Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Half Marathon and Quilt Store Visit

As many of you know, Ben and I have been running half marathons for a little while now. This past weekend was the fourth time we've run the half associated with the Fox Cities Festival of Races (the sponsor for the half has changed a number of times). It's a great race: well organized, a pretty flat course (that last bridge incline always kills me, however), with some nice scenery. We had a beautiful day for the race, although the 7 a.m. start time wasn't my idea of fun (5 a.m. shuttle pick up at the hotel). My finish time wasn't a new PR (bummer), but it wasn't my worst time either, and overall, my positioning within my division and amongst women was similar to or slightly improved from last year because the size of the field was quite a bit larger. The first 7 miles were fabulous; miles 9 and 10 were bad. But even though parts of it were painful, in the end, we always seem to be thinking about the next race and are eager to do another. Right now we're considering the possibility of the Rock 'n Roll Half in Phoenix in January (MLK weekend). Long training runs outdoors in Wisconsin in December could be problematic, however, and I cannot fathom motivating to do a 12 mile run on a treadmill!

An added benefit of driving up to the Fox Cities is an annual visit to Primitive Gatherings quilt shop in Menasha. This year I had a completed "punch card" to spend, which gave me $20 of free merchandise (which of course I exceeded in no time). I focused on pulling fabrics to make a quilt based on Sharyn Craig's book, Half Log Cabin Quilts. Here's a photo of the fabric I pulled - I love these colors and think they'll look great in our living room. Can't wait to make this quilt and am hoping that I can incorporate sewing a few blocks here and there into the flow of sewing for my other projects.

Punkins 4 Sale

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I hope to finish a few fall projects I've had sitting around as UFO's for some time. Given how the past few weeks have gone, I'm not sure how close I'll come to that goal, but I did finish the binding on this small wall quilt last night and it's now hanging at the entrance to my cubicle at work.

The pattern (Punkins for Sale) appeared in the September/October 2005 issue of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting, designed by Avis Shirer of Joined at the Hip. I completed all of the piecing a year or two (maybe three?) years ago, and then it sat, waiting to have the letters appliqued and for the final layering and quilting.

I'm not entirely pleased with the applique - must have had a bad batch of Wonder Under, as it didn't want to stick to the fabric and ended up fraying a bit at the edges (contributing to the folk art feel, right?) - but done is better than perfect! Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


About three weeks ago I needed to find a project to take with me to my monthly guild sewing bee. I wasn't about to try to quilt the baby quilt on a table at a community center, and I didn't feel like taking on the paper piecing for Thistlepods in a temporary set-up that probably would have required lots of ups and downs to the iron (I love the set-up I've arranged here at home).

So I reached for one of my bins of quilts that I cut out over the summer and decided to work on the Zen quilt, designed by Amy Walsh of Blue Underground Studios and appearing in the February 2009 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. I was drooling over this quilt when reading the magazine on the Cape at Christmas and have been dying to make it (dying so much that it's taken me 9 months to get to it, LOL!). At any rate, here are some of the blocks (they alternate with solid rectangles when sewn together). I have managed to finish all 32 pieced blocks, in between everything else going on.

The fabrics were all left over from this quilt that I made earlier in the year. Hopefully I can piece these together soon; I'm also committing myself to working on a few fall-themed projects that have been languishing unfinished for a couple of years.

Baby Quilt Summer is Over!

I just sewed the label to the back of this quilt and it will head to Madison Faith on Cape Cod tomorrow! Ben makes fabulous labels for me - hand drawn, usually. I'd share, but it probably contains more personal information than I should place online (full name, DOB, etc.). No need to start the poor girl off with identity theft at two months!

Here's the finished quilt:

And a close-up:

Hopefully the quilt will be well-loved and I don't find myself again with another three babies born in the same month, all deserving of quilts!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dizzy (Baby Quilt #3)

I managed to get all of the blocks for this baby quilt sewn together during a Brewers extra-inning game last week (unfortunately, a loss to the Reds), and had two of the borders on prior to the busy weekend. However, after sewing the border strips on, I was rather bothered by the way the floral pattern was interrupted by the 45 degree seam line. Ben said not to worry about it, and I thought about it for a few days. Here's what I'm talking about:

See how the flowers were noticeably cut in half on the bottom left corner? Ultimately, I decided it was going to bother me too much, so I ripped that part of the seam and sewed strips back together at 90 degree angles, being careful to select an area where the seaming would be less noticeable. While it doesn't totally fix the problem (I didn't have the fabric to try to cut an identical strip and seam it together for a perfect match), it does mask it and make it much less noticeable, at least until I sewed on the third and fourth sides, which don't match to the ends of the other strips and I don't think ever could.

The moral of this story: sometimes fabric that doesn't seem to have a "stripe" to it does. I wish I'd have picked a more all-over type of pattern, but what are you going to do? It's still cute and I managed to get it layered, pin basted, and approximately half way quilted last night!