Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My What a Difference a Couple Weeks Makes...

Wuzzup my homeys???

From your posts it seems you are all enjoying the summer, and doing well. I am so glad! As for me... I feel I have finally rejoined the land of the living. :)

About a week and a half ago a good friend of mine (Arin) and her husband (Tim) took Leah for a full 24 hours (they had a blast - went to the zoo, went out to eat, watched a movie, went to the playground... if I were smarter I would've sent some of the great pics Tim took to my home email so that I could've included one here - ah well). While she was with them, I met my dad & step mom for lunch, then headed to Target for a bookcase for Leah's room (with bins, of course), came home, read about 1/2 a book, built the bookcase, cleaned up Leah's room and stashed all the toys in the bins, then busted hump cleaning up the house.

The house cleaning project has continued (I just took a truckload of baby stuff that we will never need again to Salvation Army - ahhh... sweet sweet clutter busting!!!), but I finally feel I am on top of it, and it hasn't slipped further down the slippery slope to chaos. The place certainly ain't pristine, but it is about as clean as anyone working full time with a 4yo (and, yes, I'll admit it - hobbies I choose over housework any chance I get!) who can't afford a maid is going to get it. So, it's all good.

But, my household woes are not why you come here, so let's get to the good stuff, shall we??

I have made a tiny bit of progress on Mr. Abbott in the last couple of weeks (see pics below). I've only stitched a couple times, but am going to be making a real push to get him done. Joann's is having a framing sale through the 18th, so I want to get him done NLT then. At which point I'll take Mr. & Mrs. Abbott, and the Border Study I finished in January (February?) over there, get them framed and ready to put on the walls. Anyway, without further ado, here is Mr. Abbott:

I've also been bitten by the quilting bug again recently. This is 100% the fault of two really great books I've found which show patterns that use those addictive little fabric packs known as jelly rolls, charm packs, and layer cakes. Oh.... this is a sweeeet addiction! I don't know about you, but I loooove fabric... but quilting fabric is so stinkin' expensive to buy by the yard, it's hard for me to suck it up to buy it that way. Plus, the time it takes to acurately cut those large pieces of fabric so I can actually use them?? Yeh... not so much. So, these pre-coordinated bundles are a financial and time saving dream come true!! And oh my.... soooo beautiful!!! I've added several packs to my (still pretty much non-existent) stash recently, and one of these great books has a pattern in it that I'm going to try.

I am a seriously newbie quilter, and as much as I want to eventually create amazing works of art in quilt form, I recognize that it will take some time to get there. So, hopefully these simpler patterns will help me bone up on my piecing skills, and on my hand quilting skills as well. I have only made one quilt, and it was about as simple as it gets:

This is the quilt I made for Leah for Christmas '08. Yes, it is just stripes, and yes, I agonized over the cutting, and the piecing, LOL! I even had to frog and re-piece one of the stripes. It's 48" x 48", and was machine pieced, and hand quilted with straight lines 1" apart throughout. For a first quilt, I was pretty happy with the way it turned out, and Leah was so excited when she opened it that it made every moment of quilty angst totally worth it.

Anyway, back to the current project, and the great books. The name of the book I'll be using for this quilt is Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, and Charm Quilts by Pam & Nicky Lintott. They also have another book called Jelly Roll Quilts which I also bought and which has a ton of quilts that I absolutely love. Now, you experienced quilters out there (Deb, you da bomb!!!) would probably flip through these books and find the quilts way too elementary for your skillz, but let me tell you, they are right up my alley! :) Here is the pattern I'm going to tackle:

I'm going to use more vivid fabrics with it (the stars will still be off white, though) that came in a layer cake. Here they are, cutting complete (well, except for the fabric for the stars - for that, I'll have to cut a dreaded yard o' fabric - duh dah duuummm!!!):

These are the most beautiful fabrics I've ever worked with. Sooo soft, with a really gorgeous, subtle sheen to them (not the high shine of the older chintzes).

