A Quilt is a Hug

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Earlier this year, one of my best friends moved overseas with her husband.  Even though we haven’t lived in the same city for six years (where is the time going?!), we always managed to spend weekends with each other which made it manageable.  Now that she’s literally half a world away, and 1/2 a day either ahead of me or behind me (I can never remember), I feel her absence so much more acutely than ever before, but also value her friendship more than I ever have.  So, what does a best friend need?  A quilt.  Which is really a hug.  A quilt is a hug.  I just need to hug my best friend.  Really, I just need to sit on her ridiculously comfy couch, eat wheat thins, and watch Castle; but, let’s not get too crazy.

So, here is the love that I am sending to her and her husband.  I love you both, oh so very much!

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I started this quilt forever ago using Christa’s amazing tutorial, and I love how it turned out.

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I cannot put into words how much I love this back.

I think if I could only buy one fabric, that this Anna Marie Horner Totem print would be it.

Is there anything more perfect?

Oh, and some of you might have noticed.  The quilt I made myself this summer has a “matching” back.  This is intentional.  That’s how BFFs roll.

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Up close and personal with the quilting.

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Have I told you lately how much I love Denyse Schmidt?  Because this Shelburne Falls binding is out of control.

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I still can’t get over the fact that I have a label.

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All folded, ready to ship.

Mags, I hope you know just how much I love you, pray for you, and think of you.   Every time you see this, know that each stitch was made with you on my mind, and I have sent you a piece of my heart.  I love you both dearly, I miss you more than words, and I’m so thankful that 17 years ago we made our first friendship notebook like the amazing middle school girls we were.  Thanks for always having my back, but ignoring the back of my unbrushed hair.

A hug is on its way.

Final Quilt Stats

  • 56 in x 66 inches
  • Charming Chevron Pattern by Christa
  • Kona Charm Pack: Brights
  • Binding: Shelburne Falls, Deco Dot in Willow, by Denyse Schmidt
  • Backing: Totem in Grapefruit (Anna Marie Horner) and Sunspots in Mint (Amy Butler)
  • Quilted by Me on my Bernina 215

 

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Free(dom)

Well, friends, I’ve gone and done it.  You knew this was coming.  I’ve finally free-motion quilted a quilt.  Yes, a full sized quilt.  Now, it was not without strife.  Friday night, I sat down and just did it.  I went for it, and while it wasn’t perfect, I was oh so very proud of myself.

So I ran to my husband just before midnight and said, “How do you like it?!”

While you might have already guessed… he hated it.

I think I can paraphrase pretty well, “You’ve taken something I loved, with such clean lines and ruined it. Some of my curves look like jagged icicles.  Can you take it out?”

Wait, excuse me?  Take out all of these curved lines – are you out of your mind?

I’d rather load the dishwasher, and we know that’s not happening, sweetheart.

So, I put out a call to my quilting friends, where you all sided with me (THANKS, loves), and I finally finished quilting it on Sunday.

What do you think?

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It might not be perfect, and I learned a lot along the way.  However, can we all agree that my husband was wrong?

Hallelujah!

In closing, the quilt is actually finished now – and weather permitting/nothern sun disappearing all of the sudden, I will post the finished product on Friday!  Also, my husband is generally the best, and there is no one I’d rather do life with.  And, to be fair, they did look like jagged icicles at first, but I knew that they’d all blend in eventually.  Quilting can be so forgiving… unlike an insulted wife…

Sunday Sewing

Welcome to June, y’all.  I may or may not have been sewing in my sports bra today.  New Jersey definitely skipped right over Spring and landed squarely in desert.  This weekend has been extremely productive and I’m excited to show some semi-completed projects.  While the walking foot is still out there making it’s journey home to me, I am determined to get as many quilt tops ready to go before it’s arrival.  I want to make sure it feels right at home when it meets me!

First up, I ironed all of those Hey, Honey, Honey rows that I have been procrastinating forever.  Having this quilt top done is such a relief!  I can’t wait to finish this just in time for the Kate Spain blog hop over at Blossom Hearts Quilts.

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Have I mentioned how much I love Kate Spain?

