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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I love you Peaches - a baby quilt story

Hi everyone,

 I really really want to tell you this little story. :)
No big plot or drama here, just how I enjoyed every minute and every second of making a very special baby quilt - one for our first, beautiful, can-hardly-wait-to-be-born little granddaughter!
I already started a bit in a previous post, here but now here is a whole story.
For now, while young parents are still choosing the name, her nickname is Peaches. I just love it so much.
Mommy-to-be loves pale, gentle pinks and purples and she had fun picking fabrics from my stash and she did it so well! The idea for the quilt came from the fact that mommy loves elephants and from Pinterest, but I couldn't get the pattern (wasn't available any more). Not that I would really need one, but I wanted to honor the original idea and inspiration. It was this one:
You can see it HERE on lovely blog of Piper Girls.
So we were going to do our own...
First, beautiful fabric selections by my lovely Lauren (mommy to be) and Jelena (auntie-to-be):

Aren't these colors and patterns so soft and beautiful?
 And all from the stash - almost unbelievable! ;)
Since some colors were 5" charm packs and some from 10" Layer cakes, I had to skip Thangles for making half-square triangles (my fave way to do HSTs, talked about them HERE 
and go back to good old lines on the back of the squares...It helps to have handy tools though - I like these Frixion pens and this skinny little ruler that serves only this purpose (at least for me):
Of course, Marley was a big help and moral support, almost snoring across from me...
Notice how I lined up all these color groups (pink, purple, yellow and gray) from dark to light values - what I wanted here is to avoid pinwheels that have maximum contrast but rather to have a whole pinwheel block mostly light, or medium or dark. Since they will be sort of a background for the elephant family, I wanted them to be more..."blendy"? (I am sure this is not a word, but it just fits in this case, right?) :)
So here are all my square pairs (two of each color combo, so that I will have 4 HSTs that are the same, for one pinwheel block).
 All stitched  and pressed in order...
 All lined-up to become Pinwheels now:
I had to pull out my Aurifil stash at this point, just to play and plan what I will use for quilting later - as much fun as playing with fabric!

 Yeah, some pretty yellows are missing here... Note to self, to get some!

OK, back to sewing now! Stack them up, chain-piece, keep the order... Ha ha, does this "sewing in order" make sense to anyone else or is it just my crazy head?
Somehow I had so much fun doing all this (or I was so occupied with all of my "in order" sewing? LOL!), that I did not take any more pictures before they were all done and on the wall:

I played and played with block layouts but somehow this streak of yellows accross the quilt was speaking to me - like a little spot of sunshine for the elephant family to live in. :)
Then came auditioning for some solid pinks for mommy and baby elephant - those two pinks looked the best.
Now it was time to DRAW - yeiks! I am really not that good at drawing, but little by little...I came up with this:
Not too bad, right? Since daddy would be just a larger version of mommy elephant, I was all set! Time to cut into those solid pinks!
 For this applique I fused Mistyfuse on the back of solid fabric and then I even turned the edges under. This little quilt will be loved and washed and needed to be sturdy too.
Those elephant ears needed to be 3D too - cut the elephants on that left line of the ear, traced the ear shapes on two separate pieces of fabric, stitched them together, turned right side out, stuffed with little piece of batting and then stitched into the seam that joined elephant head and body back together. Here is a bit of a close-up:

Mommy's ear was done and baby's was still just pinned here. Wish I took more photos as I went, but again, I guess I just had too much fun!
Once elephant family was all done, blocks were sewn together and elephants fused in place! Time to have some fun quilting!
Before any free-motion quilting fun, I did stitch all around my little elephant family - again, this quilt will be loved and cuddled to pieces and I wanted it to be ready for that! You know, I really was thinking about all this while stitching...imagining this little one using it, dragging it around, wrapping her dolls in it later... such joy. :)
I first quilted my little Peaches - gave her some curls on the forehead, a little bird on top...
...and of course a PEACH, hanging on the branch, right above her:

She had a heart behind her ear:
 And mom and dad's hearts beating for her too:
So there she was, holding on tight to mommy and daddy:
 And them holding on to each other:
 That is how I imagine their lives together and really the best advice and wish I can give them.

Then I quilted some flowers for beauty:

 Some butterflies to flutter:

And a bird to sing:
OK, I am definitely not so good with drawing birds, but it was still stitched with LOVE! he, he..

