Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kat Quilt - Block 3

I'm still learning as I go with these blocks though clearly, my photography skills are not improving.  Oh well... you'll get the idea!

This block was inspired by my dear friend Brenda.  It was her suggestion to make shapes "peeking through" the black, so it was only fitting to do at least 1 block in honor of her!  One of her "sons" (friend of the family who is like a son to her) is a Marine.  When he was first deployed overseas, he and Brenda decided that they would look for Orion's Belt (3 stars in a row) in the sky at night, to remind each other that if they could both see the same thing, they were never really that far away from each other.  (Note that he is home, safe and sound now!)

This block has 3 stars in a diagonal line from corner to corner.
(Can you see the chalk lines in the photo above?)

I did my strip piecing only in the diagonal area that would show through.

Still need to work on the photography skills, because you can't really see all the patterns on the fabrics in this photo, but (hopefully) you can see that the pieced part shows through the openings.

A little better view of the fabrics.

Of course, the most important part of this block is that little ladybug!

Here are the other blocks: Block 1 --- Block 2

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Friday, October 26, 2012

Girl Scout Tote Bags

Two years ago when my daughter joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie, I made her this brown messenger bag to match her vest.  It was the perfect size for her Brownie handbooks, which she took to her weekly meetings.  I made a similar one for her BFF and they were both lined with fabric similar to the print on this pink heart, only with a brown background.

This year they are both Girl Scout "Juniors," which meant a new vest (in the most UN-matchable shade of bluish green) and also new books.  I would have made them live with the brown bags, but their new books didn't fit.

It has been raining for 3 days (thank you, Hurricane Sandy) so I had to settle for these indoor photos in bad lighting... but you'll get the idea.  I made two bags (one for my daughter, with the pink stitching around the heart) and one for her BFF (with the green stitching around the heart).

The bags are lined with a lighter green solid and they each have one inside pocket.  They measure 14" x 14" and are 4" deep.

Linking up with: 

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for "Whoop Whoop Friday"
Karen at Sew Many Ways for "Find a Friend Friday"
Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for "Finish It Up Friday"

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kat Quilt - Block 2

Block 2 (of 20) is done!  This one is the Ragnar logo with orange underneath, since orange is Ragnar's signature color.  I've posted a lot about Ragnar and what it means to me, you can look here or here or most importantly here if you're interested.

I realized a few things on my first block -- such as the fact that a lot of the patchwork won't show through.  This time, I only put the piecing where I'd need it to be.

Still more lessons learned on this one -- like not putting vertical pieced stripes underneath a vertical shape because they won't always be centered and may drive you nuts...

Even with the off center middle stripe, I don't plan to redo this block or any others.  I would if it was for someone else... which is not to say I'm *less* important than someone else... but part of the purpose of this quilt is to remind me that it's OK to not be perfect all the time.  

I'm all set to start on Block 3.  My goal is to complete 2-3 blocks per week, so I will hopefully end up with a finished quilt sometime by the end of the year.

I'm really, really hoping those black inside edges will curl up and fray the way I'm imagining they will.... if anyone has tips or advice for how to make that happen, please let me know!

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Kat ~

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kat Quilt - Block 1

Thanks to all of you who responded to my request for ideas when I was looking for a quilt or block pattern that represented light shining through the darkness.  There were so many great ones and I thought I had settled on "Circles at Midnight" from Jean.  I really love the concept of this quilt but it calls for batiks, which I don't have in my stash.  I thought I'd make each crescent it's own fabric, but then there was all that time-consuming applique.....

My dear friend Brenda (no blog) suggested I do something with colorful shapes peeking out through the blackness.  I loved this idea, too, so I decided to combine the two concepts.

Here's what I came up with.... 

I started with a 13" black print square and drew a star in the middle with chalk.

I thought the first star wasn't big enough, so I drew it a little bigger.

Using the "dump and sew" method that is so popular lately, I put together a 13" block with my blue scraps.  I love that I can look at this block and tell you what every fabric was originally used for :-).

I pinned the two together (right sides up), so the black covered the blue.

I sewed through both layers with black thread, following the (outer) star shape. Then came the fun (but also really scary!) part.... 

