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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On the road again!

I have completed the first leg of my journey across the country.  I will drive over 5000 miles this summer, which is a lot for my 17 year old car.  It is awesome though, so I'm not overly concerned :)

I am back in WI now with a car load of stuff for my storage unit for next year and I am signing the lease for my new apartment tomorrow!  Yay :)  While I'm here for a couple of days I am staying with a friend and it is so nice to catch up with her!

Before I left home, my mom and I sewed up a storm!  I finished a complete new set of accessories for me: purse, wallet, key chain, check book cover, and coin pouch.  Everything in my everyday purse is now made by me except the card wallet I was given by a friend that is from Italy and amazing.  And, being me, I made sure everything was blue, purple, or white with a vintage feel/incorporated flowers.  I know...I'm crazy :D  I would show you pictures, but I haven't actually taken any yet.  Oops.

I do have a picture of my rainbow pinwheel quilt.  I finally completed the last of the quilting inside each of the blocks and washed it.  I ended up free motion quilting an echo inside each of the sections of the pinwheel.  I originally started the quilting with my walking foot on my old machine, but each block took almost 40 minutes to complete because I had to turn it so much (this is why it sat on my bed for 8 months with no progress).  It is awesome!  This is the first bed sized quilt I have ever made entirely by myself.  I love it so much!  That being said, my next bed sized quilt (which I have already started...) will be in a much softer color pallet.  
I picked out the fabric from my very small stash at the time and from my moms as well as adding to it significantly from the fabric stores.  There are fabrics from at least 10 other projects in this quilt and I love the reminders :)  The only thing I want to add to it is a quilt label.  I started this quilt while I was student teaching in 2011 and finished it June 2014.  

The other quilt I completed was the first quilt I ever started, back in the summer of 2008, with my mom.  I was moving that fall into an apartment with a full size bed and needed a quilt (all of the ones she had made for me were twin size).  She turned me loose with her quilt books and fabric stash and I picked out a pieced block ("Joseph's Coat" I think...) and lots of bright fabrics to go with a white background covered in silver glitter.  20 year old me loved it!  26 year old me still loves most of it, just not in the quantity it ended up being.  Needless to say it was not finished in time to use in that apartment.  Part of the reason for this is I was not given any guidelines for picking out a pattern and I chose a block with 65 separate pieces.  Thats right, 65.  This precipitated naming the quilt "Mom set no boundaries!"  

I decided early on to make 2 identical blocks in each color combination I chose, partly to keep the amount of cutting reasonable and partly because I could only come up with so many different combinations.  Actually, I'm pretty proud that I was able to come up with 10 combinations that look good together.  I then spent the next 2 years piecing the blocks.  There was lots of seam ripping, and many of those seams were not a good 1/4 inch.  When they were finally all done, I had over an inch of difference in the final size between some of them...so we added "window panes" to all of the blocks to make them the same size, and then sashed and corner stoned them.  Now, I would just like to point out that at this point we (my mom and I) were still thinking it would be a full size bed quilt.  However, due to a math error, or quite possibly human error, after everything was done, it was big enough to generously cover my parents king size bed (98x112).  At this point in my quilting journey, I was not at a place to even consider quilting that myself, so my mom did the main blocks and along the sashing.  We added 2 outer borders and I decided to hand quilt them.  Yeah, I do not have the patience to hand quilt anything.  So it was folded and set aside, staring at me every time I passed it.

I made a goal that 2013 would be a year to finish projects, and I was very good about that, but I also started lots of those projects, so for 2014 I made a goal to finish projects that were already started by January 1.  I have done pretty good so far, and when I was home I got on a roll and finished my first ever quilt (those hand quilted borders are about 15% hand quilted and the rest is free motion quilted in the same design).  I'm glad I did, but I'm not sure exactly what to do with it now...I am a much better quilter than I was, and the cut off corners and points and parts of the blocks that don't line up kind of bug me, and it is very pink.  I like pink, but it is VERY pink for me.  So it is back in WI waiting to be photographed and a use found for it.  

I have enjoyed thinking back to all of my past projects and I am still thoroughly enjoying the journey!  I have found I really enjoy smaller projects, placemats and small wall hanging sizes, as well as making beautiful and functional things, napkins, shower curtains, hot pads, and purses.  I also really love piecing.  I like paper piecing, but I'm not very fond of applique, it is too fiddly for my taste.  I think it is very interesting comparing my taste in patterns and fabrics with my mom, we are similar and yet very different :)

In other, music related news, I have been using the book Basics by Simon Fischer in my daily warm ups and practice.  This book has over 300 exercises to work on all aspects of playing the violin and I find myself very mindful when I am playing and practicing which leads to a much more efficient session after I have used the book.  I'll share more about it later on!