Sue and Brian’s quilt

I have been friends with Sue for over 15 years, which kinds of makes my head explode. We didn’t actually meet face-to-face for the first 8 years of that, even though I knew her voice and absolutely knew her writing style. We met on an online message board for scrapbookers back in 1999.  We have chatted through that, through emails, AOL IM, Yahoo IM, Google chat, Facebook chat, and through almost daily text messages. She’s one of those people who I know will be there to laugh at the inappropriate things that I find amusing, and she’ll share equally amusing inappropriate things back.

2012 was a tough year for both of us — for me because of the fire and Jerry’s shoulder and some other unpleasantness that I won’t detail, and for Sue because of a painful divorce. I hope that I was there for her as much as she was for me that year, but I do know that I thought about her often and kept her in my prayers as she as working through all of it.

But I know I was there when she met Brian, because I remember the way her entire world view shifted. She went from being sad and angry and broken to being the woman I had known and adored for so long, but even better. This man was a treasure to her, and I couldn’t be happier.

She and Brian decided to get married in July of this year, and I wanted to make a quilt for them to celebrate. Sue is very tasteful and classic in her decorating style, so she sent photos of her living spaces and the colors that she would be decorating with, and my heart sank when they were all cranberry and dark wood.

“Can I add a little… um… jazzy colors? Just to… uh…”

She said to go for it. This is why I love this woman, seriously.

So when Jerry and I went to Spool in early July, we picked out fabrics. Initially I was trying to behave and go for cranberry and brown, but then teals and purples and salmons wandered in, and when I added the acid green (which actually I had picked out for Escapade and not for this at all), the collection suddenly came alive for me.

Sew Kind of Wonderful was having a quilt-along in August for their new Twisted Blossom tutorial, which is a modification of the Metro Twist pattern. Since I loved working with the Quick Cut Ruler making Escapade, I decided to join up and participate. These were the first group of Metro Twist parts that I made, to see if I really liked the concept before I fully committed and used up all of the fabrics.

Yep. I liked it.

So I made up a block, using all of the same background color even though the blossom parts were scrappy.

And then two more.

And then I numbercrunched, and realized that I only had enough background fabrics for 10 blocks if I made them all one color like those shown above…. Or I could do seventeen if I allowed scrappy backgrounds and pulled from more of my stash to complete the backgrounds. So I took apart those three blocks, scrambled them, and went fully scrappy. SO much better and more interesting to look at, and actually easier to lay out the final quilt because I wasn’t as concerned about color-balancing the backgrounds. Because they were all scrappy, they were balanced as long as I did my best to keep the same color from ever being sewn to itself. I didn’t always succeed, but I did pretty well.

The trimmings as I squared up the Metro Twist pieces were really pretty too, and not my usual color palette so I enjoyed the process and the exploration a lot.
  

16 for the front, plus a bonus block for the back. I used up every single bit of these fabrics, and had to go back to Spool (gosh darn) to get backing fabrics and binding that would complement, since I didn’t have anything left in my stash that would work.

Then I decided to do ruler work and really have a good time with the quilting again, since I had enjoyed that so much with Escapade and I think that the Quick Curve Ruler patterns really lend themselves to this quilting style. I quilted the blossoms in a sand color, the large squares in a teal color, and the diamonds and triangles in brown. There was a tremendous amount of marking and thread burying, but I think the finished result was definitely worth it.


Friday and Ella liked it too, since they were on it within 5 seconds of my spreading it out after putting the last stitch in the binding.

It took several days for the weather to cooperate so I could get Fence Photos in natural light, since the scrappy nature of the quilt concealed the stitching when I tried to take photos inside.
  
  

I love how the sand-colored thread looked on the brown. I’ll have to remember that. So crisp.

I’m very proud of how absolutely centered the quilting motif is on the backside block — I’m not sure what deities I bribed to get that to work out, but I’m not complaining.

 

I took the quilt top with me when I went to AQS Grand Rapids in August, so that they could see it before I quilted it (and I could make sure it would be OK in their home — and it really did look nice in that room, at least to my eye)… So the first time I met Brian, I introduced myself and said that I had added acid green to their quilt because I’m an ass and want to be remembered every time they look at it. Poor Brian. I think that he may have been a bit overwhelmed to have me and Sue and Rene all in the same place at the same time because I’m not sure he realized that there were three of us with the same quick wit and questionable humor.

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I held on to the quilt for a while and finally sent it early this past week. It actually arrived in Michigan on Christmas Eve, and once the holiday settles down I hope that they are able to snuggle under it and remember me every time they see my acid green editorial comments.

 

This could be a lot of fun…

Apologies In Advance

I have an old Bamboo tablet (link doesn’t take you to the one I have, but to a comparable one available now) from my digital scrapbooking days, and I hooked it up to my computer so I could play in Illustrator… I love this thing, because it ONLY works with the associated stylus, so the fact that I’m left-handed doesn’t present a problem. Writing on my iPad is a pain in the rear (#firstworldproblem, yes, I know) because when I drag my hand the iPad gets confused.

I have REALLY neat handwriting, so using a tablet has been frustrating. I can’t even get close to my normal handwriting on an iPad or touch-sensitive tablet. But today with the Bamboo I was able to get a lot closer to my normal handwriting, and I imagine that with more practice I’ll get even better at it. And maybe if I updated the tablet to a more advanced one it would be even better? This tablet is at least 6 years old now so I imagine the technology has improved a lot.

And now? I know some stuff about some stuff in Illustrator! I already knew just enough to be dangerous, but Jerry gave me the Adobe Illustrator 2014 Classroom in a Book for Christmas, and I’ve gotten through the first 60 pages of it already. I’m using the 2015 release on the Creative Cloud, but the 2015 book was only released 7 days ago… I’ve been able to find everything so far even though a few things have been buried in deeper menus… Thankfully I’m not afraid to click around and I already had some familiarity with the program, which helps a lot.

Let the Illustrator dreams begin! (If I play on it too much, I dream it. This happened regularly in 2015 because I was writing all of the patterns and trying to figure out what the heck I was doing just by flailing around in Illustrator and InDesign. I anticipate more of that — both the flailing around and the dreams — in 2016!)

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Merry Christmas!

 Yes, I know it’s Christmas Eve. The holiday being what it usually is, I will have more time to post tomorrow. So for now, I leave you with this: 

  
Please note the little red bomb on the (c.1892 Wilson&Wheeler) sewing machine.  

That is a magnetic LED flashlight that I gave my husbeast mere minutes before, and already he’s going around sticking it to things. As one does. 

Hope you all have joyous and safe holidays!