Huge secret project reveal

I have been working on a secret project that has taken every bit of my time and energy the last few months.

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But it has absolutely nothing to do with sewing or quilting!

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This sweet surprise has taken my world by storm. I have been terribly ill and completely unable to sew for 7 or 8 weeks now; a pretty drastic lifestyle change for someone who sewed daily for the last couple of years.

My husband and I were pretty certain that 2 kids was enough. So certain, in fact, that we canceled the maternity coverage rider on our health insurance plan. BIG OOPS. Lesson learned: don’t cancel the maternity coverage until you’re ready to schedule the vasectomy!

Despite the sickness and the insurance woes, my household is buzzing with excitement. This child is such a gift, precisely because it wasn’t something we would have chosen on our own. Even before I took the pregnancy test I somehow wanted it to be positive. My head could give you a list a mile long of the reasons we thought 2 was enough, but my heart knew better.

One of the hardest parts has been accepting the change this will mean for my sewing and blogging. I had to mourn a little over the loss of my sewing room (which will be turned back into a nursery) and the impossibility of attending Quilt Con with a 2 month old. (I’m sure some super-moms will be there with babies but I’ll be at home taking a nap.)

I think it will be quite some time before I return to daily sewing. Right now it’s hard to imagine wanting to sew at all, but I know that’s the nausea talking.

I want to thank you guys for being a part of my sewing life for the last year since I started blogging! As soon as I’m ready to start sewing again I am sure I will want to continue sharing my projects with you.

But in the meantime, please know that I am happily resting & waiting for our Christmas baby.

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Not manic, don’t panic

A little progress on my kilim quilt

A little progress on my kilim quilt

I’ve been sick the last couple of weeks and it’s given me a chance to regain some much-needed perspective on my sewing life.

Sewing organizes and motivates my days, my weeks, my months & years. When the kids come running into our bedroom at 5:30 am (not an uncommon wakeup time for my energetic 3 & 4 year old boys) I can usually muster a good mood when I think about the sewing I’ll be able to get done once they’re fed and contentedly playing with legos.

When I lay in bed at night and assess my day, I get tremendous satisfaction from listing the projects I made progress on.

I feel so blessed to have something in my life that I enjoy so much, but it also has a dark side. While checking things off my to do list buoys my spirit, being unable to accomplish things weighs me down. It’s hard for me to agree to activities that keep me away from my sewing room for a full day or more.

Sometimes the pace I set for myself feels downright manic.

So spending a lot of time resting, cuddling with my boys & watching them play has been strangely good. It makes me want to be much more careful about letting my sewing to do list rule my life and determine my mood. I don’t know if I really want to spend less time sewing, I just want to approach it with less intensity.

Pretty fabric shot, just because

Pretty fabric shot, just because

I want to slow down. There is no race to see who can make the most quilts this year.

For a short while I’ll probably be talking more about things like fabric purchases (that’s Leah Duncan’s Meadow, by the way), bee blocks and project ideas that I won’t necessarily pursue.  I hope you’ll stick around and enjoy a slightly less panicky Sarah Quilts. :)

Fabric Spark blogger bundle giveaway!

I was so excited to be contacted by Daryl of Fabric Spark to create a blogger bundle for her site. She was so fun to work with because she’s just as passionate about fabric as I am. And I love her taste, so choosing this bundle was almost too easy.

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I hope you love it too because you have a chance to win it!

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To enter, simply click over to Fabric Spark and take a look around. Come back and leave a comment telling me what you like in Daryl’s shop.

The giveaway is open internationally and will close next Wednesday, April 23, at 12 pm EST.

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Oh, and be sure to look us up on Instagram (@sarahschraw and @fabricspark) because there’s an identical giveaway going on there!

WIP: kilim quilt

I haven’t technically started cutting or sewing yet, but I feel like I’ve already come a long way on this project (previously blogged here) just by figuring out the design and choosing fabrics.

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I spent a lot of time coloring in this rather large color & piecing guide. But I think it will be time well spent because now the design and color placement are all but finalized. And bonus: I can see it across the room.

I used double stick tape to attach the individual pieces to the wall so I can take the one I’m working on to my cutting station. The design has 8 whole blocks, 6 half blocks, and 4 quarter blocks. To create the half and quarter blocks, I’ll actually be able to piece a whole block and then cut it.

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That would have been far too confusing if I didn’t have this handy color chart.

For the fabric, I chose Art Gallery Pure Elements, which I am delighted to tell you were provided by Fat Quarter Shop because they have agreed to sponsor this project!

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I chose Pure Elements for 2 main reasons. The first is because I had a strong suspicion that these solids would be really soft and shimmery just because they’re Art Gallery. I was not disappointed. They’re gorgeous. But, even more importantly, I was drawn to this line because it’s a cohesive, limited collection. There are only 54 colors and they all seem to look great together. Ordering solids online can be tricky, so a line like this helps.

