Friday, January 30, 2009

Words Mini Quilt for Sonja

In my last post, I shared the "words" mini quilt that Sonja sent me. Since then, I've received word that she has received the quilt I sent her, so it's safe to share!

Originally, I wasn't going to participate in the "words" swap because I was intimidated by trying to piece letters, which is what I thought most people were going to do. But then I came across some fabric that completely inspired me, and signed up for the swap in the nick of time!

The fabric is from the "Simplicity" line by 3 Sisters for Moda and, despite my terrible photos, I hope you can see the words printed on the fabric. The fabric design features words like "Home", "Peace", "Dwell", and "Harmony". As soon as I saw it, I knew what I was going to do.

I've been really inspired by some of the free pieced quilts I've been seeing (and receiving!), the "Collaborative Quilting" book, and bloggers like Sarah and Tia. In particular, take a look at the blog header at the House of Krom, and you'll see the vibe I was going for.

See the words in the trees? "Love", "family", "dance" and "celebrate". Who wouldn't love a quilt with such happy words? I know I'm late to the party because it seems like this line is on its way out, but "Simplicity" is a really beautiful fabric line.

Once I decided on the concept and the fabrics, everything fell into place. In fact, other than the fabric featuring the words, this quilt is made entirely from scraps that I got from Emily after she finished her daughter's bed quilt!! I've been getting a lot of mileage out of those scraps -- including some of the pillows I made for Christmas gifts. Thanks, Emily!

The best part is, I think Sonja really enjoyed receiving this little quilt. I had a hard time getting good pictures of these fabrics because they're so soft and muted, but Sonja's pictures are much better. Take a look to see where the quilt is living in its new home!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Quilt Dad in anime!

Remember this picture?:

OK, we'll come back to that in a minute.

Back in November, the theme for the 6-12" Mini Quilt Swap was "words". My fast friend Sonja and I were both so indecisive about signing up for it that we missed the boat and partners were assigned without us. Well, we decided to pair up and swap with each other. And we also decided to waive the month-end deadline, make it through the holiday season, take our time and have fun with it.

Well, I received my package from Sonja this week and, boy, was it worth the wait!

First, the goodies:

Check out that package!! Let's take a closer look at what's in there.

First, for Mrs. Quilt Dad:

Some nautical fabrics and matching ribbon. Sonja's incredibly thoughtful note said "For Mrs. Quilt Dad ... May you always be inspired to sew. From one working momma to another." Kiely was touched!

Let's see ... what else was in there?

A ridiculously cute little robot, immediately claimed by my son ...

... some more goodies quickly snatched up by the kids ...

... two fat quarters folded origami-style and a beautiful flower pin made out of fabric ...

... flower elastics for my twin girls and other assorted gifts. Were we spoiled, or what??

And, oh yeah, there was a quilt in there, too! Wanna see it?

Sonja reimagined my funny-faced photo as a Japanese-style brush painting! Isn't this amazing?? I was truly blown away.

Sonja included tigers in the quilt's border, since I was born in the year of the tiger. And, she trimmed the photo with some three-dimensional piping.

The quilt is backed in a wonderfully intricate Asian print.

And here's the quilt's label. You'll notice that Sonja translates the Kanji characters on the front of the quilt ("John", "The King of Kindness", and "Artist Sonja"). How incredible is that? It's so thoughtful and so personal, and I am truly grateful.

Here's one final shot of the front of the quilt:

Sonja, thank you so much. I am so lucky to have gotten to know you and to be exposed to all of the great work that you do. Your creativity is always inspiring ... I hope this isn't the last time we have the opportunity to swap!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Craftster LQS4 Blocks thru 1.20.09

I've been keeping busy making blocks for my Craftster swap. With the deadline fast approaching (some time around Valentine's Day), I've tried to make this top priority and clear it out of the queue!

I'm really happy with many of these blocks so far ... and I think I've shown a lot of progression since the last swap. If nothing else, I'm able to make the blocks a lot more quickly!

12 down, 10 more to go.

Snow Day!

Snow Day! 1/20/2009
Originally uploaded by j_q_adams
Raleigh got about 5" of snow today and, if you know anything about the South, you know that the city was crippled. Schools and offices were closed, so you know what that means ...


