Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It is August.

I know I should just hop back into blogging like I was never gone, like it is totally normal. No biggie, here I am.

I feel I need to say something.

We are still buying the house I mentioned shopping for a couple of posts ago. It is a long process because it is under construction. I don't want to talk about it too much because it just feels unreal. We are completely thrilled with the house and honestly can't believe we get to live there when it is done.

It is a journey, a journey full of sawdust and paint, inspections, rapid progress and then disappointing news. We are expecting to be living there in a couple of weeks (pinch me) and once we are there I will give you all a tour. My sewing room is going to be particularly epic.

At the end of July we had to be out of our rental of five years. Now we (my husband, our Max cat, and my two sewing machines) have moved into a coworker's house (whilst she is out of town) until our house is done. We are doing alright, but I feel like today was the first day I have sat down in weeks.

Wait, Sarah, WAIT a second, did you say TWO sewing machines? Yes, my friends I did.

This July my dearest Juju (Jukie TL 2010q) and I welcomed our newest team member, a (new to us) Bernina 165 Activa.  Her name is Bebe (get it?!) This machine is just exactly the opposite of Juju in pretty much every way except that both of these machines are heavy duty, all metal workers that sew beautiful stitches. Bebe does all the fancy zig zags and buttonholes (heck, she even has an embroidery module I have not touched, see above for why). She is smaller, quieter (not much lighter) and will probably become my go-to travel machine. I still love Juju and would recommend her to most serious quilters in a heartbeat, but I think most sewers need to have a Bebe for those other projects.

I snagged Bebe in a pretty killer deal (I felt good about it) from a fellow Triangle MQG member on our listserv. She is not brand new, but she sews beautifully and, honestly, I can't stomach new Bernina prices. I know they are great machines, I would recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone, but house buying me could not be in the market for one of those new machines. Bebe is an amazing team member though and we are happy to have her!

So friends, this is me. Right now, in a new town, living out of a suitcase. The bacon clan is holding it together and waiting for our dream home to be ready for us. I am trying to find my love of sewing after weeks of exhausting packing. Also, an edited selection of my sewing projects are living in boxes in our temporary living room. I already miss my stash.

It is not bad. Transitions are part of life and adulting is hard stuff.

Love you all, no promises on when I will be back, but I am here and I will come back.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dear Baby, You are Loved.

Dear Gwendolyn,

I had a hard time starting this letter; there are just so many things I want to say to you. I know you are just a little one and it will be years before you can understand these words that I type.

Let me start with the easiest thing, you are so special little one, so loved, and so precious.

Your parents are pretty great. I mean, you are a pretty lucky little one. I know they will be there for you forever. I know this because I know them. I have known your mom many years before the beginning of your time. She is the best. I have known your dad for some smaller number of years before your time, but he has proven to be a pretty awesome guy too.

I know your parents probably have many hopes and dreams for you little one, but let me add a few. I hope that you have a happy childhood, full of tire swings, time machines, daydreams, and fairy tales. I hope you experience sledding down hills at top speeds, climbing mountains, waking up to clear bird calls in sun filled tents, and hearing echoes. I hope there are flowers, mud, and bugs. Eating warm wild strawberries, dandelion necklaces, mosquito bites, bicycles, macaroni and cheese.  Mud puddles and rainbows, tree houses, story telling, legos, and cold mountain lakes.

I dream that you will grow up confident and happy. I dream that you will have convictions and beliefs and that you will keep them and change them as you find you need to. I dream that you will be a girl who knows she is strong and woman who knows she is stronger. I dream that the world you live in accepts you for who you are and treats you as an equal.

Most of all, little one, I dream and hope you turn out a lot like another little girl and woman I admire a great deal, your mom.

Sending warm love and kind regards. May the force be with you.


PS - I am sorry if this is a little cheesy, but real like can be like that.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: A combination of paper pieced pattern set at random. Strawberry by Sew-ichgo, paper crane by Kitten’s Mittens, mushroom and gnomes by Artisania, and paper airplaine by Quiet Play.
Fabric: Assorted stash fabrics, Heather Ross, Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Joel Dewberry, Bonnie and Camille, among others…
Quilting: Shell pattern with white Aurifil
Size: approximately 40” x 40”

Finished: March 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bacon Punk

I had trouble putting words on this screen to talk about this quilt. 

It is everything I love about a quilt. It is everything I love about quilting. 

