Dusting off the sewing machine

OK, I have to be honest, the word “dusting” in my post title is not in the least bit accurate, as absolutely nothing I did today resembles dusting. Moving piles around so I can get to the sewing machine, yes, but no actual dusting occurred today. Just in case anyone was concerned that I had lost my mind and started cleaning.

Now that graduation is over and school is out for the summer, I feel like I have a bit of my brain back, leaving room for the next thing: kicking the boys out of the nest in the fall as they head to Iowa State. Naturally, this means that they need new quilts.

I spent some time poking around for ideas and gathering input from them. Which totally explains why I spent the day making a hipster kitty quilt.

Wait, what?

Well, it makes total sense: out of the thousands of yards of fabric in my house, I do not have enough of the right colors of fabric to make the quilts the boys want. And when I saw this kitty quilt, I might have squealed out loud, knowing which little girl I was going to make it for and what color the glasses needed to be…

And as I was making this one, I might have made plans for at least one more, for another special little girl. And possibly a third, for myself. I haven’t really felt like making a quilt in eons, so this sweet little project felt like a message from the universe today. Believe it or not, it’s actually ready to load on the quilting machine.

Which, uh, needs to be “dusted” off.

(And to be clear, when I say “dusted” I mean “use a forklift to move the piles”…)


Cherry Churn Dash Surprise — a {mostly} finished quilt!

The quality of the light is a little funky, and red is impossible to photograph, so these pictures don’t quite do this justice, but I can’t not share!

I thought I had the afternoon off, but then the fog rolled in, and the morning exploratory classes got cancelled, so….bonus! An entire day off.

When I’ve posted sneak peeks of this quilt, I’ve tried very hard not to spoil the surprise.


When this was up on the design wall, Mark and I would have conversations that went something like:

Mark: There’s a green block there.

Suzanne: Yep.

Mark: But it’s green.

Suzanne: Yep.

Mark: And the rest are red.

Suzanne: Yep.

Mark: I think you need to call that quilt “Don’t Drink and Quilt”

Suzanne: (A) I don’t drink and (B) I was thinking more along the lines of “How to Drive Your Engineer Husband Crazy Through Quilting”


I love this quilt so much. Churn Dash is my very favorite block, and I love experimenting and using it in different ways.


It’s no surprise that red is my favorite color, and by now I’ve lost count of the different ways I’ve used cherry fabrics in quilts. Although, I think this is the first time I’ve every actually quilted cherries!


Everything was done freehand, with just some ruler lines drawn in to guide me for spacing. The quilting in the piano key border got a little out of hand — more intricate than I intended, and don’t look too close, I didn’t draw guidelines, I just went for it, so it’s very “perfectly imperfect.”


Thread is Superior Threads, So fine in the top, Bottom Line prewound bobbins on the bottom. Warm and Natural white batting.

Now that the quilting is done, I really need to stop and bind a couple quilts. Ok. I need to bind more than a couple. Like 4.

Fine. I think I have 6 quilts to bind right now. Don’t judge me.



Cherry Limeaid and Blueberry Pie


I started this quilt in 2014. It’s been pieced for awhile now, but I struggled with how to quilt it — spent a fair bit of time over the Christmas holidays ripping out a bunch, and then I went to town. I was really sick of it by the time I finished it up Thursday night.


It’s a big quilt, 103 by 103. It was mostly pieced, at least to start, on my Featherweight. It’s not perfect, my quilts never are, but it’s now finished. Well, almost. Needs a binding, but in my lizard brain, when the quilting is done, that’s pretty much it.


You can’t really see anything on the back, it’s a pretty busy fabric.


Honestly, the whole thing is so busy, it’s a little hard to get a good picture of the quilting.


The quilting is all freehand. I was not 100% happy with how it went, I had to think pretty hard about where I was going with those big swirled spines, and wasn’t always happy with how they ended up. I would have probably been smart to have marked those as I went along. I got better as I went, though.


