January 20, 2011

Bits 'n' Pieces

This is a new block I'm working on for Mary (mamamary2) in the Quilting Divas Mini Bee. It was inspired by, and will slightly resemble, this block when I'm finished.

And because hand-sewing one block at a time isn't enough, I've already started the second one for Kendra (mccuisti).

Why all the hand-sewing? I don't know if I've talked about my quilting origins on here before, so bear with me if you've heard this spiel before. My mother-in-law is the singularly most awesome MIL in the world. She is the most kind, loving, and patient person I've ever met, and meeting her was as much as blessing as it was meeting my husband. She has helped me grow by leaps and bounds as a person and as a Christian in the 8 years that I've known her.

My husband and I got married in the month of June, and that first year we were married, I decided I wanted to do something special for his mom for Christmas. Well, I knew she loved quilts...has always loved quilts...and kind of became an official collector when they lived in Ft. Worth, Texas. She went to dozens of quilt shows and bought several antique quilts while they lived there, and the most gorgeous one of all (which she later gave me!) was purchased on a short vacation to Marfa.

So great. I knew she loved quilts...but being newlywed seminary students, we couldn't exactly afford to buy her a special, antique quilt. My next idea was to make her one myself, but that idea also had some holes in it: 1) we couldn't afford a sewing machine, and 2) I didn't know how to sew. At all. But since I'm not one to be easily defeated, I decided to do a bit of internet research and teach myself how to hand-sew using internet tutorials and Youtube. And there you have it. I found a cheap fat quarter bundle of Anna Griffin's Elsie's Kitchen on eBay, bought the Turning 20 pattern recommended in the auction, and saved up enough 40% off coupons from Joann's to buy a single rotary cutter, a pack of needles, a Donna Dewberry 3.5"x18" ruler (which I still use religiously), a water-soluble pen to mark my seams, a couple spools of hand-sewing thread, and a small 18x12 Olfa mat.

Looking back, I still can't believe I did it, but what can I say? I was fearless back then.  And because I had no idea about quilt dimensions (and was terrified of making one that was too small to take naps under), I ended up making something that was much larger than it needed to be. It was a Twin quilt that took me 5 months of tireless sewing to finish. I would never do it again because my sewing machine has made me too impatient for that (haha!), but I'm extremely proud of it...and sometimes get a little nostalgic for my days of hand-sewing...hence the hexies. So that was the really, really long version of why I'm making hexies. The short version is that my husband and I need to save money because we're about to buy a house, and staying in my office at lunch keeps me from driving to Target and spending money on things like this and this.

And speaking of saving money...what I'm about to show you will be my last fabric purchase for a while :(  I'm putting myself on Angela's Fabric Diet from now on. I have to keep reminding myself that a new house is more exciting than new fabric...it's the only thing that works!

These were all purchased at my local quilt shop, and unfortunately, I can't actually remember the fabric names....sorry! I'll have to check the selvages later and post the info for you guys.  The owl fabrics are from the "Kiss Me" line (Kaufman), the Hershey Kisses fabrics are from the "Dessert Divas" line (Kaufman), and the three larger cuts on the right are from "Love Nest" by Carina Gardner.

Also, I was looking at my stash the other day and realized I only had yardage of one gray print. Naturally, that had to be remedied over at Fabricworm :)


I'm so glad to hear a nice MIL story! I have three boys and I live in fear of them marrying someone who can't stand me and cringe at all MIL horror stories. I bet she just treasures that quilt :)

I have been handquilting my latest quilt and I found that I love it. It's great to feel productive when watching reality TV while under a cozy quilt. Plus I like the look and the personal touch.

Your pictures are improving. Are you figuring some things out on photoshop? I have mine downloaded...you will have to give me some pointers. Its been soooo long since I have played with it.

I really need to improve my hand work. Congrats to you for such beautiful projects!

Love your story Kaelin!! Good on ya to be so disciplined and save for your home. The best part about your hexie blocks is that I will have one, too!!! Yippee! I've never made them myself, nor have I ever received one, so I am super excited. I started a make-by-had whirly gig quilt years ago, but have not picked it up for ages. Of course the colours/prints are not my taste anymore, but I think I'll finish it one day because the pattern is gorgeous (and I already have the background and backing fabric curing on my stash shelves!).

I wish I could hand sew, but it never turns out straight which really frustrates me--- I admire your patience. I love the fabric with the skeleton keys and birds!!!

Lovely story. Sounded like me with my MIL and our relationship being so strong. Isn't it great to have that?!

We are ALSO going to be buying a house soon crossing my fingers-and so I need to cut back on purchases as well. Even though I just bought a new sewing machine. It was a really good deal at $500 from 1800 MSRP;)hehehehehe

okay is it pathetic that I'm sad you are starting my fabric diet because I was able to live vicariously through you?! And buy some fabric too? LOL. I love the greys you purchased...I just love greys. I really want the farmdale floral for some reason....wasn't sure about it at first but now it calls to me.

And I LOVE the colors of your first hexie block in particular. It matches Caitlyn's room. ;)

I love your quiting story! What a blessing to have such a wonderful MIL. Good luck saving for the house. It is totally worth it, I miss my house so much. Paint every room! ;)

I'm a newish follower so it's great to hear how your started off quilting. How lucky you are to have such a lovely, inspiring MIL!mine's a sweetie too but you hear some scary stories. Your hexis are looking great. The colours in the first block are gorgeous!!

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