Recently, I have been trying to shift my quilting focus towards trying all the hard things. I want to look at patterns and designs and feel empowered instead of scared. I want sewing and quilting to feel like a journey. Personally, I believe that perfecting my craft is part of the fun and that you have to know the rules in order to break them. I am proud to consider myself a quilter within the tradition and I embrace my quilty forebears. Someday, we can sit down with a cup of coffee and I will share my opinion on all the divisions quilting (modern, traditional, art, oh my). For now I will just say, we are all quilters.

When I first saw Jen Kingwell's Steam Punk quilt, I loved it. But then, the little voice inside my head told me that I could not make that. It was too hard. Templates. Curves. Appliqué. 

On a whim, I went for it. I ordered the pattern, I ordered some acrylic templates. I opened my scrap bins. I combed through my stash.

Each block was an adventure. I didn't have a plan. I just started making blocks. There was some intense fussy cutting and a large number of cats (honestly because I have a lot of cat fabric in my stash, no particular design plan). 

Because rainbows. 

Then, all of a sudden, I had all of the blocks. 

Over a couple of work trips, I hand appliquéd. It seemed to go fast.

Scraps on the back. I guess we could call this improv?

It is not perfect, I could probably point out all the mistakes. It is mine and I am so proud of it.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Bacon Punk
Size: approximately 71" x 71"
Pattern: Steam Punk by Jen Kingwell
Quilting: Shell free motion quilting with Aurifil white thread
Finished: April 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sanibel Summer Candy with a Giveaway

Good Morning and Happy Monday my friends! I hope you had an excellent holiday weekend.

Today I have a special treat for you! It is my stop on the Sanibel Blog Hop. This line of fabric by Gina Martin (a Moda designer) is super summery and it makes me want to go to the beach. It has sunglasses, adirondack chairs, bright flowers and gorgeous summer colors.

I had such tough time deciding on what to make with my stack of fabric. Then my bestie Lee of May Chappell sent me a bunch of her patterns and I fell in love with her Eye Candy Pattern. It was perfect to show off the beautiful focal prints and blenders from Sanibel. I think you will agree.

I fussy cut those summer flowers and lined up some of my favorite chair prints. I love those basket weave prints, they remind me of lawn chairs my parents had growing up. This line is nostalgia made bright and modern. It is perfect for beaches, picnics, and cuddling by the bonfire.

The Eye Candy pattern is also pretty much amazing. To get real life all on here for a second. I have been super busy with work and my husband and I are house shopping and he is busy with work and I have been traveling a ton (a run on sentence for my run on life). Shocking no one, I got super sick the weekend I was supposed to work on this project. I am telling you all this because I ran low on time and I made this throw quilt top in two sittings. One night after work, I cut the whole thing. Then I sewed up the whole top in 3 hours on a Sunday! Stay tuned for a complete quilt top to come very soon. I need to finish it in time for summer concert season. This will be the perfect picnic blanket. 

I wanted to give you some tips for sewing up this pattern. The pattern itself is great and doesn't need too many tips, but I have a couple of general pointers.

- This pattern is really ideal for chain piecing. I recommend cutting all of the pieces in one sitting and labeling each of your cut types.

- There are three types of blocks you make for this quilt: flying geese, hourglass blocks, and your center "candy" squares. I recommend making all of each type of piece in batches.

- Once you have made all of your blocks you can decide how you want to place your "candy" blocks.

- I had fun with my center fussy cuts. This pattern is great for showing off those focal prints you fall in love with. I think it is great for showing off a fabric line or specific color story you love too.

- Try a fun background. I decided to go bold with Moda Bella Summerhouse Lime, but you could try anything. I tried to think outside my comfort zone with this one.

I saved the best for last, I am giving away a Sanibel Jelly Roll and a PDF copy of the Eye Candy pattern right here right now! All you have to do is comment on this post and tell me where you go for your favorite vacation. This summer I don't think we will get a long vacation (buying a house and all), so I need to live vicariously through you. I will choose the winner via random number generator on Sunday, April 12th. International winners are okay! Make sure you are not a no-reply blogger.

That is not all, nope! I am doing a bonus giveaway. I am giving away this bundle of 10, 1/3 yard cuts of Sanibel and another PDF copy of Eye Candy on Instagram. Incidentally, this is exactly what you need to make your very own Eye Candy quilt (minus background). Click on over to my instagram (@stitchingandbacon), follow me, and comment on the contest photo for another chance to win a bundle and pattern! For this giveaway I can only do U.S. winners, I am so sorry friends. 

There are two chances to win two prizes! Once on this blog and once on instagram. 