So, the plan is - finish up Mr. Abbott, and work (sloooowly) on getting this quilt pieced. I am deciding btwn. a few different stitchy projects to pick up once the Abbotts are complete. I'm debating between John Foster (pic'ed here in an earlier post), Garden Cat (by the now defunct Birds of a Feather), and Thou Shalt Not Nag (can't remember designer). It's a toss up at this point! :)

Thanks again for your wonderful comments - you ladies were a HUGE source of encouragement after my last post, and I can't tell you how much I appreciated it!!! Really - you all are the best! I feel like we could all get together for coffee (and dessert and stitching of course) and sit together for hours with no lags in conversation or awkwardness. So, thanks again!

Until next time - happy stitching (ugh, I really need to find another "tag line")!!


Deb said...

Wow, you've been busy with the cleaning and stitching. Doesn't it feel good though to clean things up and get them out of your hair! Mr. Abbott looks great and I can't see him and the Mrs and your other piece framed. Got to take advantage of those sales at Joannes. I'm going to take another one or two small pieces over this week!

Thanks for the heads up on those books. I agree with you that the cost of buying yardage of quilting fabric can be mind boggling and wallet breaking. I love a lot of the new jelly rolls, etc., that are coming out but didn't know what to make with them. I am definitely going to look up those books now - I'm so glad you mentioned them.

And your quilt looks wonderful and I think you're ready for another one. Everyone starts off with a easy quilt - that's how we learn! I love those fabrics that you picked out - they are so vivid and wonderful - my favorite colors and are going to look so good done in that pattern!!!! I can't wait to see this as it progresses.

And just so you know, no book is too elementary even to people who have been quilting for a while. You learn something from every book that you get! Just for your info: If you're every looking for a good book on quilting, check out Fonz and Porters Guide to Quilting. It's one of the best books I've found for learning. Mine is almost in tatters I've referred to it so much.

Okay, I made this comment way too long! :)

Can't wait to see everything framed and pieced!

Siobhan said...

Woohoo for you on the great clean out! And for actually doing that rather than stitching or quilting. ;) It does feel great, though, doesn't it? We did a huge clean out before we moved into this house, so that we weren't moving junk. We still ended up moving boatloads of junk that is now threatening to fall through the attic floor and smother us, but we made a cagillion trips to the charity shops and dump and got rid of a lot of stuff. I swear the stuff multiplies at night, though--especially the kid stuff!

The quilt that you made for Leah is beautiful! Don't knock your first attempt. My first few attempts were pretty bad (as in, I go to a class to show off the quilt I made following the lesson plan I'd learned in the previous class, and I couldn't understand why the teacher looked puzzled. I kept noticing that everybody else's quilt tops looked super cool and mine looked kinda funky... then I realized I never followed the pattern the correct way. That quilt hangs on the bottom of my bed, though!) but everything is a learning process. I'd love to try some of those jelly roll and charm pack quilts, too. I haven't been quilting since we moved here & there aren't any shops to buy fabric, so... Maybe!

Your Mr. Abbott looks great! I can't wait to see what you decide on next. I have Garden Cat barely started, buried somewhere in the confines of my stash, and I have John Foster all kitted up & ready to go. I wouldn't dare stitch Thou Shalt Not Nag... don't know the design but from the name of it, I could see my husband finding that to be his favorite piece. ROFLOL

Hope your MIL is doing better!

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

Wow! Great job on all the cleaning you did, Robin! We are in the midst of painting and I'm trying to do some of the same. Right now, the house is a disaster!

I love the quilt you made Leah - I've no doubt she loved it too! I think you did a great job on it and each one will get progressively more complicated, I'm sure. i don't dare attempt quilting. I need another thing to be addicted to like a hole in the head. Love the fabrics for your new quilt!

I love Mr. Abbot! You're making great progress and they are going to look so cute together!