Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sewing for Baby: The Reversible Wrap Dress

I have three more weeks of work, and then up to four weeks of dedicated sewing time until my daughter's arrival. Today I'm sharing the second dress I've made for her so far.

I used a free pattern I found on Pinterest by The Crafty Cupboard, a simple Reversible Wrap Dress. I picked up a yard of this lovely dark green print that reminds me of a fresh meadow (and, would you look at that, it's called Floral Meadow). It's from the Storybook Lane line by Ann Kelle, and I've been waiting for the right project to cut into it for.

I debated which print to use for the side B and turned to Instagram for advice. These were my choices. I ruled out the Tula print quickly, but flip-flopped between the diamonds and scallops...
So instead of making a decision, I headed to Mokuba to pick up some lace for the edging and ribbon to tie the wrap. If you've never been to Mokuba, you have to check it out next time you're in Toronto. It's ribbon heaven.  The pattern calls for ric-rac, but I've never been a huge fan and thought lace would be be prettier. I was right!
This is why I learned to sew; so I could make adorable, itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, sweet little dresses!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

No Machine? Let's Farm!

I was sewing machine-less for almost three weeks. I never thought I'd be so happy to see my crappy Kenmore as I was when I picked her up on Friday.
The experience mainly served to reinforce my belief that I simply must buy a second machine. That way I'll always have a back up!  Plus, I really need more throat space and something that can FMQ properly. "Need" being relative, of course.

I did make good use of my time sans-machine by turning my attention to my Farmer's Wife Quilt blocks. It had been quite some time since I'd worked on them. I really enjoy hand piecing, but I am extremely slow at it. I managed to complete three blocks (although I confess that I machine pieced half of the third block this evening). They are (top to bottom) #34-Flock, #102-Whirlpool and #14-Butterfly at the Crossroad.
I'd cut the pieces months ago, but hadn't stitched them up, in part because I'd messed up the cutting. Does anyone else get stymied by directional prints? I just wasn't paying attention when I cut the fabric the first time around and since I'm anal, I couldn't abide having the prints going off in different directions. So, two of the three blocks required that I re-cut about half the pieces. Annoying, but necessary.
These are my 18 blocks completed to date. This is definitely a multi-year project. So far, I've hand pieced, machine pieced AND paper pieced blocks. There's no real master plan for the quilt, other than sticking to the blues and greens, with a smattering of yellow and purples.
P.S. This is me at 32 weeks pregnant. I am all full-a-baby and can't wait to be done. Have I mentioned that I'm not one of those glowing, happy, pregnant women? I'm more of the "are we done yet" type, and let me tell you, I am DONE! But not really, because she isn't done cooking yet. Trust me though, I am counting the days...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Not This Year

I've waffled back and forth and back and forth and finally decided: I will not be attending Sewing Summit this year. I had an amazing time last year, but due to it being held in September instead of October, one good friend can't attend and another will have a newborn. Also, the class list so far isn't grabbing me and the sessions are being assigned by lottery which is less control than I'd like. Finally, I have no idea whether my baby-girl-to-be will be amenable to travel. So there you go. I'm sure when September rolls around I'll regret this decision, but it feels like the right choice for now.

Instead, I think I'm going to splurge for the single supplement and attend the Orillia quilt retreat in November. I also have my eye on the Modern Quilt Guild SewDowns and will consider other opportunities as they arise.

In other news, my sewing machine remains in the shop and I'm suffering withdrawal. I'm also suffering a distinct lack of motivation and energy so the timing is to my advantage I suppose. My third trimester is totally dragging. I'm trying to keep my eyes on the prize, I'm very much wishing it was June already!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April's Machineless Goal

Setting my April goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes is more challenging this month that it usually is, and not simply because I'm 30 weeks pregnant and increasingly uncomfortable. No, the problem is that my sewing machine is in the shop. I've bought the machine almost two years ago and I've never had it serviced or cleaned. It was getting a tad clunky and there really isn't ever a good time to be without it, so I went ahead and brought it in. I have no idea when I'll get it back. I'm trying to find a machine to borrow for the next few weeks, but haven't been successful yet. And yes, I am suffering significant withdrawl.