Using my smallest, sharpest scissors, I cut away the top layer of black, about 1/4" inside the star shape (where the stitching line is).  This leaves a raw edge on the black, which I'm hoping (fingers crossed!) will shrivel up and fray a bit once this goes through the washing machine and the dryer.

Here's a close-up of one point of the star.

I learned a few good lessons on this first block --- mainly that a lot of the patchwork I did on the blue block was wasted, since it's covered by the black on top.  I'm planning to do it a little differently next time.

I have ideas for several more blocks, working my way up to 20 for this quilt.  (I trimmed the block down to 12.5" after cutting out the star.)  I'll set them into 5 rows of 4 blocks each and possibly add some borders.  

This won't be a traditional quilt at all, but it will symbolize so much for me... I can't wait to make some more progress!

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Kat ~

Friday, October 19, 2012

Yup, more pouches

Did you think I was done making these pouches yet?  I sure did!  
(I swear, I really do know how to make other things!)  

These are on their way to an amazing lady and her running team, all the way in Toronto, Canada.  Hopefully, they'll be raffled off to raise some donations for Shelly's family.

Next on the list is a quilt for *me.*  Can't wait!!

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Friday, October 12, 2012

Baby Girl Block Quilt

A few weeks ago I ran across Heather's blog, Needles and Pens.  I'm always bookmarking quilts, colors, crafts and patterns I like on other blogs, but for some reason, this one turned into more than just a bookmark.  I had to make it immediately.  Like YESTERDAY.  (Here's another one of Heather's quilts, using this same pattern.)

I decided to use a FQ bundle I'd splurged on (whoops!) back in July.  I would tell you the name of the fabrics but I lost the sticker I took off the package.  It was something incredibly non-descript like "Fat Quarter Bundle #8," and I only purchased it because there was a ladybug on one of the fabrics.

I didn't have a pattern, but I looked at Heather's and made up my own measurements.  I started with 3" squares for the 4-patch (ish) blocks and used 3" sashing.  I made it up as I went along from there.  

I finished the top and pieced the back in one weekend.  It went on hold for a bit while I was out of town but I was able to get it sandwiched, quilted and bound this week.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I will definitely make this quilt again, though I may start with slightly bigger squares (if I have yardage vs. fat quarters... I was afraid I wouldn't have enough fabric if I went any bigger).

I didn't have much fabric left from my FQs after making the front, but I did want to piece in my leftovers on the back.  There was one more (purple-ish) fabric in the bundle that I didn't use on either side of the quilt, but I'm sure I'll put that to good use soon enough.

This quilt doesn't have a home yet, but making a quilt "just because" makes me feel more brave with practicing my FMQ.  I still have a lot to learn, but I can see my progress with every quilt.  Yay!

Linking up with: 

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for "Whoop Whoop Friday"
Karen at Sew Many Ways for "Find a Friend Friday"
Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for "Finish It Up Friday"

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Monday, October 8, 2012

Need some ideas!! Can you help me?

Thanks so much to all of you who sent love, support and prayers after reading my last post about the tragic loss of my teammate, Shelly.  It has been a very difficult time for me, our team and most especially, her family.  Your kind words (in comments, emails, etc) have been a huge source of comfort.

As horrible as this has been, however, I have seen so many positive things creeping out from the darkness.  People, events, "coincidences".... so many things that have reminded me over and over again that when life leads you down the darkest of paths, God always sends angels with flashlights.

Here's where I need your help...

I have been sewing / quilting for 9 years.  I've always said that someday I will make myself a "Kat quilt."  Something just for me.  So far, it still hasn't happened.  But now it's going to.

I'd love for this quilt to remind me of "angels with flashlights."  It probably won't have angels *or* flashlights on it... but I'd like it to have colors or a pattern which somehow represents light shining through darkness.  It might be colors which graduate from dark to light... or have spots of light coming from blocks of dark.  I'd like it to be more about the light than the dark, to represent that the light will always overcome the darkness.

Do you know of any patterns, quilts, books, inspirations, anythings... which might represent this? I don't care if it's a pattern (free or for purchase), a tutorial, or just a picture of a finished block or quilt... I'm just looking for ideas.  Any suggestions, links, etc that you could provide are very much appreciated.  I think emerging myself in this quilt will help me heal and will serve as a lasting reminder that even in the worst of times, the angels with flashlights are always standing close.