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sew Connected | January

January is Tracy's month in the SewConnected group. She sent a really eclectic but beautiful selection of greens and browns ... and two of the solid greens are even silks! Never worked with that before, but it was fun. Here's what I came up with:

And over at SewConnected 2, Kimmie selected a beautiful set of batiks. Like Tracy's silk, I've really never worked with batiks either ... but I love the way all of the colors work together. I recently got my hands on a copy of the Collaborative Quilting book that's often discussed in the quilting forums, and it inspired the bit of spiky border that's along the bottom of the block.

The group is making a really gorgeous set of blocks for Kim -- check them all out in the group pool!

While on the topic of virtual quilting bees, I really love surfing around and seeing what everyone in the other groups is putting together. I've been particularly inspired by a couple of fabric selections recently and wanted to give them some props here on my blog.

A disclaimer: I haven't individually asked these quilters if I could post their pictures on my blog, but I am hoping that fully citing them with links and such will suffice. I apologize if this is poor blogger etiquette -- if you ask me to remove your pictures, I'll gladly do so!

In the new group A Notion or Two, mommyandbeyond recently compiled an amazing selection of greens. I'm a fan of so many of these fabrics individually, but never would have thought to put them all together. SO great, Amy -- I might have to "borrow" this pallette!

I really enjoy following the action over at Common Threads, too. So many of my favorite quilt bloggers are in that group. I can't stop thinking about the fabrics that Lady Harvatine put together back in July. SO cool, Liz! This color scheme is really me. Oh, and the Joel Dewberry chestnuts at the bottom is one of my all-time favorite prints from one of my all-time favorite fabric lines.

And most recently in Common Threads, blempgorf sent out a muted selection of solids and stripes that just work soooo well together. Jenny called them her "sad" fabrics, but they're far more inspired than sad to me. I'm also pasting in some of the blocks that have already been made from these fabrics -- it seems that the other quilters were inspired, too!

(Quilted, in order, by Rebekah, one shabby chick (Amber), and one shabby chick (again)).

And finally, productivity in the Quilt Dad house might slow down considerably for a while ... thanks to our most recent purchase ... ... ...

Oh yeah!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things Received in December

Thanks so much for your warm welcome to Mrs. Quilt Dad in the last post. She had been wary to write a post thus far, but really got into it and LOVED checking the comments to see how everyone responded. I hope it won't be too long until we get her back with another guest post! (Although I guess I'll have to surrender some sewing machine time so that she can make something else to blog about. Hmmmm ...)

December was such a crazy month in the Quilt Dad home that I just realized I forgot to post about some of the things I received leading up to the holidays. So crazy, in fact, that I even took pictures of these things, uploaded them, and edited them ... then promptly forgot all about the final step of blogging about them. Until today.

First up, I received the giveaway prize from Michelle that I had previously blogged about. Along with the four embroidered squares, Michelle sent some additional festive holiday fabric, ribbon, and chocolate (yum!). The four charm packs pictured are my own, shown here because I think I will combine the sweet embroidered Santas into a quilt with these Merry & Bright and Holly Jolly fabrics. For 2009. Maybe.

I also received my Holiday Booty Swap package from Sharon. Now see if you can follow this: I actually had Sharon as my secret partner in the Doll Quilt Swap (quilt shown here) while, at the same time and unbeknownst to either of us, she had me as her secret partner for the Booty Swap. Needless to say, I think we were both confused when we received packages from each other ... and sent packages to each other ... for two different swaps at the exact same time (cue Twilight Zone music ...)

Sharon sent an adorable little holiday quilt, "First Snow", that was prominently displayed in our living room throughout the season. Check out those awesome little snowflake button embellishments! Sharon included some great extras, like those homespun patches shown above. I can't wait to find just the right project to use them. Suggestions welcome!

Finally, there aren't too many of us guy quilt bloggers out there, so I want to be sure I support one of my cohorts. I believe all of us straddle the line between quilter and artist, with some falling more on one side of the fence than the other. Scott over at Blue Nickel Studios is one of those quilters for whom I believe the ARTIST side is immediately apparent. He's been making some really great quilts and quilt patterns lately for the nice people at Free Spirit fabrics, including new designs for Jay McCarroll and Anna Maria Horner.

