Early this year (or maybe it was late last year?), I found out that one of my hubby's cousins was going to be a grandpa. His daughter, a miracle baby, was pregnant. Of course this little one needs a quilt, right? Mom has two from me (one worn to shreds, another waiting for the next generation because, though it was a replacement for the first one, just was NOT the same thing!), but I'm up for any excuse.
Mom is a girly girl. Mostly. So I wanted something girly and princessey. When I came across the pattern "The Royal Ground" from Stacy Iest Hsu, it was settled and I ordered a kit immediately.
It came in a box, so of course you know the cats claimed it right away. (And Finn looks so tiny here! But that was 4 months ago or so...he just keeps growing!)
I pulled the fabrics out - including a panel that will make some little dolls - and petted it a few minutes before starting to cut pieces out.
I quickly figured out which was my favorite...
...and tried not to use any more of it than I had to. I want a little for my stash!
I modified the original pattern some to make it a little smaller. It was rather long and skinny and a baby quilt doesn't need to be that large. So I took out a few rows and skinnied up some borders, which did leave me with a bit more of this fabric that I would have had otherwise.
There were still a lot of pieces to cut!
My angler came into play when losing a LOT of corners...
...to make a couple rows of tulips. With a LOT of pieces in them!
(I think I counted just shy of 300 pieces in there!)
Midway into February, according to blog posts, I had the quilt semi-complete...
Once the pieces started getting larger, the assembly started going quickly. Of course, I had help.
And then I had a top!
Next up were the little dolls. I was wary of making them, but had committed to the cost of the whole kit because I wanted that panel and those dolls.
Cutting those pieces by hand took forever and I was ready to be done at that point. But I allowed myself time between steps so I wouldn't get frustrated and give up entirely. Sometimes those breaks lasted longer than they should have, but it worked out in the end.
Sewing around little curves and skinny legs proved tricky, but I powered through. Stuffing those skinny arms and legs also proved difficult, but I was determined!
They look a little funky, but hey! This is my first time doing this. They also need skirts, but the instructions were not written in a way that I understood easily. We all process things differently and this set of instructions was obviously written by someone who processes very differently from me. So I took another step back and let it simmer a while before trying again. And when I had the time and patience, I started again. I winged some of it, but in all, they turned out quite cute!
There were also pieces to make a bunny and a unicorn. So I set out to make those, too. With these dolls and skirts under my belt, this next set shouldn't be too hard, right?
A few more skinny bits to stuff and tight curves to sew, but there they are. In front of the cat scratcher "cottage" that is just about their size!
Time to get back to the quilt, right? It needs to be quilted. The baby shower got moved, thanks to stay-at-home orders in our state being extended and extended and extended, so I got an extra month, but knowing I wanted it done before baby was due kept me moving along.
Onto the longarm!
I knew there were a lot of opportunities for some fun stuff in this quilt - bricks and pebbles in the castle, clouds in the sky...so I took a few deep breaths and dug in.
The tulips got some custom dot-to-dot style loops.
And the hearts along the side got echos inside and bouncy echo hearts outside.
You can also see a bit of the clouds and such on the right edge - surrounding the castle.
And then, putting on my big girl panties, I dug into pebbles in the castle itself. The lighter pink walls got bricks, the darker got pebbles.
They're not all great, but I knew that a chunk of this would be covered by the pocket, so it will be okay. Also? It will just be okay.
I knew I needed to put the pocket on, but that was scary. So let's see the whole quilt without it, just in case I screw it up, okay?
You'll notice I even have the binding done here. That was how freaked out I was about that pocket. The instructions had me just take a pieced heart block, turn the edges under, and sew it on. Raw edges on all but the open side. That was NOT going to do it for me. So I modified it and took another few deep breaths, and sewed it on.
And then I stuffed the dolls in there to show it off entirely.
No photos of the back - sorry! I used chunks of fabric left from the front and pieced together a back. I still have some left, but not nearly as much. And I'm happy about that.
