Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quilt for Another Baby

About a month ago I was invited to a baby shower for the daughter of my director/friend at work. I've known her daughter since she was a young girl coming to dance intensives in Jackson, Mississippi, years ago. And now she's all grown up and is a dance teacher/choreographer and lives with her opera singer husband in New York City.

The idea of making a quilt had crossed my mind, but I didn't get her nursery colors until two weeks before the shower and I just didn't think I could make that kind of deadline. But friend Gwen said she thought we could knock out a top in a day, so we went for it.

I have loved the New Wave pattern since I first saw it and thought it might not be that challenging for two experienced quilters. I pulled fabrics on a Friday night and we ran to the store Saturday morning to pick up a couple more to complete the project.

It is difficult to find good ballet fabric. A lot of it is cute, but technique is usually lacking. I had bought just one fat quarter of an Alexander Henry ballet shoe print years ago and had only a small bit of it left. I was so excited when I found there was enough for one row of end pieces.


And then the cutting began. Gwen cut the sashing strips from a piece of dark taupe with dark pink flowers scattered on it that we had found on our shopping trip. I cut all the wedges. We set up my Featherweight table in the living room and she sewed all the strips on while I trimmed and restacked blocks to sew into columns. When we finished, my arm was so sore! I realized that while Gwen was up and down between the machine and the ironing board, I had been standing and cutting all afternoon!

I spent the next week quilting and binding. But the end result was well worth it. I love this birch fabric from my stash. I found the brown plaid on that morning run to the store. Doesn't it make a great looking binding with that touch of teal?

These flowers look a bit orange, but they are definitely pink in the center of the petals and have a touch of brown in the details. It was perfect for the backing.

In the end, it came out to be a baby quilt with a sophisticated, contemporary look. It was quite a hit at the shower. It's not so juvenile that I think it will serve the yet-to-arrive little girl for a long time and will be very suitable for a young New Yorker!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baby's Got a New Quilt

Everyone in the family had a quilt but Maisy. That was not acceptable.

So before Christmas I gathered up a bunch of Aunt Donna scraps that just happened to have doggies on them and made a diamond quilt.

The goal was to have it ready to put under the tree, and I got as far as the quilting. But I finished the binding right after New Year's and wrapped it for her to open a couple of weeks late.

The cutey blue and white polka dot fabric
around the edge just ties it all together.

I had to do quite a bit of fussy cutting to get
the wide variety of breeds represented.

I found the big red and white polka dot yardage at the
thrift store for $1.99 and used it on the back.

I think she likes it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bittersweet

Last year carried a fair amount of stress and I guess I’m just now allowing myself to process it all. It’s why I was away from the blog for so long.

A trip to China with work in June was amazing, but required a lot of planning on my part. And I held onto my quilt show responsibilities of laying out the show and securing folks to hang quilts even though I would be out of the country during the show.

In July my ’94 Camry wagon received bad news and it was a matter of time before it blew a gasket – literally. So the search for a new vehicle was on for the first time in twenty years.

Then in September Daddy fell out of bed. And everything else stopped for a month - except the car search, which was insane to think I could handle all at the same time. And a week and a half after going into the hospital, Daddy had a stroke. And a week and a half later he was gone.

But I had to keep the ball rolling on the car thing since I knew those trips back and forth to Memphis had only shortened the time left on the Camry.

Every night I exhausted myself trolling Autotrader, cars.com, craigslist, eBay, and local dealerships online. All in all I test drove eleven cars. And then I found it. And then it was Thanksgiving. And the sister’s Jeep was in need of too much work, so the next week, she was here buying a new vehicle herself.

And then it was Christmas. And the aunt and the sister and the sister’s dog came for about a week and we just made things as easy as we could because we were all so tired.

And then I needed to sell the Camry. I had worn the buyer’s hat for so long, it was hard to look at the car any other way. But after two posts on craigslist, someone who understood the car’s shortcomings bought it and I was relieved to not have the burden of it and to get it off my insurance.

But what I didn’t expect was the hole it left not seeing it at the end of the driveway. It had been Daddy’s car before I got it. And now it was gone. And he was really gone. And the emptiness was a little more real.

We are so thankful that his was a quiet and peaceful passing. He didn’t have to suffer in a debilitated state that he would have hated and that would have been so painful for us to watch. He turned 86 while he was in the hospital. His life had been full.

I miss so many things about him - his smile and his sense of humor and his hugs are just a few.

He would really like my new car.