Saturday, June 18, 2011

Baby Update

It's been a long, busy week but I think we're finally settling into a routine.  My daughter, Sarah, did amazingly well through a long, hard natural childbirth (40 hours from the time she was induced); came through it with a few stitches and is a patient, calm mother!  Baby Zoey is struggling with breastfeeding, and has some jaundice, but is doing well otherwise.  She is Sarah and Rob's first, and the way they are with her, you would think it was their 10th.  Here's a few more pictures.

My other daughter, Brianna, waited until Sarah and Zoey were home to introduce her to her cousin, Alex, age 2 3/4.  At first, he wasn't too sure how to hold her but it didn't take long for him to fall in love.

This is my new all-time favourite picture!

He still has a hard time remembering her name because we referred to her as Baby No Name for so long!

Zoey seems to be asleep all the time, mostly due to the jaundice, but she makes lots of faces.  This one is my favourite.

She lost 11 oz. before leaving the hospital, but gained 2 oz. back the first day.  The health nurse comes to the house the day after release, to weigh her and see how she is doing.  It was a great chance to see her with her eyes open.

Welcome home, Baby Zoey, we love you lots!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

She's here (i'm a little late posting this)

Just a short post with a picture of my beautiful granddaughter, Zoey Marie, weighing 8 lbs, 7 oz.  She took her time getting here but was totally worth the wait.  She's already acting like a princess and wants her food handed to her on the proverbial silver platter, but I'm sure she'll get the hang of things soon.  Between work and the hospital, I've been pretty busy but I'll be back with more pictures tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Still waiting for a baby...

My new granddaughter is proving to be just as stubborn as her mother - she is now a week late!  If no baby by Friday, my daughter will probably be induced (as long as the hospital has room). 

To keep my mind off of things, I decided to make a trial block for my Sunkissed quilt.  The overwhelming consensus was to do a Snail Trail (also known as Parasols or Virginia Reel). The patterns I could find all involved 1/8" and 1/16" measurements so I decided to wing it!  Here's a photo story on what I did:

First, I wanted a block between about 6 1/2-9", tough to find a pattern that size so I "guesstimated" the starting strip by looking a few book patterns.  I started by cutting 1 1/4" strips from 4 different fabrics.  (Part of my Sunkissed stash included some sample pieces bought from my local quilt shop - they sell off the samples they receive from the manufacturers pretty cheap so I started with those).  I sewed the strips together in pairs, then cut a 1 1/4" piece of the end of each each and sewed the two pieces together to make a 4-patch that finished at 2 inches including seam allowances. I also pressed the seams open to avoid any problems later on.

 Now comes the tricky part, calculating the size of block to cut for the triangular pieces.  I measured one size (2") and subtracted 1/2" to figure out what the finished size will be (1 1/2").  Then I added 3/8" to the finished size for a measurement of 1 7/8".  I cut that size block from each of the 4 fabrics, then cut each in half from corner to corner. You have to add that extra little smidge to account for cutting the block in half to make a Half-Square Triangle (HST). I sewed two opposite sides first, matching it to the block of the same fabric, then trimmed off the dog ears. I used one (HST) from each fabric and put the other aside for use in another block.

I labelled it to make it easy to use later on.  My Snail Trails will have 5 rounds in total.

Next, I pressed all my seams open before adding the other two HSTs.

I wasn't perfect getting the triangles centred on the seam, but the next step fixed that!

You can see that by making the HST block a little larger, it hangs over the edge of the adjoining triangle, which will leave you with a proper seam allowance.

Round 2 is now complete! I squared it up and moved to the next round.  I measured one side, figured out the finished size and added 3/8" to calculate my next block at 3 1/4".

Can you see my mistake?  I put the HST on the wrong side.  When I attached my first set of triangles, they "move" to the left of the original square. That means when I'm attaching the next round, I have to keep the same "movement" to the left.  Instead, I went right.  Time to pull out the seam ripper!

