiny and new, but your daughter is still in one unbroken piece. Even if the broken thing is koolaid spilled on the baby quilt, at least it wasn't blood. In today's materialist world, a shift in perspective on a situation is healthy and necessary. A refocusing on those we love rather than that which we love reminds us what truly matters and what is alright left shattered.

{Check out the process of the Broken Dishes quilt (laying outpiecingmore piecing,

Quilt in Instagrams

I have returned! After a week in Guatemala serving at Casa Bernabé, a Christian orphanage outside of Guatemala city, it's good to be home. I do miss the peacefulness and the summer weather, though, as well as my lovely teammates. Driving to Antigua, the old capital city, on Friday I was inspired by the many different gratings over the windows and may use the designs for printing fabric or free-motion quilting, but since I arrived home at 2 am this morning, I haven't had much time to make use of these new ideas.

However, my quilt is almost finished! I have quilted it and bound most of it. It was my bright, cheery companion to class and chapel the last two days before spring break and helped me to push through the last days of classes before Guatemala. I hope to add the finishing touches this week.

Picking out binding fabric
Trimming the edges and cutting the binding tape

Binding during class

{Check out some precursors to this stage of the Broken Dishes quilt

Best Day

Today has been such a wonderful day! First, the cover for my couch finally arrived from my Dad in China. Not only does it make my apartment feel so wonderful, it also makes me feel classy just sitting on it (and gives me a strong desire to sew lime and red pillow covers). Then, Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin arrived at the college library through interlibrary loan today, and if the first five pages are indicative of the entire book, I am definitely in love. Third, my mother and sister brought me Ethiopian black tea from the lovely TeaHaus in Ann Arbor that I am sipping quite contentedly. And lastly I had the afternoon off from classes, so I was able to get ahead on homework and have time to quilt tonight!

Yesterday began the quilting process. Susie lent me her iron since my bitty iron is about the size of one square and was not wanting to flatten the quilt very well. Next I spread the layers across my rug and pinned the sandwich together. Unfortunately, after sewing several seams, I spread out my masterpiece and found wrinkles... However, not to be dismayed, I pulled out some seams, taped it nice and flat to the kitchen floor, and repinned the heck out of it. Tonight I am sewing the lines perpendicular to yesterday's (and thoroughly enjoying the double act of Tom Hardy and Chris Pine in This Means War). Then I will be able to take binding with me tomorrow to class!! Well, perhaps not tomorrow, since my only class tomorrow is Synthesis and Analysis lab. But Wednesday, for chapel and physical chemistry, I will be happily blind-stitching lime binding around my baby quilt. What a lovely day it has been and what fun lies ahead!

{Check out some precursors to this stage of the broken dishes quilt

Quilt Top!

I finished the quilt top! It is a little wrinkled, but I am happy. I am excited to quilt it this coming week. I have decided to quilt it simply with straight lines on either side of the seams, just like Erica quilts her half-square quilts over at CraftyBlossoms. Today was spent printing fabric, and I am looking forward to sharing that process with you later this week or next week.

{Check out the precursors to this stage of the Broken Dishes quilt (laying out and piecing),
some progress (quilting and binding), and the finished product}

Two-Fifths of a Broken Dish

This week was full, not so lovely, with more than enough homework to accomplish. This weekend, though, has been great. Hubbard Street 2 Dance Company visited Wheaton yesterday, and we were able to meet some of the dancers, dance at a master class with the artistic director, and watch a rehearsal, as well as attend the performance last night. It was incredible. A small part of me wants to simply drop out of college and dance full-time so that I can move like water across a stage with strength and grace. The rest of me is pretty sure I still like being a chemistry major. And the tiny bit that's left is intimidated by the phenomenal senior art shows that were on display in the art building during the "meet the dancers" hour. However, the show must go on...or begin...or start to be sewn or something, so I worked on the broken dishes baby quilt today, and two-fifths of it is pieced!

Working on a larger quilt, I'm finding that corners are even more persnickety with being lined up, and fudging the seams makes for a quilt that doesn't lie perfectly flat. I'm also bemoaning the fact that my iron does not seem to reach as high of temperatures as the iron at home. But alas, my iron is mini and cute and fits on top of my dryer sheets and under my umbrella on the shelf. This next week I hope to finish piecing the top of the quilt and perhaps experiment with a whole-cloth sampler. The anglican cross on the pastor's robes this morning intrigued me, so maybe I will use it as a motif to sew. I'm also fascinated by tin ceilings, like the one in Blackberry Market (the adorable new cafe in Glen Ellyn). Whole-cloth, tin ceiling stitched quilts could be pretty sweet. Or not, but I guess I get to find out!

{Check out the precursor to this stage of the Broken Dishes quilt (laying out),
some progress (piecingquilting, and binding), and the finished product}

Broken Dishes Baby Quilt

This weekend has been lovely with fresh snow, an adorable new restaurant at which to study, and a delicious new banana bread recipe. With the snow drifting down outside and the beautiful winter sun I just want to curl up with a good book and a cozy quilt. More than curling up, though, I was excited to have time to lay out and piece a new quilt. Last weekend I decided to try a half-square triangle quilt, which I learned is affectionately called an HST quilt. I cut my squares 5.25" wide, traced a line diagonally across the middle (during physical chemistry, I might add), and sewed a quarter inch seam on either side of the pencil line. It was so simple to just cut squares, and with each one I sewed, I made two blocks! Plus, working on a quilt during the week was fun and a nice change of pace from so many chemistry labs.

Today I finally was able to lay out the quilt. I pinned my batting to the wall as a makeshift design board and put up all the pieces. Initially I laid it out just like the Broken Dishes Farmer's Wife Quilt block. However, it seemed a tad boring, so I twisted some of the squares around to change the little triangles into parallelograms. Now it has interesting geometric movement and is, in Susie's words, "mesmerizing." I like it. This coming week I will continue to piece it, and once the backing fabric comes, begin free-motion quilting. Right now I'm leaning towards free-motion quilting in a geometric almond pattern, like this quilt over at Sew Katie Did. The simple straight quilting of Crafty Blossom's HST quilts intrigues me as well. We shall see!

{Check out some progress on the Broken Dishes quilt