Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Today I am linking up to the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side. She has an amazing collection of quilts on display, submitted by hundreds of bloggers. Stop by and be inspired!

For my contribution to the festival, I want to talk about my favorite quilt I've made so far. I originally blogged about it here.

First of all, I love scrappy quilts. I love how the randomness of a million different fabrics comes together to create something that, amazingly, looks planned.

From a distance, they look like simple colored blocks. When you look close up, though, you see something new every time.

This was one of the first quilts I ever made, so I learned a lot from the process! It was the first time I had ever tried paper piecing, which was really fun. Thinking about this project makes me want to try it again!

 This quilt is also special to me because I made it as a gift for a very special lady. Growing up, she was like my second mom, and I gave her this quilt as a thank-you gift because last year, when I got married, she hosted a beautiful bridal shower for me. 

So, that's the story of my favorite quilt. Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out the other quilts showcased at the quilt festival!

Friday, October 28, 2011

One Happy Year

For our first anniversary this year, hubby and I decided to return to the scene of our honeymoon - Nantucket!

Last year when we went, it was in the off season, so we weren't able to check out one of the places I most wanted to see - the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum. Since I've been learning to make these myself, it was really interesting to learn about the history behind this particular art form. Because Nantucket is surrounded by dangerous shoals, over the course of its history hundreds of ships have been shipwrecked in the area. Because some of these shoals are miles off shore, it wasn't feasible to build a lighthouse to protect passing ships. Instead, Nantucket was protected by lightships, which were moored in strategic spots near the shoals. Men were out on these ships for months at a time with very little to do, so they started making baskets as a way to pass the time, and would give them as gifts or sell them when they returned home.
A Sailor's Life
The last lightship returned home in 1973 (I can't believe it lasted that long!) but the making of Nantucket baskets didn't stop then. They have become an art form particular to the island, and the Lighthouse Basket Museum showcases a wide variety of styles, from the very basic to the this one below, which depicts a scene from Moby Dick!
Moby Dick
Lightship baskets are often decorated with ivory (or, these days, imitation ivory) which is sometimes engraved with scrimshaw images like "A Sailor's Life" above.
Some baskets are really tiny - these were made to be "Tooth Fairy" baskets!

 This one was from a local gallery - a project I would like to try sometime! This basket below was my favorite:
It was made by one of my Nana's students!

I came back with loads of ideas for projects, some of which I will hopefully be sharing here soon....but we will be moving (again) in the next few weeks, so it's hard to say when that will happen for sure!

Happy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Some more back to school goodies...

Since I do love cute back to school things, I have kept making more...
Covered notebooks...I played around with a bunch of tutorials, found them all annoyingly complicated, and finally settled for doing it just like I had covered my textbooks with brown paper bags in school, except with fabric. That approach worked pretty well.
For the pencil case, I used a tutorial I found here .

I tried a different variation on the pencil case as well.
I really like the look of this one, but I found the tutorial (here) difficult. Not sure if it was me or the tutorial that was the problem :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I-Spy Baby Goodness

Two lovely ladies in my department are having babies this fall, and so I wanted to stretch my quilting skills and try a few baby quilts. I have liked the idea for awhile of doing an "I-spy" quilt, but finding all those fabrics and cutting them into tiny squares would be waaaaaay too taxing for I bought some from Sew Together on etsy. They're adorable! I got a set of doubles, so I could make each quilt like a matching game (I'm a teacher, so of course everything has to be educational...)
My first quilt ever was a disappearing nine patch, and I used the same pattern here, based on a tutorial by Obsessively Stitching. (The same blog guided me through my first quilt ever!) Aren't they cute?

Since I've been reading about it so much lately in the bloggy world, I decided to sign them. It was quite tricky, but I figured out a method that worked for me.

It has become somewhat of a tradition in my department that I always knit little animals for my co-workers when they have babies, and I didn't want to disappoint on that front...but I went in a slightly different direction. For the past few months I have been obsessed with this book:
So I made some monster friends:
My mom gave this one as a gift to a friend's son who is welcoming a baby sister. This is my favorite.

After all, what could be snugglier than a giant monster? She's big enough to double as a pillow.

Knitting has been my go-to craft this month because hubby and I have been moving - we are staying with my parents for awhile while we finalize the sale on our (hooray!) new house. I just broke out the sewing machine today, so hopefully I'll have some new projects to share soon!