The winner of the blog post was comment number 3! Cassandra, who is headed off to Myrtle Beach this summer! I have already emailed Cassandra. Thanks for playing my friends!

Be sure to check out the other blog hop participants this week for more precut giveaways and fun project ideas.

Monday - April 6th
Stitching and Bacon - That's me!

Tuesday - April 7th

Wednesday - April 8th

Thursday - April 9th

Friday - April 10th
Gina Martin at Pattern and Hue

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bacon's First Quilt Show

Sorry if this is a bit late and you are super sick of Quilt Con posts. But I wanted to include some thoughts on having quilts in the show. 

I had two quilts in the show at Quilt Con. This was the first time I had shown my work in any serious way (not that I don’t love bloggers’ quilt festival, but it is not juried and it is more of a celebration than critical experience).

I didn’t win anything, but I am not disappointed. I honestly feel like seeing my quilts in the show was a great prize. I have also not gotten my feedback from the judges yet, so I don’t know how they did. I am not sure I will share the feedback on this blog. I doubt the judges will be harder on me than I am on myself, so I am not too concerned with what the judges think.

I just wanted to use this space to ruminate on how showing my quilts made me feel.

When I first saw my quilts on the show floor, I got really excited. I made that! It is hanging from the wall! There is a label with my name on it!  It looks like Art! Then I started looking around and comparing my quilt with its neighbors. Is it as good as the other ones? Can they tell that my quilting isn’t even? Do they see the cat hair?

I do not make show quilts. I started these quilts with the intention that they would be mine.  I designed them because I had to. It is hard to explain, but sometimes quilting for me is like reading a really good book. I just can’t put it down until I see the end. I need to know!

I made these quilts with the idea that I would control their narrative. Most quilters do that; we make quilts for people, for charity, for our homes and beds. We quilt because we want to. We know that they will be loved. In a sense, we control who sees our work and where they go. When my quilts got into the show and while they were hanging, I lost control of the narrative. People, anyone who wanted to pay to get onto the show floor, could think anything they wanted about my work. This is not necessarily bad; it just is totally outside my experience as a first time quilt entrant. Strangers could not only judge my craft, they could interpret my work however they wanted.  They could be inspired, disgusted, bored, etc.

I am generally not concerned by the thoughts of others and I don’t think I mind losing control of my quilts for the weekend. I am definitely not fishing for compliments or writing this to be self-deprecating.

I just found it to be a completely disconcerting experience to stand on the show floor and watch people experience my work. These are people who don’t know me. They don’t read this blog. They don’t know I have a neurotic cat and love blue. They don’t know I collect cat fabric and need to sew like I need to breathe. They have no idea what my other work looks like. They are just experiencing this quilt, this collection of cotton fibers that three months ago I was curled up under, as a piece of art. For that moment, it belonged to them.

My quilts arrived at home yesterday. Soon they will be back on my couch. I think I will take off the hanging sleeves that I had to attach by hand. They will both go back on the couch to be cuddled and snuggled under as I always intended.

I also think I will probably enter more quilt shows.

One thing that I know, I will continue to make more quilts. I have to.

Thanks for reading friends. Next post we will be back to our regularly scheduled nonsense.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hello Quilt Con! My name is Stitching and Bacon

I often like to start a blog post by stating where I am located while I am typing these words. Usually it is some tiny little town in a generic hotel room for work and sometimes I am at my desk at home in North Carolina.

Today, I am in a plane over the earth on my way to Austin, Texas. I am going to QUILT CON! 

Pause for a second, can I say that again? I am going to Quilt Con. I can hardly believe it. This is such a huge treat for me. It has been planned for months and it is finally here.  It feels like Christmas, Hannukah, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Easter, and my birthday all rolled into one.

Okay, now that I am sort of over that. Are you going to Quilt Con? Can we meet? I am going to have buttons to trade or just give you.

I am going to start this epic blog post by telling you the ways you can find me at Quilt Con.

Firstly, I am taking two classes. Victoria Findley Wolf’s Modern String of Florid Blooms and Yoshiko Jinzenji’s Sheer Fabrics—Silhouette Pillow. I am also volunteering on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday as a classroom assistant and in the lecture hall.

I have two quilts in the show. Please visit them!

You may remember Fade to Black. I love this quilt. More information about this quilt here.

The quilt you may not have seen is Paint Chip.  This quilt deserves its own blog post so I am going to keep this brief here. Rainbows make me happy and this quilt makes me so happy… This quilt feels like it brings its own sunshine.


