Monday, December 23, 2013

A Very Merry Monday!

After a three day trek from Nashville, TN, I am at my dad's place in Richmond, VA! I stopped twice to spend some time with my Grandmother and my boyfriend, which is always nice. And CJ and I saw the new Hobbit movie on Saturday, which was super duper fun. He thought it was a little too cute at times, and I didn't like how many wide swooping panoramic shots there were, but overall it was a fun movie. I eat up the LOTR movies like they're movie theater popcorn, I love them.

But I'm here to show off the two swoon quilts I made for my stepsisters for Christmas! I started work on them back in July, before I left for my study abroad trip. The first quilt took around two and a half months to make, and the second one took two weeks. I was on a tight deadline, so I said goodbye to my social life and locked myself in the sewing dungeon (a.k.a. the basement of my mom's house) to get them both finished.

And here they are! And they're MASSIVE! There isn't anywhere big enough here in the house to take photos, and it's raining outside, and I need to wrap them soon to get under the tree...

I know for sure that the quilt on the left is made mostly with FQ's of Flea Market Fancy. The one on the right, I have no idea- my local fabric shop had a Fat Quarter Frenzy sale, and I just snatched up whatever colors I thought would work well together. 

This one is for the 8 year old...

and this one is for the 6 year old.

Both are bound with a solid colored binding- the upper is light blue, the lower is light pink. And I just realized I didn't take any photos of the backing, which is a gross oversight on my part. Sorry, all!

I am so glad they're done! I still need to clean them up a bit, but they're ready for Christmas morning :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A victorious Finish!

Dear little girls,

I'm sorry I wasn't there this year to join you for Hanukkah, but I hope you enjoy these quilts I made you for Christmas!

Happy holidays!
Love, Kitty

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I have succeeded. I sat myself down in the dungeon almost every night this week and the whole weekend, and finished  my quilting!

 In process. I'm watching the Magic Schoolbus right now.

There were some trials and tribulations, as there often are on long journeys. I broke a needle. I stabbed myself with pins. And my machine stopped working. I think I've been pushing it too hard, because it was groaning and groaning and finally just seized up and decided to not work anymore. Luckily, my mom has an old Husquavarna, and that thing is a TANK. I finished about four episodes of quilting in two episodes with that machine. 

I took apart my little Brother, but couldn't figure out what the issue was. I'm going to have to find someone here in Nashville who can play doctor to my machine. In the meantime, I plan on machine sewing on the bindings for both Swoon quilts tomorrow, and then packing them up for my trip to Richmond for Christmas!

A casualty

All squared up!

I feel like a tiny factory, a quilt making factory. I am the machine that sews and sews and sews and has BEEN sewing for WEEKS. I'm so glad this is almost done. And I'm a little glad my Brother pooped out on me, it's forcing me to take a break. I wanted to make a wedding quilt for some friends who are getting married on the 27th, but I wasn't going to have the time. And now I don't have the means, so haha! I was planning on making them some cute coasters as a placeholder for the quilt, so we'll see how that goes. I think I'll write them a nice letter instead- I don't want to deal with the stress of my machine right now.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Keeping Schedule

As any of you who have been following me know, I'm busting my butt to finish TWO Swoon quilts in time for Christmas. I decided to make a calendar schedule to map out what I need to do and when so that my step sisters can open up a massive quilt on Christmas. It's a great calendar! Everything made sense, and it was all doable.

I had block #7 to finish and block #8 to start and finish for Wednesday. All the fabric has been cut, it's all assembly at this point. So I sat down before dinner to get a head's start and work on the blocks. Then mom called dinner, we watched Sherlock Holmes.... and I lost all motivation to start block #8.

womp womp.

So, I made binding for my Sisters' Ten BOM quilt instead!
Schedules are lame, anyway.



I'll finish on time, I promise.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Three Quilts for the Price of One!

Post #101! I'm hitting some crazy milstones- blog turning 1, 100 posts... My, how time flies.

I have been terrible about posting quilts I've finished! In the craziness of the summer, I was preparing for my trip abroad and trying to wrap up as many sewing projects as I could. In July, I finished my Scrappy Trip Along quilt, and right before I hopped on the plane to Iceland in August, I finished my beautiful Quilt Barf project.

Aren't they lovely? Haha!

During the summer of 2012, I had no job and a lot of time on my hands. I'd made two quilts already with my grandmother, and found sewtakeahike's String Quilt tutorial on StumbleUpon (yeah, it was that long ago!). I decided to start collecting fabrics for a string quilt, and this beauty was finished just in time for me to take it to my new apartment at college.

I don't think I named it...

When I was collecting fabric and such, I went ahead and cut everything into strips in varying widths and arranged it by color. After I had all the blocks done, though, I realized that I had a butt ton of scraps left over from this project. WAY too many. I decided I was just going to slap everything together and use it as the backing. But about halfway into that, I decided it looked ugly and I didn't feel like sewing anymore (I wanted to finish this before the move, after all). So, the slappy pieces got rolled up in a sheet and put away for a while.

I still had a ton of scraps, though. So once blog-land got hold of the scrappy trip along, I decided to hop on board! The pattern called for 2.5" strips, but I had more 1.5" strips, and decided to use what I already had. And so my teeny scrappy trip along was born!

It lives in Nashville with my mom

I STILL had scraps. And the slappy pieces. So, I put them all together and made Quilt Barf. I quilted it with straight lines every inch or so. It's a bright enough quilt, I didn't think it needed any fancy quilting.

The back is a neat flannel I got at a yard sale. 

So, one collection of fabric scraps, three quilts. And FINALLY I have used all of the fabric I cut for my string quilt.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Surrounded by Swoons

I realize I've been very absent on my blog lately. I could make excuses, but really I've been busy and tired from work and sewing. I'm busting my butt to finish two swoon quilts by Christmas. Can I do it? I hope so!