The thread is a lavender, it’s Arc poly. Very shiny, very pretty. Lavender Bottom Line in the bobbin. I ran out of the top thread with just the bottom 10 inches to go. I substituted a lighter lavender to finish it up. I thought it looked extremely obvious, but once it’s washed, I’m sure I’m the only one that will know. Well, and everyone else that’s reading this post, I guess…..


The batting is….miscellaneous bits of what I think is all 80/20 cotton/poly. I had one large piece and then just laid in new pieces to fill it out. I think there’s enough quilting to hold it all together.

I’m going to go back and tag all of the posts about the piecing of this with the name, so that those of you interested in that sort of thing can see the progression from a stack of fabric to a finished quilt. As I was looking through, I was reminded of when I went to the fabric store to buy some stuff to supplement my stash. Another lady was buying the same colors as I, and made some comment about making a quilt called “cherry limeaid” for her granddaughter. It was very clear that she wasn’t crazy about the color combo, which I thought was funny at the time, since I was actually wearing lime green and bright pink and had all of those colors in my cart, too.

(Link to all of the posts)

Thus, the name of the quilt: Cherry Limeaid and Blueberry Pie. I couldn’t just call it Cherry Limeaid, so I went looking for names of drinks that are blue…….and liked the sound of something called Blueberry Pie (a blue cocktail made from blueberry schnapps, vanilla liqueur, blue curacao and half-and-half, and served in a chilled cocktail glass.)

Now, to decide whether I’m going to (a) put the binding on this quilt, (b) get ready to quilt something else, or (c) take a nap.

2011 Printz Award Winners

So, my last post was all about how I intended to write more and sooner about the books I had read, and yet here it is, however many weeks (um, months…) later, and I haven’t written another word. I’m going to just post about all of the 2011 books in one go (I’ve still been reading). And then move on.  (In April 2015, I started reading all of the Michael L. Printz award winning books. Here‘s a summary of what I’ve read and what I have left).

2011 Winner

7095831Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi — I don’t think I would have picked this up on my own without the Printz Project. I’m a little weary of post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction and I had trouble getting into it, but over the past few days, it’s been hard to put down. It’s pretty horrifying and brutal, but compelling. The world-building is quite original and well done and the main character, Nailer, is very likeable. (4/5 stars)

Honor Books

Stolen by Lucy Christopher — I did not care for this book. I didn’t like the story, I didn’t care about the characters, I disliked being manipulated by the author. I know that’s ironic, because so many times, that’s what’s going on: the author wants you to feel something, and in this case, I didn’t like what she wanted me to feel. (1/5 stars)

Please Ignore Vera Dietz  by A.S. King — I gave this one 4/5 stars on Goodreads when I finished it. Apparently, it didn’t make much of an impression, because it hasn’t stuck with me. I’m reading a few of the other reviews and I just don’t remember many of the details, or even what I really thought of it. I guess I do remember the narrator having the kind of humor I like to read.

Revolver written by Marcus Sedgwick — Short, very spare, and thought-provoking. Yet another book I would have never picked up if not for this project, but I have liked everything by this author that I have read (and I see that he won in 2014 and is on the honored list for 2016).  (4/5 stars)

Nothing written by Janne Teller – Thankfully, this was a quick read.

I try to make a distinction between “this isn’t for me” and “this was terrible” when I read books that I don’t care for. I’m trying very hard not to lean towards the latter on this one, but considering that this book won tons of awards, I guess I’ll stick with the former.

It was a bit of a train-wreck kind of an experience. I couldn’t look away and the direction this book took was all kinds of messed up. I had a hard time suspending disbelief (these were 7th graders? even if they are a year older than US 7th graders, really??), and I wonder if some of the writing style worked better in the original Danish, because some of the writing was very jarring. (1/5 stars)


So, either I liked the book or I loathed it for this batch. Nothing really in between. Ship Breaker and really anything by Marcus Sedgwick are definitely recommended.