And many other things too - curlicues and vines, sunshine too... I had so, so much fun!
Oh but here is the best part: I wanted to stitch-in all my love into this quilt. Literally too - I wanted to write "I love you" but I am really not so good in writing (while doing FMQ). I simply never practiced that much... Don't know what was I thinking that late night, was it all my emotions or adrenalin - but I just went on to just DO IT!
Slowed down considerably, biting my tongue all the way...and VOILA:
" Love you Peaches" is written across the top third of the quilt! (Photo above is in 3 sections, just to show more detail). I was so proud of myself and so happy, I almost cried! :)

Oh and in case you are wondering - all this fun was done with this lovely, soft pink shade of 50wt Aurifil that totally stole my heart! And I am not even a "pink kinda girl" as they say!
Total #Aurilove .
Yeah, I will need a new spool soon. :)

You can probably see that writing a little better (although in reverse) on the back of the quilt:
I really, really LOVE the back of this quilt.
First, I found this perfect minky fabric for it, and quite by chance too. Then I got to fulfill new mom's wish to incorporate a piece of HER favorite blankie (when she was a baby) into the back of the quilt - that is a pick stripe you see. And then, see that little blue heart? That is a small piece of new daddy's onesie, when he was a baby:
I stitched that little blue heart by hand, with happy, happy tears rolling down. It was a late night, everyone asleep, house so quiet. It was the most beautiful experience that I will remember forever and I am so, so grateful to have had it. Just a pure joy.

I wish I can write better to be able to express all my emotions...but hey, here are more pictures instead:

Oh and Marley approves too! ;)

Most importantly - new mommy and daddy love the quilt!!
My wonderful daughter-in-law wrote me a thank you card that I will cherish forever. I am such a lucky, lucky Grammy-to-be.
Yup, you saw that right - rocking chair is ready to go too. :)

You know, just writing all this was such a joy!
Thank you so much for spending some time with me, I loved sharing this story. I honestly and deeply feel so lucky and grateful to have this luxury of expressing my heart in stitches and fabric. It is a privilege to never take for granted.

Tell me, do you have a special quilt you made? Or quilts? One you remember so well?

With a smile on my face and wishing many for you too,

Thursday, April 17, 2014

More beauties from the quilt show

Hi again my friends,

as promised, here are some more beauties from the quilt show!
I just realized while looking at more and more photos, that what I really LOVE about our guild and this show is how VERSATILE both are - we have creative members to span the whole spectrum of quilty art! From amazing traditional, hand quilted or appliqued to modern, different, new! Just LOVE it!
See what I mean:
Here is an amazing hand work of Mickey Wittlif - this beauty is appliqued by hand and hand-quilted...
and just look at that hand-quilting!

Mikey didn't care for the applique motifs in the original pattern, so she made her own - just so amazing and cute, and funny!

and yes - awards followed of course! Bravo!

 Here is the show label,
..but I just LOVE Mickey's label on the back!!

Amazing, right?
Now here is something more contemporary but equaly creative and beautiful - my friend Martha's Blue Spruce! This is her original pattern, and it is published too! You can find it HERE - and it is jelly roll friendly! Just look at this beauty...

 Proving that creativity runs in the family, here is a beauty made by Martha's niece, Marilee who is one extraordinary talented young and up and coming designer! You can follow her creative adventures on her blog too!
How cool is this:
Some close-ups and the award too - hooray!

Here is another creative gem - Cheryl's little quilt had me coming back over and over to see all the beautiful, fun embroidery!

And then there was work of some of my amazing students! These were quilts exhibited by creative ladies who only few short years ago took the Beginner's Quilting class!! To say I am PROUD is just an understatement! :)
Marie made this beauty for her friend, using photos of friend's beautiful paintings, transferring them on fabric and incorporating them into a gift for her - lucky friend, don't you think!? :)

 And an award too - HOORAY!!

Marie also made this Charlie Brown quilt - just so cool!! :)

Another student of mine, Mary with her amazing quilt:

I am just so proud of my students and happy to have had a small part in sparking their creativity that was there all along!
Here are some more fun and beautiful quilts from the show:


I loved everything about this wall hanging - just beautiful!!

How inspired are you all already! I know I am!!
Well, there was so much more at the show...and I do have so many more photos too, but I will leave you now with just few more - incredible work of one of our Guild's outstanding quilters, Lauren. Here are some of her beauties:

And of course - here is the Best of Show! Congrats to Lauren!!

If you haven't had enough ispiration my friends, you can see even more show photos on the other two blogs I contribute to - my guild's blog HERE and one I am so happy about - very first showing of quilts from many members of the young, new and growing western NY Modern Quilt Guild! Check out guild activities, calendar (maybe you want to join us, or just come to visit? Please do!) and show photos at the  WNY MQG blog!

Have a wonderful Thursday everyone,
enjoy spring's bird song, breezes and colors! :)