A little while back, I thought this quilt top was finished.  However, this weekend, I decided to step it up and add a border to finish it off.  It’s going to my best friend who recently moved to another country with her husband who is in the military, and the border just reminds me of a hug.  Basically, she should think I am hugging her at all times when she’s under it.  Which won’t make her claustrophobic at all…

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The hubs and I were acting a bit ridiculous in public taking these pictures.  Reason #4,567 I love him.  This quilt, Charming Chevrons, is based on Christa’s Quilts tutorial and quilt along.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, her tutorial is awesome!  Make this quilt – she has so many variations and it comes together easily!

I also put together the quilt back and I am in love.  Seriously.  In love.  It’s the Totem print by Anna Maria Horner in Grapefruit with some Love dots by Amy Butler.  I mean, what’s not to love about those two designers.  In fact, now I kind of want to keep this quilt…. good thing she’s my best friend and I’ll get to see it again!

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So now I’m ready for a basting party over at my friend Melanie’s house on Thursday!    How awesome to have quilty friends who help you out when you can’t baste anything larger than a baby quilt in your own home.  Blasted carpets and beds.  Everything is ready to go, folded, and packed in my quilting bag.  For Thursday.  Can you tell I’m excited?!

Just wait until you see the binding.  This quilt just screams happiness, right?

So, with all this productivity in the sewing room this weekend, my house is a disaster.  The dishwasher is unloaded, but I haven’t reloaded dishes, my laundry isn’t done, the living room is a hot mess, and I’m completely ill-prepared for tomorrow.

Good thing I found this:

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What a gem.

I’m linking up with Let’s Get Acquainted Monday over at Life’s Rich Pattern.  I’m also super stoked to be participating in the New Blogger Blog Hop this week  hosted by Beth at Plum and June!- I’ve already started brainstorming my post!

Plum and June

Charming Chevron

The charming chevron quilt top is finished!  (Well, I might add some white borders because it’s smaller than I imagined it’d be, but that’s manageable.)  I don’t know how it happened, but I messed up the order of some of the blocks.  I literally did them row by row, and looked at an image of the quilt while I was working and I still managed to get off.  Mistakes happen and my friends are really nice so I should be good.  And, if you don’t get too close all the points match!  Woohoo.  Victory.

I would have been finished sooner, but this happened on our way to lunch.  (Bagels.  Duh.)

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Reason 722 that I love my town.

Street Fairs.  With funnel cakes.

That is all.

Here she is:

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Again, I was the weird quilt lady stopping traffic.

The hubs was also creative director placing the quilt and smoothing out corners.

He just makes me love him more…

I do have a plan for quilting this sucker, but I have to take another FMQ class.

And practice for hours.

Soon it will be heading across the ocean!  And hopefully I will follow it for a visit.

Linking up with Plum and June’s Let’s Get Acquainted – check out the other works!

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Spring Cleaning (the Design Wall)

This Saturday started with a bang.  Construction right.outside.my.house.  No.  No, siree, this is Saturday.  Luckily I have earplugs on hand, a fan, window unit, and an app for white noise.  Don’t mess with teachers’ day to sleep in.

Then I spent a lot of time sewing this quilt together:

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(Don’t worry, Renee, I have fixed those reds/pinks 🙂 )

I think this one has taken me so long to finish because it already looks done on the design wall.  So. not. true.  This joker is a time suck.  So many points to match up, ironing each.step.of. the.way. 

But, I’m proud to say that I’ve made some progress:

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(I need to empty out my trash…)

Four rows are completely sewn together:

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Hopefully I can finish this one up tonight so that I can start piecing together my next quilt.  This is why I needed to clean off my design wall:

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I don’t know who this one belongs to yet, but I’m sure it will come to me.

Now I’m off to a dinner with my husband and his coworkers.  I realized 25 minutes ago that the pants I was going to wear are dirty.  So, now I’m blogging and praying that an outfit becomes magically ready.  I am so smart sometimes.

Happy Saturday, y’all!

 

WiP Wednesday

Days after a tragedy, I’m thinking to myself, should you really be writing about… quilting?    Will my post seem crass, flippant, or worse, annoying?  I’ve felt weird posting anything to social media after the tragedy of the Boston Marathon.  I felt even more uncomfortable with just posting an entry without acknowledging that, yet again, another unspeakable event has occurred.  So while this isn’t the WiP Wednesday I planned to post today, I knew I couldn’t move forward without acknowledging Boston.