I will be excited to finish these. Hopefully they'll be under the tree by Christmas eve and two little girls will be over the moon to receive them!

I'm quilting the first Swoon with straight lines right now. Its really hard, this quilt is huge and it hurts my hands. I'm finishing up block 5 on the second swoon tonight!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Finding Time. And a Job.

I packed up all my sewing things last Friday and made the journey to Nashville to spend some time with my momma. After a quick weekend in Blacksburg with CJ, I drove the remaining 6 hours to mom's house and quickly made myself at home.

I've set up camp in the basement

The week has been madness. I went on two job interviews (and got offered an internship position at both! And then spent a day in panic because I had to pick one and turn the other down), finished getting everything ready for Swoon #1 to be quilted (cut batting, made backing, even made the binding!), and started work on Swoon #2. I'm two blocks in, and I finished cutting fabric on Monday. Go me!

My little layout table

I'm trying to find someone in Nashville or Virginia who could quilt my Swoon quilts for me (that also won't cost me an arm and a leg), since I'm running out of time. I wanted them done by Christmas... But I've got everything for Swoon #1 sitting in a nice, neat, pile, all ready to go. 

I'm using Flea Market Fancy for Swoon #2! Allison, you would love it :)

I'm going to have a lot of half finished projects here soon. I've got my Salt Water Quilt top that needs finishing, my Sister's Ten BOM quilt will *hopefully* be done here soon, plus Swoons #1 and #2, AND I wanted to make a quilt as a gift for a friend. And join another BOM. And do a traveling quilt. 

I'm sorry I don't have any photos of them yet, but Swoon #1 and Quilt Barf both look awesome! I'll get around to photographing them soon...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Back home

Step 1. Come home from Europe.
Step 2. Jet lag
Step 3. Unpack and laundry
Step 4. Finish Swoon Quilt #1 top
Step 5. Put on Quilt Barf binding
Step 6. ???
Step 7. Profit!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


We joked, as we ran from the Pantheon to the Trivi Fountain to the Spanish steps, that we are now coasting through the last hill of our trip. Downward slope, sketchbooks put away, snapping photos quickly and moving on to the next thing to see in Rome.

Fountain of Four Rivers. Check.

Moses, by Michelangelo. Check.

It's very easy to do. My little tourist map has small drawings of all the famous facades and churches and piazzas and buildings and ruins to see, and I've been crossing them off my map as I've visited them (yes, I know I'm terrible). Rome isn't very large, but it is full to the brim with things to see. And it's such a famous city that you can knock out most of the "Top Things to Do" in an afternoon if you try hard.

Back and front of Pantheon. Check.

Occulus of Pantheon. Occulus shot with a tiny fisheye lens. Check.

I was thinking the other day about what exactly makes something famous. The architect of the Trevi Fountain didn't build it thinking, "I'm going to make this fountain that people from all over the WORLD will come throw money into!" So when did that shift happen? What makes a place desirable to visit? And who says we HAVE to visit it? I bet most of the people who come to Rome (or go to any touristy city anywhere) have a checklist mentality. Do we stop to think about why we visit something? Or do we follow our tour guide and look at what she tells us to look at?

Trevi Fountain. Check.

I checklisted my way through Rome on Tuesday with a quick stop for architecture in the middle. In the process of checklisting, I missed out on lunch, which made me crabby and I became Grumpy Cat. But once I had some risotto in me, the rest of the afternoon went swimmingly.

Coliseum. Check.

We visited the job site of a convention center by the architecture firm Fuksas. The exterior is a cube, and the interior is a "cloud". Kind of weird, but I love any and all opportunities to don steel toed boots and a hard hat.

Construction site. Check.


On Wednesday morning, a group of us left early to go to the Pope's  General Audience at St. Peter's. We arrived around 8:30 and waited for two hours, getting pushed and boxed out by the people around us. But it was a great experience. Pope Francis drove right in front of us in his Pope-mobile, and, even though I don't speak Italian, his sermon was really good. I could pick out a few words here and there, but his inflection and manner of speech conveyed his message almost as well as his words did. That is the sign of a great speaker.

St. Peter's Square. Check.

Swiss Guard. Check.


Then we visited the Vatican Museum, where I saw LOTS of art and ran into Matt and Mallory, who are making their way through Europe on their own super adventure. I didn't take any sneaky photos of the Sistine Chapel, so sorry, you're going to have to just go see it yourself.

Super funky archway. Check.

Thursday is my last full day in Rome. I fly home on Friday, where CJ will pick me up from the airport and HOPEFULLY I can eat macaroni and cheese within ten seconds of getting home. A girl can dream, right?

I would philosophize about my feelings on this trip, but really, you readers have been with me along the whole way. I went to Europe to study architecture. I didn't go to be a tourist, I didn't go to collect and try beer, I went to learn. I've seen works from famous famous starchitects and small firms. I watched people. I formulated opinions on both people and architecture. And all of this is going to help me grow as an architect as I continue my last year and a half of schooling.

I complained before I left about the professors who were going on the trip with me. I complained that they would wax poetic and try to philosophize to me. I had just spent a year building a freaking bridge, I wanted a practical architecture education! Teach me how to work! Teach me how to have a career! What I didn't realize through my "practical" education is that I needed to remember how to think. How to create. In the haze of construction documents and deadlines, I forgot that that aspect is only half of architecture. If I want to be successful, if I want to be good, if I want to wake up every morning NOT hating my job and wondering why I wanted to go into this field anyway, I need to remember the poetry of architecture.

This trip was good for me. It's put a lot of things into perspective and helped me discover. I'm ready to go home now, and I'm ready for the next three semesters. I'll roll my bike down the hill and coast on home :)