Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hand-Pieced Hexagons (WIP)

One of my favorite parts of quilting is the gathering of fabric.  Sometimes a quilt comes together quickly.  I spot a collection or a fat quarter bundle that I love and a quilt idea is born.  Other times the fabric comes together slowly, a fabric or two at a time.  As as the collection grows, so does the plan for a quilt.  This was the case with Freddy's hand-pieced, hexagon quilt.

I started collected fabric for this quilt long before Freddy was born.  My goal was to create a blanket that didn't scream "boy" or "girl", but rather one that just suggested the sweetness of "childhood." The fabrics that anchor the quilt are Sarah Jane's "Rocket Launch Club" and Riley Blake's "The Simple Life."  With them, I placed low volume fabrics with red accents, some blues and gray to anchor it, and a couple yellows for brightness and contrast.

The design for the quilt came about during I time I was a little obsessed with hexagons.  The hexagon is a pretty awesome shape.  A couple years ago Moda started making hexagonal precuts.  Since I was working at the Studio at the time, I made a couple hexagon quilts, one using Moda's precuts and one with hexagons that I cut out myself.  (From this I discovered that unless you really enjoy spending hours at the cutting mat, the precuts are worth every penny.) There is one more way to make a hexagon quilt: English paper piecing.  It involves sewing fabric to paper hexagons and then whip stitching the pieces together.

The childhood fabrics called for a simple patchwork design and hexagons seemed like the perfect way to make it both simple and fun.  I planned the quilt to be crib size (36" x 54").  It would require about two hundred 2-inch hexagons.  Designing a quilt is probably about 50% of the fun for me.  So with the plan done, this quilt sat in a box for nearly a year.

Last January I finally had the motivation to get started on it.  I had just found out that we were expecting a baby.  We kept the news to mostly to ourselves for the first couple months, so working on the quilt was a great outlet for all my excitement.

I had to put the quilt on hold as we started to look for a house and I focused in on preparing my calculus class for the AP Test.  I picked up the quilt again during our summer vacation to the Oregon Coast.  But after Freddy was born it just sat in my sewing basket.  Until last month, when Freddy discovered it.

Now I'm back at work.  The goal is to get it completely finished (pieced, quilted, and bound) by Freddy's first birthday in September.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New Beginnings

This week I learned that my favorite little quilt shop--the place where I learned to quilt and always found so much inspiration--is closing its storefront and going online. The West Seattle Fabric Company has not only been a part of the community, it has created a community of aspiring and accomplished "sewists".  In 2011, I took my very first quilting class there, and a little over a year later I was began teaching quilting there myself.

Hearing the news of the closure has led me to reflect quite a bit about the last year and a half.  I left the Stitch & Sew Studio to go back to teaching math.  Then I left teaching math to stay home and be with my son, Frederick, born last September.  Now Frederick ("Freddy") is six months old and I feel like a mother bear must feel when emerging from hibernation.  I finally feel like I might be able to pull off this parenthood thing. I'm almost keeping up with laundry and dishes, and we eat homemade meals a few times a week.  I can even snatch a few hours for reading and sewing. Life is pretty good. But still I catch myself missing those fun, care free days working in the Studio.  

Monica & Greg, the owners of WSFCo, are forever looking on the positive side. So this weekend they are having a "Liquidation Celebration."  And when one door closes, another one opens.  They will continue selling fabric online and will teach classes, finish quilts, and repair machine out of their new space.

The Stitch & Sew Studio (October 2012)

Frederick Jason (6 months)