Natural Inspiration – Happy Earth Day!

Running on the trails near my house has recently reminded me of a quilt I made years ago.  While it didn’t get much love on the blog, it gets used all the time at my house.

Inspiration came one spring day while biking.  Shades of purple, green, and brown are sprinkled along the Monon Trail.  The trees bend just so to create a lovely archway.

Friday night during a run, I looked up and noticed a very similar picture.  It was breathtaking.  This isn’t from the trail, but it’s nearby.

To create the quilt I took shades of Kona purples, greens, and browns.  It was pieced organically and out of paper bags.  The method is fun and keeps the piecing random.

It’s a family favorite.  This is our go to picnic quilt and has traveled all over the US.

On these long runs I have been listening to a variety of podcasts.  I listen to ones on health and wellness encouraging me to think a little differently about what my family is exposed to.  DIYing things with safer ingredients and reducing our carbon footprint has been weighing on me.  Changes needed to be small things that I could implement and sustain.  There are MANY ways to make changes but these are some that are working for us.

We started composting with our neighbor.  They had a bin and used it sparingly.  We wanted a bin but had not fully committed.  It has surprised us how many food scraps we go through in a day or two.  We are going to have some rich soil for our garden beds which we started planting over the weekend.  If we continue to compost we will need to consider our own bin in the future.  It’s been a good way to test our commitment to this change.

In my spring cleaning I found some cloth napkins I had made a while back.  NYC fabric from City Quilter.  Look for an upcoming tutorial on a cute linen napkin.  I prefer these over paper towels or paper napkins any time, they hold up better against the preschooler.

With our laundry I started using wool dryer balls and cut my drying time down.  Playing around on Pinterest I have been researching making our laundry detergent.  So far I am loving the one below.  Two gallons for next to nothing and took like 15 minutes to make.

via Dwellinginhappiness.com

We recycle everything we can, our 96 gallon bin could be emptied every week.  We buy our meats from a local butcher and shop the farmer’s market in the warmer months.  P was cloth diapered for 2.5 years.  Most of our personal care items have been switched out to better options.  I started using a local companies lotion and it’s amazing, that was the real catalyst to make some changes in these products.  The Shea Butter Softening Cream is simply amazing.  My skin has never felt better since I switched over 2-3 years ago.  Best part, it’s a small woman owned local business, the owner is pretty great too.

Courtesy of Frangipani Body Products

I need to start doing some research on more natural makeup companies and make that switch next.  I see lots of trial and error going to happen with it.  I am open to suggestions of your favorite companies as well.

When it comes to quilting I try to apply recycling to my products as much as possible.  I incorporate scraps into most projects, vintage sheets as backings, and left over batting bit to stuff pillows.  They are small actions, but with the amount of quilts I create, that would be too much waste.

By no means am I perfect at this and have lots of areas we could improve upon.  However, I really have to consider how sustainable an action is if it’s going to be implemented in my home.  Grandiose ideas are just ideas without some real thought into how to make them actionable.  I want to leave the Earth in a bit better health for my son’s generation.

Happy Earth Day!  What are you doing to celebrate it?

 

Kona HSTs Quilt

Funny that I had in mind EXACTLY what I wanted to do with these Kona charm packs I picked up a while back.  The vision was clear and the finished project looked amazing in my mind.  As I started to lay out the charm squares for a Disappearing Nine Patch quilt I hated it.  This design was not coming together like my vision.

I walked away from it and went to work on Spring Granny Squares.  An idea struck to create half square triangles.  Hmmm, that could work.  I grabbed my Hera Marker and started marking.  If you don’t have a Hera Marker, get one.  Add it to your quilty items wishlist or it’s a great stocking stuffer.  Every quilter should have one and it’s a time saving when marking half square triangles.

After marking everything it’s pretty easy to just sit down and chain piece.  I find it therapeutic to just piece and have the machine humming along.  While working on this I binged on Frankie and Grace on Netflix.  Great laughs to get through pressing and trimming too.

Once the blocks were trimmed I started on layout number two.  Randomly laid out half square triangles and it just wasn’t right either.  During the quilt retreat one version of the V&Co HST quilt was similar to a flying geese layout.  Hmm, would that work?

This layout took some shuffling around to balance it out and make it work.  Each row has a couple of blocks that form more of an arrow.  At this size it’s a small baby quilt, so I grabbed some solid gray from stash.  It matched one of the lighter grays perfectly.  The finished look is more offset which I really like.

The quilting on this has me stumped.  I have had some wonderful suggestions so far.  Hopefully there is time this week to just sit down and quilt.  Much like the design aspect of this quilt, I’m sure there will be a couple of versions tried before I decide to keep it.

Do you have any quilting ideas for this one?  Leave them in the comments.

 

New Fabric Finds

I intentionally went fabric shopping this weekend and it was glorious.

