January, a recap

I kept meaning to post this month, but couldn’t really make myself do it (aside from the quilt post.) But now I am feeling more up to it.

Starting with my birthday, which I was kind of not excited about (which is VERY SAD because I love birthdays so much) because the weather was supposed to be gross, and omicron was in full force so we couldn’t go anywhere and I couldn’t do anything and I was just sad. And I was supposed to go visit Kiki, but thanks to omicron, we decided it was best to postpone it.

But it ended up being a lovely day! I did a live Peloton class (alas, no birthday shout-out but lots of high fives), the boys gave me cards they made that made me cry, and Oliver made me scrambled eggs. Then my friends Jen and Aimee came over and the weather was lovely and Jen brought me a bananas foster king cake and half a gallon of frozen margarita and we sat outside and gave ourselves diabetes but it was just so nice to sit and chat with friends.

George gave me a vacuum sealer to go with my sous vide he gave me for Christmas, and while it may not sound like the most romantic gift ever, it was very appreciated. I mean, who hasn’t always wanted a vacuum sealer? It is very fun. And Kiki gave me a subscription to NYT cooking and some fun goodies to open.

And I spent the day making a cake from scratch, then ordering a ton of Chinese food for dinner, and all in all, it was a lovely birthday.

Cards and cake and vacuum-sealed king cake!

Other notable things in January…

I got an new sewing machine! I am in love. It’s fairly basic, feature-wise (just a straight-stitch machine) but it’s so powerful and FAST and sews through multiple layers of canvas and denim like it’s NOTHING. And it was so nice to use when quilting the quilt I made for Kiki.

Hey, gorgeous!

Which brings me to the quilt I made for Kiki, that’s quilt number 3 if you’re counting. I wanted to send her comfort and coziness so I made it out of flannel. I wanted to do shades of blue, and kind of ombre, so I cut long strips and sewed them together into one big long roll, then cut them into roughly 70″ lengths, then sewed them together! Simple, but I like the way it turned out. Until I realized I really had to hand sew the binding because of the solid colors, and then I hated myself for making it so big, but you know what, Kiki’s worth it, and it only ended up taking a couple of evenings to finish up.

I just am not really into making clothes right now but I had fun making a few wristlets and a little pouch. It’s the Yarrow Wristlet pattern from Noodlehead. It was just challenging enough to be fun, but not, like, torturously hard.

Why yes, that is Schitt’s Creek fabric on the inside of the black and white one. As if I’d go a whole post without mentioning it! (Got it from Spoonflower.)

Oh, and the boys got their booster shots for the vaccine trial! Yay! That was a relief, because they also started back at soccer this week. Oh, and they took a test to maybe go to a different high school next year but I’m not quite ready to think about that just yet.

Boosted!

So yeah, that’s about it for January. I am supposedly going to visit Kiki in mid-March now. Next month I am going to a jeans-making workshop that I’m very excited about (despite what I said earlier about sewing clothes) and of course Mardi Gras is coming up, and the house float is going back up, and we might be adding to it, so hopefully everyone stays healthy and we can have a nice February! And March!

P.S. This is random but pork tenderloin cooked with a sous vide is revelatory.

Quilt number 2

After I made my first quilt, I thought I probably wouldn’t make another one for a while.

I lasted a whole month before I started a second one. But it was fine, it would be so easy, because it was just a baby quilt, for my friend Erica’s baby who is going to be born in a couple of months or so (or weeks, I don’t know, what is time?) A small quilt would be a piece of cake!

Well, it should have been.

One evening in early December, I drank some wine, then got an email from Spoonflower saying they were having a sale on fat quarters that ended THAT NIGHT so I started looking around, found some adorable pit bull-themed fabrics, and hit “order.” Easy peasy. (Erica has a beloved, adorable, goofy pit bull mix named Francis.)

Francis.

One print was pit bulls working out, because Erica and her husband like to work out. Another print was pit bulls and pizza because Erica likes pizza. Or, I mean, at least this one really yummy pizza place in NYC that she’s taken me to a couple of times. And another print was pit bulls in Philadelphia, because I remembered that Erica and her husband lived there. (Put a pin in that.)

The fabrics came, I got the rest of the fabrics I needed, I cut, I pinned, I sewed, and before too long, I had a quilt top.

Hooray! That was easy! I showed some friends.

And that was when I was reminded that Erica and her husband had bought a house in New Jersey. They no longer lived in Philly. They hadn’t lived in Philly for quite a while. I knew all about her house hunt. I knew she moved. In August 2020. So why did I order Philadelphia-themed fabric?! (I blame the wine.)

So. I went online and ordered a different pit bull fabric and painstakingly removed 11 of the 12 Philly-themed squares (gotta leave one) and while I was at it, decided to throw in a couple of other squares.

That’s better.

And then I finished it and hand-stitched the binding because that’s what you’re supposed to do and never has this tag been more appropriate.

And that’s it! I hope Erica’s sweet baby boy (and Francis, his canine big brother) enjoy snuggling with it.

And yes, I am working on quilt #3 now.

My first quilt

I have made scores of clothing items, from easy things like pajama pants and t-shirts, to more complex pieces like dresses and a coat and a bathing suit. But I’ve always been particularly intimidated by the idea of making a quilt.

And then, a friend on Instagram let me know that Joann’s had Schitt’s Creek fabric, and, well, that was that. I didn’t need another Schitt’s Creek shirt or more masks so the only thing to do was tackle a quilt. Particularly since there were five different prints. I mean, what else was I going to do?

The middle five fabrics are from Joann’s and the ones on the ends are from Spoonflower.

I was scared of quilt making because it seemed so precise. At least with clothes you can fudge seam allowances (usually) and it’s ok if your lines aren’t straight. But I assumed with quilts if you were off by 1/128th of an inch, then you might as well burn the whole project in a fire.

Turns out, when you’re making a quilt for yourself, it really doesn’t matter if it’s perfectly square!

a lot of squares.

Also the whole batting and sandwiching and quilting and binding…was I going to have to outsource that? That sounded expensive, especially because I had no intention of making a small quilt. Oh no, I’d I was going to make it big enough to sleep with!

two by two

And so I bought the fabric and consulted with my IG friend and got advice from someone at Joann’s and just went for it.

It ended up being about 73” wide and 100” long, which is a lot of 5” squares. I didn’t really plan my layout, just figured I’d make them random, but was trying not to put dark squares together or light squares together but by the time I was putting the strips together I ended up with identical fabric squares next to each other. So lesson learned – if you care, you have to plan ahead. (I didn’t really care.)

figuring out where to put what

I ended up using about 6 yards of the fabric from Joann’s and about a yard’s worth of scraps from fabric I’d gotten from Spoonflower. The backing fabric came from Joann’s (handy that I took up this project when the Black Friday sales were happening) and the binding fabric from a small, local fabric store.

I went through almost 1000 meters of gray thread and now I know why some sewing machines have giant bobbins. My sewing machines performed admirably, though I had to replace my walking foot, after it sprained its ankle or something. (that’s a sewing joke.)

quilting!

I decided to quilt it myself and while I maybe wish I hadn’t decided on parallel lines roughly an inch apart, I’m happy with how it looks now that it’s done. (90 total lines, 100 inches long each, that’s a lot!)

I didn’t think I’d be up for doing this again anytime soon but I think I would like to try a smaller quilt, and maybe, you know, plan the design ahead of time.

For now, I’ll cuddle on the sofa with this beast and watch Schitt’s Creek again for the one millionth time.

PS Soccer goals make good quilt display tools.