One of Scott's fabric designs, "Punk Andy", is in contention for Fabric of the Week over at Spoonflower. Please take a look and CLICK HERE to vote and support Scott in his new endeavor.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mrs. Quilt Dad's Coloring Totes

Tonight, we have a special guest blogger here at Quilt Dad! I'm turning the keyboard over to my beautiful, talented, brilliant and witty wife (heretofore known as "Mrs. Quilt Dad" -- we were going to use Quilt Mom but it seems that it's already taken) to talk about her handmade Christmas gifts! Besides, I thought you could all use a break from my ramblings ... ... ...

Hi, friends!

I've been following John's blog quietly since he first started his venture into the blogging community. As many of you know from his early posts, I was the original avid sewer in our house -- it was I who actually had to convince John to invest in our sewing machine and first became passionate about making homemade gifts (at that time, mostly diaper bags, purses, blankets and sock monkeys!)

Unfortunately, first with being a stay at home mom to three children (all under the age of 2 at one point, mind you) and, more recently, after my return to the workforce this past fall as an instructor at our local community college, many (all?!) of my hobbies got put on the back burner. Just like many of you, I suspect, it's difficult to balance work, hobbies, family time, household chores (and, oh yeah, I'm supposed to be working out, too!)

But after spending months eyeing all the beautiful fabrics John has purchased -- and all the fun, wonderful swaps he has participated in -- I finally got motivated to come back to my sewing machine. First, I had to kick John off the sewing machine (not an easy task -- do you guys know that he is 6'4" and built like a football player??) Then, I had to push aside all the quilting projects stacked on our ironing board (also not an easy task -- what have you guys lured him into??) And finally, I convinced John to do our regular runs to Target and various other Christmas errands with all three of the kids so I could have some peace and quiet to work. I'm heartless, right?!?

I've had this pattern for a coloring tote for a long, long time. I decided it was the perfect Christmas gift for the kids. Purple kitties for our Bevin, pink bunnies for Megan and puppy dogs for Sean, of course. Well, if the truth be known (because I know John would insert an editor's note here if I tried to claim otherwise), it had been so very long since I did any quilting that I asked him to do the initial quilting to save me some time and frustration. He's gotten so good at it (and so fast) that I needed him!

Here are pictures of the final products. They were very easy to make -- even for a rusty old sewer -- and the kids have enjoyed using them.....despite their initial reaction on Christmas Day to say "thank you" and then promptly throw them to the side. But, I'll just chalk that up to toddler Christmas excitement.

I'll keep you posted on future sewing adventures. I still have a quilt for my sister that I need to finish up (promised to her last year for her birthday). All that's left is the binding and I'm so rusty that the thought of it makes me want to bury my head in my students' papers! I'll have to get John to give me a refresher course.

Back to Quilt Dad...

Isn't she the best?? : )

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

SewConnected 2 | We've expanded!

I've had a blast pulling together the SewConnected group these past few months. We've got a really talented, friendly and fun group of people creating and swapping blocks and, with only two months under our belts, I've already seen some awe-inspiring work.

The response to SewConnected was so great that I quickly realized that there was enough interest in the idea to form a second group. A few emails later and SewConnected 2 was born! With a (mostly) new group of quilters, we kick off this month.

Check out all the great work going on and see the rosters of our members over on the Flickr pages:
SewConnected 2

It's great to see so many of these virtual quilting bees popping up in blog- and Flickr-land. They are a lot of fun and very inspirational. Are you interested in participating in such a group? If so, let me know ... I've already started a list of people interested in knowing if and when SewConnected 3 gets off the ground! ; )

Monday, January 5, 2009

Handmade Gifts Finished

I loaded all of the pictures into this post and titled it on December 23rd with every intention of logging back and and writing something shortly thereafter. Well, here it is on January 5th and I am finally getting around to it.

First off, let me apologize for the lack of blogger etiquette and wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Boxing Day (linked because I had to look it up myself), Happy New Year, and/or best wishes for whatever holiday(s) you celebrate this time of year.