Friday after sitting in an all day meeting, I had a few minutes before I had to get the kid.  Crimson Tate is on my way home and I thought why not.  I have been passing it everyday for two months and tried to keep my blinders on.  Inside Heather had some of her brand new Literary fabric There are some projects floating around in my head with these fabrics.  They are perfect for the book lover in your life.  

Literary from Windham Fabrics

Heather had some pieces cut and on her cutting table.  In her own words, “So Good!”

Some scrap packs ended up coming home with me.  I’m thinking a baby boy quilt and already have a pattern in mind.  Yesterday I got wrapped up in pulling some scraps from my bins.   Stop it, there are already too many projects pulled.

Saturday morning I met up with a couple of friends and got in a long walk.  They are joining me in the 20/30 #healthysewist posts for the month.

Our walk ended near a fabric store that was celebrating their grand reopening.  I was really intrigued to see what the new shop would look like and the overall feel.  More modern fabrics, the space is open, and very inviting.  While there were good fabrics to choose from, I only bought Heat Bond.  Much needed for an upcoming project.

Finishing My Great Grandmother’s Quilt Blocks

Over the years I have contemplated what to do with these lovely blocks that my great grandmother stitched by hand.  My grandma let me play with them as a child and build my sewing skills by sewing these together.  Maybe I was scared or nervous that I wouldn’t do these blocks justice?  How could I finish her work?  Inspiration struck a couple of weeks ago and then some free time over the weekend made it happen.

First, I had to rip out the stitching I had already done.  The stitching was not great, it was wonky and some spots were dense, but it adds to the story of this project.  As the stitches were being taken out I noticed the blocks weren’t the same size and would need to be trimmed to use in a project.

The trimmings made a lovely little pile of color.

To fully utilize the blocks, I wanted to make a wall hanging.  We have a couple of spots in the living and dining room that could use some art. Until this weekend I was going to hand sew the blocks and finish with hand quilting.  My thoughts were changed since that is not my style.  If I’m going to create with these blocks, I need to put my touch on them.

Machine sewing and quilting.

The top is lovely.  Once it’s quilted I’m going to hand wash in some blue Dawn to help take out some of the staining.

The backing from my vintage sheet collection.  It’s one of my mother in law’s, so blending both families together.

I’m going to straight line quilt this and I’m stumped.  Leave your feedback on thread color choices.

Would you quilt in grey or white?

Icy Waters Quilt Top…Almost Finished

I say almost for one reason.  There is one more row to add based on the pattern.  However, I like the quilt just the way it is.  I think more dark gray will change the look.  When I pulled the fabrics I liked the idea.  Now I want the quilt to be a bit softer in the gradient of color.

Would you add the row or just leave it?

Maybe I’m too lazy to continue?  That could be part of the challenge.  Paper piecing gives amazing results within a quilt, but is so much work.  You can’t chain piece with this method, or I haven’t figured out a practical way to do it yet.

I have pieced the backing and now I just need to baste this quilt.  Well PRESS the heck out of it with starch so it lays flat, then baste it.

While this quilt may look complex Amy makes it easy to create this wonderful piece.  She has a great selection of paper pieced patterns in her book, Paper Pieced Modern:  13 Stunning Quilts.  It’s a book that I recommend to any quilter to add to their collection.  The technique she teaches will help you with your paper piecing as well.

You can read about the workshop the IMQG hosted with Amy back in September in this post.  Basting this quilt is part of my March action items.  I’ve got this, now bring on the starch!

 

This post may contain affiliate links, but the recommendations are my own.  

 

 

April Action Items

I’m excited for April to finally arrive.  The chance of snow in Indianapolis goes down exponentially and spring comes into bloom.  My allergies aren’t as excited, but they make medications for that.

April is very project oriented right now.  I can’t share them all with you right now, but some good stuff is coming.  DIY, upcycling, and some vintage quilts.

Vintage Quilts

As we transition into spring I’m focusing a bit more on vintage quilts.  I have a stash of them just wadded up in my WIP cabinet.  In an effort to keep busting through WIPs, this is a natural progression.  Plus, it’s fun to give new life to these old quilts.

DIY

I have some fun projects lined up that I have been meaning to make forever.  Spring is just the right motivator to get them done.

Wedding Anniversary Trip

Our seventh wedding anniversary is April 24th.  I have planned a getaway to a secret location.  Everything is planned and I haven’t told my hubby where we are going.  You guys, I have kept a secret, this is HUGE!

Healthy Actions

For March I met the goal of at least 15-20 #healthysewist entries.  Hubby had the stomach flu in March and the house was in chaos for a few days.  The weather got cold here again too and we had a contractor at the house a couple of days.  Not everything is an excuse, but definitely some hiccups.  Running has helped me have more energy and yoga is letting me focus on strength.

For April I want to push myself to 20 #healthysewist entries on Instagram.  I’m working on some new photo ideas for these too since I’m terrible at selfies.  Maybe some new trails or locations for runs?  How many times can you see this mug?