A quilt for my buddy Rylan

The move to Austin, TX, has been wonderful so far.  I love my job at University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Teaching and Learning, and have learned so much from my new leaguemates, the Texas Rollergirls.  The winters are so mild here, and the food so delicious.  And as if that isn’t enough, Austin is such a great place that family and friends like to come and visit!  Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing my dear cousin, Cori.  This brave mama flew from California with her 3.5-year-old, Declan, and her 3-month-old, Rylan.  I was so excited to meet the very-new-to-this-world Rylan and gift him with a quilt.

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Rylan and I were fast friends.  Here we are bonding as we wait for the bats to emerge from under the S. Congress bridge in downtown Austin.

 

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Here’s a shot with the whole fam…Cori and Rylan on the left, me, and then Cori’s sis Shanti with Charlie the dog, and Shanti’s partner Michael hanging with super-cute Declan in the foreground.  I had such a great evening with these lovely people.

 

Cori said that Declan has been very generous to share his quilt! I was excited for Rylan to have his very own.  I usually have to mail quilts to their new owners, so it was really fun to give this one to Rylan in person!  

 

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Cori and I have similar taste in colorways and patterns, so I simply gravitated towards my favorite fabrics (especially Tula Pink’s Indigo Dew Drops from the Prince Charming Line) and this herringbone/chevron design that I had seen popping up on a few quilting blogs and really wanted to try.

 

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As I was finishing the quilt and trying to find something that worked well for the back, I received a package of fabric from my wonderful Aunt Judy that contained the perfect backing fabric!  I tell ya, she is a mind reader.

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I got word from Cori after she returned home that the quilt fit into Rylan’s room very nicely, and that the boys were enjoying it.

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This, right here, is what quilting is all about.  

Much love to my sweet cousins!  

 

 

A Dragonfly Hat for Haley

After some relaxing time off for the holidays with my family, Casey and I returned to Austin to settle back in to Texas life.  The month of January, however, brought with it some difficult news.  My brother’s girlfriend, Haley, was diagnosed with lymphoma.  My heart was heavy for Haley, and also for my brother, who almost two years ago to the day sat next to my father when he received a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer and passed away only three weeks later. Haley’s prognosis was very dire at first, but the more her doctors learned about her situation, the more hopeful they were about treating her.  I am so happy to share that her tumors have reduced in size.  For now we breath a little easier…

Haley was very concerned about losing her hair, and I wondered if knitting her a hat might bring comfort.  I began looking up hat patterns.  I got goosebumps when one of the first patterns I found was the Dragonflies Hat.  The thing is, my dad had an affinity for dragonflies.  He told me that American Indians believe that dragonflies are the souls of the dead and that they visit us during difficult times to help guide us.  I remember him working on a case that he was so passionate about because he wanted to bring justice to a severely injured client, and he was visited by three dragonflies the day before the verdict was delivered in his client’s favor.  On top of all of this, the pattern specified that the dragonfly represents strength, courage, and victory in Japanese mythlore.  Clearly, this was the hat for Haley!

I chose a cashmere blend that was hand-dyed by a local artisan that would feel warm and soft against her skin.  And I tried to charge that hat with superpowers with every knit and purl!  Check out the wing pattern:

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ImageHaley says it is her favorite hat that she has received.  I hate being so far away while my brother and Haley endure this trial, but I was so happy that this small measure could help remind Haley that she is loved and supported from afar.  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

a dark and stormy quilt for peter, and more veggies!

I finished a quilt for a new little pal, Peter Arthur, who was born just a few weeks ago.  He belongs to my good friends Alison and Tommy.  They live in Maryland, so I haven’t had an opportunity to meet him yet, but I wanted to send him a little something to welcome him to the world!

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 I couldn’t help but make another zig-zag quilt especially since Alison is into chevrons.  And because Alison and I share a deep love for Halloween, I decided to make a dark and stormy Halloween-style quilt with some greys, purples, aquas, and smoky teals to compliment some of the print fabrics I chose from the Tula Nightshade and Ghastlies lines.  Image

 

 

Here are some close-ups of some of the prints:

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I backed the quilt with ash Kona cotton and made a strip in the middle out of some leftover pieces I trimmed off of the quilt top and some solid strips.  This was just an experiment at first to see if I could make use of scraps, but I was really happy with how it turned out and wanted to incorporate it into the backing!