Ultimately, my words are not eloquent or important, but I do know that after an event like this, there are opportunities for change within oneself.  On Monday, I watched in horror, paralyzed with fear, compulsively reading updates, aimlessly shifting through emotions.  As a teacher, I was like this after the Sandy Hook shootings.  My mind was on repeat:  What would I do in that situation?  Why?  What is wrong with people?  As a runner, Monday shook me to my core again.  Races have been a place of personal healing for me over the past few years (another topic for another post), and they remain some of the most inspirational events that I have been able to participate in.  I could talk for hours about the love I have for the running community.  And, yet, I know from all of the tragedies before that have brought on these emotions of “What if, why, etc.” that life will continue.  Life does goes on, but with each Columbine, 9/11, Aurora, Newtown, or Boston, shouldn’t life get altered just a bit for those of us lucky enough to escape unscathed and removed?  Shouldn’t we take from the beautiful examples of courage, compassion, bravery, and love that is seen in response to these terrible events?

And then I read my friend’s blog post about her response to the Boston Marathon.  She wrote about how we overcome evil with good, and detailed how she responded to the tragedy by being mindful and present in her life.  For it is in our response that we can honor those that were affected.  Our response can say I will not choose to think that evil can overcome all the good I know to be in this world.

And, so, this is how I responded.

1. I called the people I love.  Instead of thinking about them or stalking their Facebook page, I called them.  (Ok, some of you I texted, but I was at work!)

2.  I stayed up a little later to read a book beside my husband.

3. I set my alarm to go off later to snuggle with my husband.  I decided I could forgo stopping for coffee, and I could.

4.  I played a game of checkers with one of my students, gave extra hugs today, and tried to be extra conscious of being present with my students.

5.  I prayed for the survivors and the victims.

6.  I looked through my pictures from various visits to Boston and gave thanks that I have so many beautiful memories there; from weddings, visits with family members, dinners with friends, and some of my first dates with my husband.  Boston will remain Boston.

7.  I eagerly read as many stories as I could about the heroes from the Boston Marathon.  So. many. reminders. of. the. good. in. people.

8.  I looked up future races to run.

9.  I didn’t get mad at the cars who cut me off, the pedestrians who walked out in front of me, or the man who cut me off in Chipotle.

10.  I had a conversation with the lady who took my toll money and looked her in the eyes and smiled as I said, “Thank you” instead of driving off.

11.  I Said prayers for the men and women who are serving overseas and in our military.  God bless you.

 And I quilted. 

So, yes, I will post what I have created in my little corner of the world, because Boston reminded me why I started quilting in the first place.

Our gut reaction to these tragedies is to love on our people.

To be thankful they are OK.

To tell them we love them.

To think, thank God I get to say “I love you” one more time.

I started quilting because every time I sit under the quilt my grandmother made me I know she loves me, and I wanted to give the same gift to others.  I want them to sit under a quilt I have made for them, so my people will know, “Ashley loves me.”

So, yes, life will go on.  But in light of another tragedy, I want to continue to extend grace and compassion to others, emulating the good that always shows itself in the midst of tragedy.  And for God’s sakes, let me remember to keep telling my people that I love them.

So happy WiP Wednesday, my favorite day of the week.

I cannot wait to see what you are up to, for you inspire me!

Here is my newest Sister’s Ten BOM

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Yes, I’ve made January, February, and April.  I know I skipped March 🙂  Whoops.

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And I’m still sewing away at this one, which is now going to a beautiful friend to say “I love you and I think about you all the time even though we’re countries apart!”

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Happy Wednesday and Happy Quilting to ya!

Charming Chevrons

A while ago I was searching through quilts on Google Images and I came across this simple, but stunning quilt by Christa Quilts! called Charming Chevron.  She has a very detailed tutorial and the quilting she did on her quilt is beautiful.  I had lofty dreams of copying her quilting when I made my own, but I’m going to have to practice FMQ muccccchhhhhhhh more to achieve the pebbles!

Now I’ve finally turned all of these beauties:

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Into way too many half-square triangles:

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That needed to be trimmed to size.  (Have I mentioned I hate cutting fabric?)

Slowly, my own Charming chevron has grown, and transformed on the design wall…Image

As I tried to find a layout that I liked, with colors as evenly spread out as I could make them, I realized that it was harder than I imagined. Until today, when I completed this final layout…  So, what do you think? 

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Is it ready to sew together?