Not having my sewing machine has led me to revisit my farmer's wife sampler blocks. Last October, I prepared fabric for a number of blocks which I planned to work on while flying to and from Sewing Summit. But I am extremely slow at handsewing and any goal I set for myself on that front is destined for failure.
Instead, my goal for April will be to complete all the cutting for my Tula Star Quilt (the stars themselves, not the arrows). This is supposed to be my baby-girl-to-be's welcome quilt, though I'm not sure it will get done on time. I've been wavering on the quilt pattern and wondering if I should choose something simpler to show off the Salt Water prints, like a Brick quilt or a Colour block quilt. Or perhaps this fabulous pattern by Elizabeth Dackson called Modern Circuitry. I do love it's simplicity. What do you think? Stick with my original plan or make a change? Either way, cutting the fabric will be my April goal.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Best. Surprise. EVER!

My husband walked in the door this evening with a package he picked up from our concierge addressed to me. What could it be?! I hadn't ordered any fabric!

Then I saw Ella's name on the return address label. I mentioned Ella in my last post. Ella and I met in the 3x6 mini bee on Flickr; she was  Mama of the hive I was assigned to for both  quarters I participated in. We were both fairly active in the hive's discussion thread and I began reading and commenting on her blog, Throw a Wench in the Works. I was thrilled when I found out she'd be going to Sewing Summit last year. No big surprise - we totally hit it off.  Since Summit, we've been in contact regularly, on Twitter, Flickr and our blogs, but most of all, chatting when we're online at the same time. Recently, she was having a stressful month so I packed up some fabrics that I knew she loved (Tula!) and sent them off to her as a surprise. No big deal, just a way to show her I care. She blogged about it which made me feel really good, just to know that it meant something to her. We've recently been trying to figure out how we can get together for some quilty good times, which is challenging because she's in Georgia and I'm in Ontario, but since I'm on maternity leave for a year, we've settled on my heading her way next spring and I. CAN'T. WAIT!

Anyhow, back to the box. What had she sent me?! I almost lost my mind when I opened it. I was totally overwhelmed! The dear girl sent me a BABY QUILT! No one has ever made me a quilt before!  Her card said that she knew how busy I was and wanted to make sure I had a special quilt for when my baby arrives. You guys, this quilt is pretty damn special.  It's STUNNING!
Quilting detail
Ella, I can't thank you enough. I feel so special today and go incredibly happy to have you in my life. I love you girl!

And just for fun, Kivi took a clip of me right after opening the package. I hope this works, I've never uploaded a video before!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Quilt Retreat with me?

One of my goals for maternity leave is to get as much quilting in as possible, and this includes attending at least one quilting conference or retreat. I've always intended to go to Sewing Summit again, provided I can snag a ticket, but I've recently found out that two of my favorite people (Hi Ella! Hi Shannon!) won't be attending. I'll probably still try and go; I met a LOT of wonderful people at Summit and am sure to make new friends, but it's led me to consider other options.

I happened upon a quilt retreat taking place right in my backyard this November (November 15 to 17, 20130! It's at a family resort in Orillia and is run by Sew Squared.  What I like about this retreat is that it's not back to back classes; there's lots of sewing time to work on your own projects. Plus, the price includes 6 meals, accommodations and the resort, Fern Resort, looks really lovely (there's a SPA!). I've already confirmed with the Sew Squared ladies that I'm welcome to bring the baby and since it's a family resort, they have cribs available! AND, they have a gluten-free menu. What more can a (celiac) girl ask for?!

Here's the catch: the pricing is based on double room occupancy and there's a 25% single supplement which really does increase the cost. I'd really like to find someone (or many someones) to come with me.  I *know* I have readers from Ontario so I'm putting out the call. Who wants to come to the quilt retreat with me?  You know you wanna! I'm a great roommate (although I can't vouch for baby yet).

Actually I think it would be AWESOME to have a group of us modern quilters attend. Looking at the photos, I think it's a fairly traditional quilting crowd, but I'm cool with that. I just love the idea of two full days of dedicated quilting goodness. If you're interested, leave me a comment or send an email!

Sew Squared retreat info
Fern Resort Quilt Retreat info

If you know of other quilting retreats or conferences that you'd recommend I look into, please leave me a note in the comments.  I've got a year of maternity leave and I plan to use it well!