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I was so happy to wrap this quilt up and send it on its way today. I hope I have the opportunity to meet Mr. Peter very soon!

 

And a quick garden update…check out this purple carrot!

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And these delicious golden beets from the garden that I ate for dinner the other night!

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Summer is good. 

In the works

Thanks to my wonderful grandmother, I was able to stop by one of my favorite fabric stores (Sew to Speak in Columbus, OH) on the way back to Michigan after the holidays and invest in some fabric and a pattern for a new dress.  I’ve been quilting so much that I haven’t made a garment in quite a while, and it was so nice to have holiday money to buy some things I wouldn’t normally buy for myself!

The pattern is Amy Butler’s Anna Tunic, and I’m going with the longer dress option (hits at the calf).  

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And I’m making the dress out of Sparkle in Pitch from Amy B’s new line “Lark”.

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I haven’t been as into Amy Butler’s last few collections of fabrics because they’re pretty busy for my taste, but the Sparkle print is just simple and retro enough with a little bit of flare (notice the DFunk lime green in there) to be a great print for this dress.  Now if I can just get to the laundromat to prewash my fabric…

Quilts for Twins!

A couple of months ago, my wonderful friend Melissa gave birth to not one but two beautiful babies!  Melissa and her husband Danny are two of my favorite people.  Melissa and I went to law school together and spent many fall Saturdays together, sitting on top of law school hill devising a plan for how to stay sane during law school while the Mountaineers scored touchdowns in the background.  Melissa and I and some of our fellow WVU Law alum (and spouses) get together each summer for a reunion, and the adults are slowly becoming outnumbered by babies and children!

Melissa and Danny’s first daughter, Georgia, is the loveliest little gal, and the recipient of the first quilt that I ever made.  For her new brother and sister, I wanted to keep the designs simple and the colors refreshing.  

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The quilts are unified with a light blue (Lake) Kona cotton background, but then go off on their own colorway tangents.  One features dinosaurs and the other cats (and as a good Women’s Studies instructor I reminded Melissa and Danny that both Ivy and Cody can enjoy both quilts–neither is gender-specific despite the presence of dinosaurs and kitties!), the colors from those prints inspire the coordinating fabrics.

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I wanted both quilts to have a little something special, so I backed them with a yellow gingham fabric that used to hang as curtains in my bedroom when I was a little gal!  

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I can’t wait to meet Ivy and Cody.  I hope their quilts help them keep warm this cold, snowy winter! 

Welcome, Miss Lily!

My cousin Tommy and his wonderful wife Melissa just welcomed a new little gal into the world.  Tommy and Melissa (and their two little boys Hudson and Ty) are some of my absolute favorite people, so I knew I had to make something special for their new addition.  Melissa and I have been talking about quilting a little these days, and she told me not long ago that she likes vintage fabrics, so I knew I would finally be putting those vintage dresden plates that my mother-in-law purchased for me to good use.

When Nancy bought these dresdens for me, I immediately recalled a quilt by Aneela Honey of comfortstitching called the dresden love story:

I’ve been wanting to make one ever since I saw Aneela’s quilt– I love the way it takes an old, traditional quilt pattern and deconstructs it, makes it into something modern.  So, here is the quilt I made for Lily that is inspired from the dresden love story:

I quartered each dresden and blind-stitched a center onto each one (I chose a vintage-looking red/pink fabric to compliment the colors and patterns in the dresdens).  Then I appliqued each piece onto an 8″ x 8″ blush-colored square.  Then added Kona snow cotton sashing, did some quilting, slapped on a binding, and voila!

I usually just do straight-line quilting, but I decided to be a little more adventurous and outline the points of the dresdens and the round centers.  I was really happy with how it turned out.

And for the back I found this perfect yellow fabric with pink flowers that have reddish centers.  I sometimes have a problem choosing backing fabric, but this one jumped off of the shelves at me.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

If this quilt had been full-sized I think I would have had a hard time putting it in the mail!  Lily is such a special girl, so I was excited to break out the special dresdens for her.  I probably won’t get to meet her for many months (she resides in Texas), so I had to send a little something to let her know I’m thinking of her.  I hope she likes it.

And I’m happy to say that Lily’s mommy likes it so much she has asked me to make one for her one of her boys!  I was so sad I learned how to quilt after the boys were born.  Can’t wait to get started on a blankie for Ty!