Now that Round 3 is complete, it's time to square it up.  I lined up my ruler centering it on the four-patch in the center first, then adjusting it so that I am trimming it down to 1/4" seam allowance from the point where the triangles cross. See the close-up below:

My block now measures 4 1/2", finishes at 4" so my next set of HSTs are cut from a 4 3/8" square.  Round 4 makes a 6 1/4" block, finishing at 5 3/4.  Now I was starting to get nervous because I needed to cut
6 1/8" squares and my fabric sampler pieces didn't look big enough.  However, with some careful cutting and even more careful sewing, I was able to squeak them out!

Here you can see that the one side is pretty skimpy compared to the other side (the grey ones were skimpy too).   But once it was all trimmed up, I had an 8 5/8" block - perfectly fits right at the size I wanted!

At this point, I remembered that I don't want the same colour darker value in each block - drat!  I guess that's why they call it a trial block.  I'll keep it in case I need it to finish the quilt.  I love how it looks and for me, it's easier to cut the HSTs as I go, instead of a whole bunch at once.  Because I'm trimming them up as I go, I also don't have to be finicky on those pesky 3/8" measurements.  As long as I'm doing my squaring up, I should be good!  Now I just have to calculated how many I need to make a double-size quilt.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Waiting (im)patiently...

My daughter was due on June 1st with her first baby (a girl) and she might be in labour!  She had a non-stress test at the hospital today, and she was having contractions about 8 minutes apart, but she's not in any pain, so we're not sure yet.  We just got back from an hour-long walk and she had a couple of strong ones, but she is handling it so well.  I hope this is an indication how she handles the tough part.

 I remembered that I missed having some handwork during the wee hours of my first daughter's labour, when she was resting, so I dug out my hexies.  They've been put away for a few months while I worked on baby stuff.  I needed to prep some more flower groups so first I had to punch some more cardstock hexagons with my Creative Memories punch. I also punch a hole in the centre to make it easy to take out and reuse it.
The hexagon on the left is my cutting template.  I cut my hexies out of 2" and 2 1/2" strips, which minimizes waste.  Here is my little bin of precut strips - I've reused a veggie and dip container, the little hole for the dip is perfect for some precut hexies and my cutting template.

I'm using my collection of '30s reproductions to make the flowers and because I want each one different, I pulled out the ones I've already completed:

I have completed 59 so far.  As you can see, I've started putting the flowers together in groups.  I didn't want to use a traditional setting so I'm starting with groups of 9 flowers, one from each colour group so they will be well-distributed amongst the finished quilt. Every flower is different, if the "petals" are the same, the centre has to be different. Here's my prepped flowers ready to go for the trip to the hospital!

I'm following the Hexagon tutorial from Bonnie Hunter's blog - I've done hexies before, but the joining of so many small units bored me silly.  Now by doing a hexie and joining it to a flower right away, I have a sense of completion each time I do one. It takes me less than an hour to finish one flower.  Here is the back when it is done:

I won't remove the templates until they are joined to other flowers.  When I started making the hexies, I needed a case for my needles and pins, so I made a hexagon one using my selvages and a vintage button from my mother's collection.

When I was punching my cardstock, I looked at my smaller punch and wondered how small of a hexie I could make.  I pulled out my smaller punch (also from Creative Memories) and punched out the smallest size hexie, with a finished size of  3/4".  Each side is just 3/8".  (My regular size hexies finish at 1 1/2", with 3/4" sides.  The flower is just the cutest, but I don't know how many I would make - maybe enough for a doll house quilt.  Here it is with a spool of thread to show you how little it is:

And with one of my regular hexagons - which looks so big beside it!

Well, I'm off to bed to get some sleep. Hopefully, that little girl makes her arrival soon! 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pinwheel/Windmill Patterns

I think these ones are the top contenders for my Sunkissed quilt.  I want to make it to fit a double bed in the grandbabies room at my house, so they will require some modification.

This one is called "Spinout" and is in the newest Quiltmaker magazine.

I also love this double pinwheel from a Pinwheel Quilt-along by Rachal Griffiths of p.s. I quilt  - instead of using white on the outer HSTs, I would use the lighter shades or the greys of the Sunkissed bundle. 

BUT: maybe I'll go in a totally different direction and do this!

I love how bright this is!  And I found another great blog to follow!  Check out Jennifer and Jessica of!