I am going to be honest about this, I was nervous to share these quilts and tell you I have quilts in the show. There was so much chatter on the Internet about getting into the show and or not getting into the show. I don’t want to seem like I am too modest or brag too much. It is a hard line to tow sometimes.

Okay, off this subject. Talking about these things is hard for me.

I thought I would give you some fun facts about myself! I love lists!

1. Despite my blog name and adorable pig. I am allergic to mammal meat. So, I can’t eat bacon. It is an allergy from ticks, the moral of this story is that bug spray is good and I miss bacon.

2. For my day job, I am an archaeologist. This is not unrelated to fact one.  I travel a ton for work.

3. I grew up in the Portland, Oregon, which is where my parents still live. I moved to Colorado when I was 18 to go to college. I met my husband in college and then I followed him to North Carolina. Until I did that, I swore I would never move for a man. I have never ever regretted my decision to 

4. I am addicted to Pilates and Barre. I try to go to at least 4 classes a week when I am home.

5. My house is under 900 square feet and we have 12 quilts in our living room.

6.  I love to cook. My husband and I cook dinner together almost every night.

7. My favorite colors are blue, pink, and I love everything with cats on it. I am also super into kitsch.

I hope we get to meet at Quilt Con if you are going. If not, I promise to recap as much as I can. You should follow me on instagram (@stitchingandbacon) for the play-by-play.

Love you all friends! I hope you are having a great week!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Blue is a Happy Color Scrappy Quilt

I had trouble naming this quilt. I mean, it is just a quilt. It was not hard to make, I didn't spend a long time debating my fabric choices or patterns. But, I did enjoy every second I worked on this project. Sometimes just a quilt is just what you need.

We have had a tough couple of months in Bacon casa. No babies (at least ones that belong to us) or divorces, but life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes when you are THINKING so hard about everything in your life you need to enter your sewing room and not think at all. This is a project born out of my desire to meditatively cut fabric apart and sew it together. This is also a project born out of the fact that I could not close either of my two (two!) blue scrap bins. My two low volume scrap bins were also not closing anymore. My color choices were made for me.

Blue is also my favorite. A happy color for me.

I knew I needed something simple and I also needed to use small pieces (scraps, amiright). I did make some rules for myself. The best meditation is done within constraints. I could not cut yardage. In a pinch, I was allowed to use fat quarters. I was not allowed to think about placement. I cut. I sewed. I pressed. It took me less than a week to make this top.

My instagram friends and my husband both convinced me that bigger is better. So this is twin sized. I also decided I needed some quilts that fit beds.

I didn't want to think about quilting either. I also think this quilt demanded simplicity so I went for straight lines in a crosshatch. I didn't mark, just eyeballed the lines using the quilt.  I tried to play with thread color switching between blue and white Aurifil, but you can barely tell.

One of the best things about scrappy quilts are the little nuggets from other projects you find. There are gnomes, cats (so many cats), frogs, dots, bridges, birds. text, bicycles, metallics, flowers, and deer... to name a few. Did I mention this project had very few rules?

Just in case you want to make your own scrappy Irish chain (did I mention that this is an Irish chain?) here are some stats. I cut 2.5" squares for each of the nine patch blocks. The large low volume squares are 6.5" (unfinished). Each block is 6" square finished. It is 11 squares across and 15 squares tall (measuring 66" by 90", taller than my 6'1'' quilt holder).

So, my first true finish of 2015. I started on new years and had the whole thing done in January. Just blogging now. New years resolution is going well.

Sew Joy my friends.

I love you all and I promise life is going okay. I promise you I have some fun stuff planned. I am heading to Quilt Con in 11 days (!). I have a post planned about my quilts that are going to be hanging in the show and I have a fun blog hop coming up sewing with some gorgeous bright and happy Gina Martin fabrics.

Cheers! Let me know if you are coming to Quilt Con in Austin. I would love to meet everyone. I can be a little introverted, but I know that we will be friends because we all love quilting and fabric.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Blue is a Happy Color
Size: 66" by 90"
Fabric: Way too many to name, all the girls are here... the backing is Carolyn Friedlander's Widescreen in Yarrow (by Robert Kaufman)
Quilting: Straight line cross hatch with my trusty Aurifil in white and blue.
Finished: January 2015

PS - These photos were all taken at the Mast Farm Inn, Banner Elk, NC. Derek and I took a mini weekend vacation there this weekend to hike in the mountains and curl up by the fire. It is a charming, small (and romantic) inn, which I would highly recommend to my local (and not so local peeps) looking for a unique getaway.  We stayed in a renovated woodworking building, which was completely luxurious.