Whew. It feels good to get that out of the way!

Needless to say, it's been a whirlwind couple of weeks. The days and weeks leading up to Christmas were kind of a nightmare, due in no small part to the fact that I bit off a little more than I could chew with making homemade gifts (hence the relief implied by the title of my post!). Pictures of all of the gifts I made are at the bottom of this post. I was literally uploading the pictures as my wife and kids were waiting outside in our packed minivan!

On December 23rd, we set off to Greensboro NC to spend the Christmas holiday with my wife's family. It was a nice visit, and my brand new nephew was baptized on Christmas morning. From there, we drove 12 hours up to New Jersey to stay a night with my aunt, uncle and grandmother. On the 28th, we continued on to New York City where we stayed with my mom in Brooklyn through New Year's. On Friday the 2nd, we made the 13-hour trek back to Raleigh.

We had a nice enough trip and, of course, it was great visiting with family. But we decided that this is the last year that we'll be traveling for Christmas. For starters, the traveling is completely exhausting and, even with 2 weeks off from work, we don't feel like we had much of a break. That's a shame.

And more importantly, it's time that our kids are able to wake up in their own beds on Christmas morning and for us to start making our own traditions. I think we've reached a point where it makes more sense for the grandparents to come to us on Christmas, rather than vice-versa.

So that's my holiday break in a nutshell. Now, on to what you really want to see ... pictures!

First up is a pillow that I made for my SIL. She's in the Air Force and lives in California. On my wife's side of the family, we have a tradition where we secretly pick a name for one another (like a normal Secret Santa), but the twist is that the gift has to either be homemade or you have to do something nice for that person. I decided on this 20" x 20" log cabin pillow:

I love this Simplicity fabric and I've been on a tear with it. I made a deal with Emily to buy some of the scraps from her daughter's quilt. Thanks for the scrap bag, Emily -- I'm getting a lot of mileage out of it!

My favorite is the "words" fabric ... I put "family" at the center of this design.

Another of my SIL's got this pillow as her gift:

It's made from another of my favorite lines: Park Slope by Erin McMorris.

The funny story is, I had a FQ bundle from this line on my birthday / Christmas list, and she (not so subtly) hinted that she's love something made from this line for Christmas. The original intent was to make a quilt but ... yeah, that didn't happen. Actually, I got all of the blocks made, but ran out of time to assemble it. Maybe for her birthday. Or maybe I'll just keep it.

A close-up pic ... I've been on a free-motion bender lately!

Another log cabin Simplicity pillow -- this one was for my mom. She had often commented on how much she likes rectangular pillows and wanted one for her couch. So instead of buying her one, I decided to make it!

Again, free-pieced and free-motion quilted. This one features "family" and "harmony" in the middle squares, with some other words scattered throughout.

Remember my Giveaway Day tote bag? Well, it was one of three. The other two were gifted. This one, made from pink and red Swell fabrics, went to my grandmother.

Next, I made an apron for my aunt -- she's an amazing cook and actually wears aprons ALL THE TIME while cooking, so I know this one will get a lot of use. I got the (free) pattern from the Spool Sewing blog (one of my faves!) and used some cool new Debbie Mumm fabrics from Joann's (50% off before the holidays!).

Here's a close up of the front fabric -- ferns and bugs.

A coordinating plaid for the back:

And finally, I gave my grandmother a quilt for Christmas. I figured if anyone deserves one, it's her. I actually started this quilt in my Beginning Quilting class one year ago this month. I pieced it in the winter, basted it in the spring, quilted it over the summer, and finally bound it before Christmas.

(P.S. Don't look for any close-ups of the binding. I machine-bound it to save time, and it did NOT come out very well. Luckily, I don't think it's very noticeable ... but it was certainly less than ideal).

The fabrics are from the Folklorique line from Fig Tree Quilts. Basic rail fence pattern -- hey, it was my beginner's class!

I like that it's kind of Christmas-y, but doesn't have to be.

And that's it! Thanks for looking at all of my pictures -- I know it was a lot, and I am somehow unable to pick only 1 picture of each project! I hope all of your homemade gifts were received as warmly as mine were.