I missed the actual baby shower. When they moved it, I was still wary. Again, the stay-at-home order had been extended and ended just a day or two before the shower. And I hesitated to ask for another day off for the shower (I had already asked for the original date off and gotten it) to have it not happen. But, as it turns out, they decided to ask folks to drive by and drop off gifts in the driveway and Emily would open them via Facebook live a few hours later. So while I didn't attend the shower, I got to see her (and the daddy) open the quilt. And funny enough, the BOY figured out the pocket was for the dolls! (He's gonna be a good girl dad!)
I'm not sure exactly what her due date was, but we saw her weekend before last and she was READY. Not complaining or anything, but just ready to meet her little one. And Friday, the baby's heart rate dropped and she went in for an emergency c-section. She was full-term, so it wasn't a bad choice, just a scary one.
Mom and baby did well and actually got released from the hospital earlier than anticipated because they were doing so well! (Also, probably the hospital figured they'd be safer at home!)
Wanna meet Willow?
She's just a few days old here. And yes, that is mom and dad. Yes, they are young. No, this wasn't planned. But look at how happy Emily looks! And dad? Well, he looks pretty pleased, too. They've got support from family and beyond. This is going to be one spoiled, well-loved little one, without a doubt.
In other quilty news, both the Sasquatch quilt and the macaroon quilt went to their permanent homes in the past few days. I will be posting more about those soon.
And this past Wednesday, I sewed with a friend. As restrictions are easing, it feels a little more like normal and a little less scary to go out. Of course, precautions are still a good idea, but it was fun to sew with a friend.
I took my Christmas blocks and fabric for sashing and cornerstones. And took advantage of her beautiful, huge, new deck to determine a layout.
We sewed and chatted and chatted and sewed. Her hubby came home from work a little before I planned to leave, but he had his own chores to attend to, so I was able to get a top together before I left.
Well, a top without borders...
Puppy Hazel got in on the action for the photos. She's a goldendoodle and just a sweetheart of a dog. But boy does she have a lot of energy! And while my cats have energy, they are not this large, so it doesn't seem like as much. When they couch-surf, the whole couch doesn't move!
When I got home, I decided to shop my stash for border fabrics before heading to my local quilt shop. While I don't mind buying something I need, I do have a fair amount of fabric already and I would like to try to lessen that. At least this week. Next week might be a different story.
I decided on the darker green, as it has been used in the quilt elsewhere. And the red dot for borders looks a little washed out when you get a little distance away from it, but I have plenty and it makes me happy when I see it up closer, so it will get used.
And lastly, I got goodies for my participation in the Hands 2 Help charity quilt drive this year!
It is hard to see, but that Christmas fabric has kitties and puppies on it! There are four coordinating fat quarters. And that little sewing machine charm is so cute. Such a great little treat to say thanks, though I would have done it anyways.
I finally feel like I am making progress on sharing quilts. I have two more done (Sasquatch and Macaroons), but have not quilted anything in a few weeks. Bird Seeds is still calling to me, but I am resisting going shopping for batting. People are acting like jerks a lot lately. And I don't mean the protests and riots. I mean the people coming into my place of work and being angry at me for having to wear a mask. Or that we are out of tomato cages. Or that they had to wait in line to check out. For the last three months, almost every single person has been kind. I heard a lot of crazy conspiracy theories about the virus at the start, but everyone was willing to wait in line. They were understanding when we were out of things. They didn't try to Mask Shame anyone. I don't know what has changed, but it is disgusting to see the absolute change in people. I know there are angry people out there, but rarely did I see them at work. Now I see them all the time. They demand to speak to a manager. (The manager gives them the same answer I did.) They ask me why that guy isn't wearing a mask. (Because I am not the Mask Police - but I know better than to say that out loud.) They stomp out angry because the two people working that shift aren't enough to help them RIGHT NOW with what they want. (They're sure there are 73 other employees in the back room having a big party or something - probably without masks and using the tomato cages as props for a game of farm store croquet...hmmm...maybe I've hit upon a good breaktime stress reliever?! Now if we could just get some tomato cages...)
So anyways. With all the angry people out there, thinking only of themselves, I'll just wait a little longer to get some batting. I hear stores are fairly picked over anyways. I can wait. I'll just sew more tops. And maybe purchase another Rack of Shame. I'd bet those aren't hot items right now and can be picked up at the store where I buy my groceries - somewhere I have to go anyways.