Thanks in advance for your ideas!

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~ 

Friday, October 5, 2012


This post is not about sewing and I'll warn you up front, it's pretty sad.  It took me almost a week to bring myself to write it and I'm sure it will ramble.

If you read my last post, you know that last week, I flew to New York to take part in a 200 mile relay (running) race through the Adirondack Mountains from Saratoga Springs to Lake Placid.  Our team consisted of 12 women from various parts of the country and we divided up into two vans.  The first six people (Van 1, including me) would each run a portion of the course, then try to catch a few hours sleep while the last six people (Van 2) ran their portion.  We'd repeat this a total of 3 times per van, or 36 "legs" of the course.

It was in the 50s and raining the entire weekend - a big switch from the 85 degree, sunny course I usually run.  Running my first 6.2 miles at 7am in the cold, pouring rain, though, was amazing.  I wish everyone could somehow experience the magic that is "knowing you're doing it" even when the odds (and nature) are against you.  

Our half of the group (Van 1) finished our portion and the second half of the team began their legs.  My half grabbed some lunch, found a laundromat to dry out our wet clothing and had just settled in for an hour or so of sleep when I got The Call.

One of our runners -- Shelly, a 37 year old mother of a 7 year old boy -- had collapsed, only 2 miles in to her first leg.  Tragically and unbelievably, she passed away on the course from a heart attack.  This is the most unthinkable, unimaginable tragedy and none of us have our heads wrapped around it.  Out of respect for her family, friends and our team I won't say much more, but we are all still reeling.

Some of our runners decided to go home.  They wanted to be with their families.  Shelly's cousin, best friend and another friend were on our team, so we spent several hours at the hospital, making flight arrangements, waiting for family to arrive, etc.  By the time everyone was "settled" (for lack of a better word), there were only 3 runners left.

After a lot of soul searching about what to do next, we decided to keep going.  We knew we could not finish the remaining 140 miles, but we knew we could finish what we started in some way, in honor of Shelly and on behalf of our team.

After about 1 hour sleep (in a van in the woods, still in the cold, pouring rain), two of us split Shelly's next leg -- at 4am -- 8.3 miles up a mountain -- in the cold, pouring rain.  Our third runner joined us to run Shelly's last leg -- 4.6 miles, also uphill -- also in the cold, pouring rain.  The three of us then ran the last 1 mile of the race together, so that our team was represented at the finish line, like Shelly and all of us had planned and worked so hard for the past 8 months.

I don't have many pictures from the race, but I wanted to share a few....    

One of the "race traditions" is to write each team member's name on the van window, along with 3 check boxes.  As we finish a leg (we each run 3), we check it off.  We started the race that way.... but in the end, we were running only for Shelly.

I'm on the left in this photo, taken around 5am Saturday morning.  We had just finished running 8.3 miles, which would have been Shelly's 2nd leg.  The lady on the right is someone we recruited to join our team when we were 1 runner short.  She flew in all the way from Phoenix and we'd known her less than 2 days.  She is one of the most amazing people I've ever met and I'm so honored to have made a life-long friend in her.

The 3 remaining runners (I'm on the left) checking off Shelly's last leg.

With our finish line medals after completing the last 1 mile of the race together.  We did not finish the way we had planned... we'd slept 3 hours in the past 36... we were cold and wet and emotionally drained.. but we decided to smile for the picture because we knew Shelly would have been grinning from ear to ear. 

If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for Shelly, her family and friends.  If you haven't been to a doctor in a while, GO!  If you haven't said "I love you" or "you mean the world to me" to the people who matter, what are you waiting for?  Life is so precious and you just never know... never.

I haven't sewn a thing since I got home on Monday.  I haven't done laundry or swept a floor or unpacked.  I have, however, hugged my kids about a million times.  I've written letters and made phone calls to the people I love, just because I love them.  I've stopped to take notice of the beauty of the world around me, of all the gifts I've been granted and all the ladybugs God has put in my path.  In honor of my friend and teammate and for yourself, please consider doing the same.

Note: The photo at the top of this post was taken (by me) after we finished Shelly's last leg.  This is the magnificent course we ran.  When I look at it, I don't see the rain or the clouds.  I see the amazing beauty of the world both around me and within me.  I hope you do, too.

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~