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I have ordered just a couple more shades to give myself some additional options. I love this stack but it doesn’t quite capture the contrast of the colors from the rug. This stack is almost too coordinated.

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I ordered a truer red, a less-blue purple, and a less-green yellow. That should give me an effect closer to that of the rug.

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After the holiday weekend I’m going to hit this project hard! I can’t wait.

Be sure to check in with me tomorrow because I’ll be giving away my very first blogger bundle, from the really cool Canadian site Fabric Spark!

Friday finish: modern flower garden quilt top

I finished a quilt top this week! It’s the perfect quilt for spring, although these are the only flowers you’ll see where I live for several weeks yet.

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I’m very pleased with my decision to vary the backgrounds and leave out the sashing. (I discussed that decision in my funkify post).

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This quilt was the practice appliqué project from the Stitched in Color/ penny sampler class. If you guys have the opportunity, I would highly recommend Rachel’s classes. They are a commitment, so it’s best to plan ahead and devote most of your sewing time to the class while it’s in session. But it’s worth it. I learned a lot and it definitely paved the way for the projects I’m doing now.

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Let’s talk about quilting this heavy son of a gun! Stitching in the ditch won’t be enough because the blocks are 13 inches. And I don’t want to straight stitch between the petals because they probably aren’t uniformly positioned enough and I don’t really want to break them up that way anyway. The only decent option I can come up with is to hand quilt around the petals. I would use a white thread – creating texture rather than contrasting color because the sketch stitching is already decorative enough.

I know you’re going to say that FMQ all the backgrounds would be cool, and you’re right. It would. If I knew how to do that. I’m not willing to take that on right now because I’m too anxious to start my kilim quilt. Do you think having it long-armed is a good idea? I’ve never sent a quilt out for quilting before.

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I’m actually considering selling this quilt, and maybe neon sampler as well. Have any of you had good experiences with that? Do you know anyone who might be interested? I’d really like to get a nice new camera for blog photos, and EQ7 (design software). And someone has to pay for my plane ticket to Quilt Con next year! My intention isn’t to make it into a “business,” but more of a “self-sustaining hobby” if that makes sense.

I’ll be back for WIP Wednesday next week with my finished color chart for the kilim quilt and my fabric choices. It is going to be a very happy mail week.

Linking up with Crazy Mom!

WIP(s)

Sometimes the best incentive to finish a quilt is the burning desire to start the next one.

I saw this kilim (kee-leem: a middle eastern flat woven rug) on Instagram a few weeks ago and couldn’t get it out of my head. It is so obviously meant to be a quilt.

Moreover, it seems it is meant to be a quilt done in solids. What??? I know. Not my usual thing. But in this case I think any print would take away from the graphic impact of the design. I truly want to make a quilt that looks as much like this exact rug as possible. I don’t stash solids, so I’ll have to do some shopping. Oh darn!

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I started sketching and experimenting with different ways of putting this quilt together. If you are an experienced quilter, you probably noticed the HSTs (half square triangles) right away. They’re set on point (diagonal) but I think I can handle that aspect. The truly challenging part has been deciphering a repeatable block pattern to make the process more reasonable (to avoid the tedium & confusion of piecing this row by row).

Ultimately I came up with this block.

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Set on point and colored in, you can see the kilim design begin to emerge.

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Now, this doesn’t quite replicate the rug exactly. There will be some small differences, but I hope to capture the essence of the kilim while at the same time creating a quilt block that can be easily shared and replicated by others.

It’s going to be a lot of HSTs. A lot. I’m going to try a different method this time- kind of a “back to basics” approach. In my HST tutorial, I advocate creating oversized HSTs and trimming them down (a very common modern day method). But as my sewing accuracy increases I’m not sure it’s necessary. And it’s such a pain that I’m not going to do it if it’s not necessary. I’ll test it and report back! I may be updating that HST tutorial soon.

I guess I need to be careful making absolute statements like “I don’t use solids” or “I always trim my HSTs.”

But meanwhile! I have another quilt that I am forcing myself to complete first, at least to the “finished top” phase. I am so close.

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I’m hoping to be able to share it on Friday because HIP HIP HOORAY SPRING BREAK IS OVER. Spring break is very hard on the mothers. My preschooler goes back to school on Thursday, and I’m planning to stitch this all up then.

I am also collecting fabrics for one more project, but I’ll share the details of that another day. Here’s a sneaky peak of the growing pile though.

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Mmm. These are personal favorites of mine, all Denyse Schmidt (Katie Jump Rope, Flea Market Fancy, and Picnic & Fairgrounds).

I’m sure it will be the thought of cutting into this project that gets me through all those HSTs for the kilim quilt. And the cycle continues…