Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop here comes the Bacon!

My dear Internet and real life friend Tessa (you may know her as The Sewing Chick), tagged me in the around the world blog hop. Tessa is the best. Three things about Tessa before I start: (1) She has the BEST sense of style, this lady can combine some fabrics to make it her own. (2) She is an immaculate and precise seamstress (sewer? sewist?). You know she knows what she is doing and if you need help with something, she knows how to do it and probably has some tricks. She taught me the best way to put on binding. Seriously the best. (3) She is hilarious and adorable. I am proud to call her my friend.

So as I understand it, I am supposed to answer some questions about myself and give you some insight into my soul or something like that.

Let’s start with the basic stats. I am 29 years old. I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I have been married to my best friend for a little over 4 years and we have been together for over 10 years. He is a fabric purchase enabler, a photo shoot assistant, quilt namer, great cook, plays hockey, historian, and super hero (at least to me).

I grew up in Portland, Oregon, lived in Denver for six years. I love the east coast, but I secretly miss the mountains, gray skies, and skiing in Oregon.

For my day job, I am an archaeologist. It is not glamorous and I do not have a whip or fedora. I do travel a ton and sometimes I bring a sewing machine. My specialty in my field is really obscure and techy.

I learned to sew when I was super little. My best friend’s mom made all of her outerwear and I was so jealous. I distinctly remember a raincoat with a cat patch on it that was handed down to me that I wore OUT. Fortunate for me, Susan was happy to teach, although I was not a patient student. I also joined sewing 4-H in middle school, where a very patient woman taught me and one other girl basically everything I know today. Sometimes I wonder how she is doing and if her little daughter grew up to love sewing with the passion she instilled in me.

I basically forgot about all sewing until graduate school when my friend was trying to make something with her new sewing machine and I surprised everyone (myself included) by jumping in and showing her how do everything (she did not know how to sew). Apparently, I did not forget anything.

I got a sewing machine from my parents for Christmas after I graduated. I made my first quilt while Derek was in Germany doing dissertation research. I started my second quilt almost immediately and I have not stopped quilting since.

What is my style?
I don’t know. I like color and pattern. I make quilts with patterns and without. I often start a quilt without doing any math and remain unconcerned with the results until the end. I rarely buy fabric for a project, but instead I spend way too much time cultivating my stash. I love traditional patterns and, I guess, I tend to approach them from a “modern” slant. Sometimes, I just get an idea and go for it. At the end of the day we are all quilters and I try not to take myself too seriously. My dream project is to make a quilt with a giant cat on it, made out of cat fabrics I have collected over the years. I am putting that out here because I trust you, my friends, to not steal that idea.

What are you working on now?
I just finished an epic binding marathon, so I should have some new things to share here soon. As far as actually working on, I have two quilts all basted and ready to quilt (soon, very soon). I have my paint chip quilt that I am quilting. Otherwise, most of my other projects exist in only my head right now. 

What is my favorite project?
Hands down my clamshell. I pretty much always love my latest finish the most of anything, but finishing my Pink Chowder quilt taught me I can do anything. I cut, pieced and quilted that. So bring it on.  I also made that quilt with some of my dearest friends, they gave me fabric to use as clams, they encouraged me. They complimented me and teased me. They brought me starburst and onion dip and diet coke and wine. Friends are the best aren’t they?

I am not going to tag anyone here. Not because I don’t love you, but this hop has been going on for a bit and I don’t want to call out those who have already been called upon. This post is also over a week late. Woops! If you want to play, by all means! Link your post below; I want to know what you think. I promise.

I am sorry if this is a little stream of consciousness and a bit long. I am writing it in a hotel room, I am on a work trip this week. I have barely recovered from my trip to my grandmother’s house and I had a conference all last week. I had a great time visiting with family and colleagues, but I am bone tired from what feels like constantly talking for a week.

I love you all. Thanks for being here, thanks for making it this far. I give you this cat.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Tangelo It.

As I write this, I am sitting on a bumpy plane. I am jetting off to Oklahoma to celebrate my Grandmother’s 85th birthday. My Grandmother is an amazing person (I am sure your grandmother is too). This lady grew up in the middle of nowhere, rode a horse to elementary school and then boarded in town for high school.  She mothered five boys and one girl, who are six of the best Uncles, Aunt, and Dad a girl could ask for (Hi Aunt Barbara!). She has made to every grandchild’s wedding so far to be the best cheerleader ever, also, in the case of my wedding, help make some amazing pies. It has been getting harder for her to travel, so this weekend we travel to her. It is her turn to get celebrated and it is going to be a shindig! This woman has over 20 grandchildren and I have lost count of the great-grandchildren. I cannot wait. Rest assured that I made her a snuggly lap quilt for her armchair. I can’t wait to show you pictures.

Now that I have blathered on about one of my favorite people and inspiration, I am going to show you an unrelated finish.

Drumroll please….

My Tangelo!

Some of you (maybe all of you) may know, I am a huge fan of Carolyn Friedlander.  She is an amazing fabric and pattern designer and just one of the best people a girl could hope to know. Her patterns inspire me to combine color and texture. They make my heart sing in their striking, complex simplicity (it is a thing).

I have made it a personal resolution recently to make quilts for me and to try hard things. Now, when I say quilts for me… I do not actually mean I am going to keep them all, I mean when I quilt, I want to express myself just a little, even if it is for someone else. It is the way this is fun for me.

The Tangelo is for me. Blue is my favorite color. I love metallic.

This was also a hard thing. It took me nearly six months (not working constantly, but still). I worked on this quilt during two sewing weekends with my ladies. Then, I quilted this quilt all over with custom free motion quilting and used wool batting to make that quilting stand out. Also, it made this quilt super substantial and comfy). I had to piece the backing with geese, because a front this complex just needed a little something on the back.

I matched my Aurifil thread to each solid color. Yes, maybe a little obsessive? But, I need to do what I need to do. I don’t make money at this, we don’t need any more quilts to physically keep us warm in our home. What I NEED is to see the picture of colors and patterns I have in my head come alive.

Welcome to my living room Tangelo. I think I am going to like seeing you there.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Tangelo by Carolyn Friedlander
Fabric: Whites are from Architextures and Botanics both designed by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman and Dear Stella Confetti Dots. The blues are assorted Robert Kaufman Kona cottons and Moda Bella solids. The backing is widescreen in gray by Robert Kaufman with Botanics and scraps from the front.
Quilting: Custom straight line with my free motion quilting foot with about six shades of Aurifil thread.
Batting: Quilters Dream Wool
Size: 68" x 72" 

P.S. - I got to introduce Carolyn to my Tangelo when she came to North Carolina to teach. This was a high point.

P.P.S. – The quilt is not quite straight in any of these pictures, but I must defend my quilt holder, this quilt is large and heavy. It far exceeded his wingspan and he is tall guy… I think I need a new photo set-up for big quilts.