Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Eleni, 10 months

I have been looking forward to writing this update because things have been looking up this month! I guess that's why I'm looking towards the new year with optimism. Here goes!

Eleni, 10 months

This month baby is photographed on Cottage from Fibs & Fables available at Fabricworm, Intrepid Thread and Fat Quarter Shop.

{Arching}

We solved the mystery of Eleni's arching and twisting habits!  Remember how she tends to lay on the floor with her head to one side and her upper body twisting as if trying to turn?

6-30 repetitive twisting + arching

Here's an example from 4 months old.

Turns out that for Eleni, this behavior is directly related to pain, usually reflux pain.  When her pain or stress become elevated, whether from acid reflux, illness or drug withdrawal, that arching and twisting intensify to "stiff attacks" accompanied by racing pulse, rapid breath and panic.  She becomes "stuck" in a constant stiff arch that we can only somewhat relieve by repositioning her.  When she's feeling very badly and the stiff attacks become near constant, the doctors fear she's having seizures and want to knock her out with heavy meds.  One time in November we allowed them to do so, and she was out cold for about 12 hours.  After that they put her on a seizure medicine as a preventative, even though they weren't sure if the stiff attacks were actual seizure activity.  Whatever they are, they're terrible.  Holding her during those attacks is the most stressful job I've ever had.

But there's good news!  Over the past 45 days we've seen a very clear correlation between pain and those fits.  When she's properly medicated with reflux meds or with Tylenol for post-surgical pain, the stiff attacks disappear all together.  She can even lay on the floor without twisting to one side!  It's incredible to see her body become gradually more relaxed and more able to move after months and months of stiffening.  And, such a relief to us all not to have those fearful attacks striking at all hours.  Such a relief.

Eleni, 10 months

Eleni, 10 months

After her surgery this December Eleni suffered drug withdrawals and serious pain that caused about 5 days of stiff attacks.  During that time she underwent an extended EEG test which confirmed that the attacks are NOT seizures.  They saw no seizure activity on EEG (nor have they ever), so we are weaning her off seizure meds now.  Hurray!

{Surgery}

On December 11th Eleni had a triple surgery:  a nissen fundo to prevent reflux, a supraglottoplasty to help her obstructive apnea and ear tubes to allow her ears to drain so she wasn't trying to hear underwater.  The procedures went smoothly!  Because she was under general anaesthesia during surgery, she was intubated (tube down throat) with a respirator breathing for her by pushing air into her lungs to ensure her safety.  Most babies would be extubated immediately after surgery.  Since Eleni already has trouble breathing and had extra swelling in her throat from throat surgery, she was not able to be safely extubated until over 3 days post surgery.  All that time she was on sedation medicines to keep her calmly asleep.  No one wants to be awake with a tube down the throat.

When they extubated her she easily resumed breathing on her own with simple oxygen assistance via nasal cannula like she uses at home.  The doctors were so happy!  But after that we had a really rough road.  It takes a long time for sedation meds to work out of her little body.  She would cycle between periods of sedation and periods of extremely agitated stiff attacks due to drug withdrawal and pain.  At the time I didn't know for sure what was going on because the doctors tend to assume her attacks are neurological, not pain related since she doesn't cry like a normal baby would.  Now, in retrospect I would demand stronger pain relief for her, because I'm sure that she was in more pain than they expected her to be. 

{Life After Surgery}

Ok, this is the best part!  She's been much better since recovering from her surgery!!!

The apnea surgery was more successful than any of us (including the surgeon) expected it to be.  Eleni hardly snores anymore, never cries out in her sleep (which her ENT feels was related to apnea), her chest does not retract - basically she appears to breathe almost like a normal baby!  Proof positive that her apnea is vastly improved is that she's taking longer naps (30 minutes before; 1 hour + now) and able to be awake, alert for longer periods of time.

Eleni, 10 months

The nissen surgery to prevent her from spitting up was mostly successful.  Reflux doesn't come all the way up out of her mouth anymore.  She does retch, as if trying to throw up, during most feeds, but it's very short lived and definitely more comfortable for her than pre-surgery.  She will do a quick retch and then swallow and be fine.  However, the reflux does seem to be coming into her throat somewhat, thus triggering her to swallow.  Sometimes she is having pain with that retch/swallow.  I was hoping it would resolve as her surgical site heals, but it's possible she may need to continue on reflux meds to control that pain.  Regardless the nissen surgery is a win for Eleni.  There is less chance for reflux to hurt her throat, plus she's never having to spit, choke or attempt to swallow that sour stuff.

And the ear tubes!  Gosh, I wish someone had recommended those earlier.  Since her surgery she's been so much more responsive to sound!  Yesterday morning I accidentally woke Eleni up for the first time with a sudden sound.  Over the past weeks she has made it clear that she hears; it's just a question of if she can hear the full range of sounds and with both ears.   What a relief!

Eleni, 10 months

We have had days and days strung together enjoying a pain-free, well-rested baby.  And I say "enjoying" because I mean it.  She has been making frequent eye contact.  She has been vocalizing with an actual, small voice and crying a bit to tell us when she's unhappy or hungry.  She even almost smiled.  When she responded to my voice comforting her and relaxed her stiffening body, I fought back happy tears.  I felt then for the first time that we have a real relationship.

Eleni seems no closer to rolling.  She hasn't smiled and still needs oxygen every day, but... BUT she's a whole new baby.  With improved sleep quality she's able to be fully awake, alert and responsive.  It makes a world of difference.  Her ABM session post-surgery this December was her best experience yet.  We could all tell that she was paying so much attention to her body and to the practitioner.  Eleni was using her eyes to find her therapist again and again, and even making some happy sounds to her (happy sounds are totally a new thing)!  One time I realized Eleni had been awake for 2.5 hours on a ABM therapy day, and she still didn't look tired!  I had to put her to sleep.  Another first!

Eleni, 10 months

So, Happy New Year!  Let's try this whole "I have a baby" thing again.  I believe it's going to be better than the 2015 version.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Learning Curve with the Quick Curve Ruler

Learning Curve with Chic Country pattern

Home from the holidays and ready to sew!  I've been cutting fabric in the nooks and crannies of the past few weeks.  Now I'm set to piece up a pile of blocks!


A few years ago my husband gifted me the Quick Curve Ruler for Christmas.  I was disappointed to find it is a slotted ruler.  My experience had taught me that a rotary cutter easily gets stuck in ruler slots, which nick and dull the blade.  Still, I've been meaning to try it, but didn't feel inspired until I came across this pattern designed for the ruler:


It's called Chic Country and is one of the many patterns designed to work with the Quick Curve Ruler.   Sew Kind of Wonderful, who manufactures the ruler, also publishes a large catalog of patterns that take advantage of the ruler's specific curve.  My thought was to combine Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope collection with other fabrics by the same designer already in my stash, in a very colorful version of the Chic Country quilt.

Fortunately, this ruler is different!  Right from the start I was pleased that my rotary cutter doesn't get stuck, even when using a regular 45 mm blade.  Yay!

Learning Curve with Chic Country pattern

The next hurdle was the pattern itself.  It was more detailed and technical than I was expecting.  Maybe there is too much information presented in a compact format?  I took some time to get to know the pattern and found that there are three different curved pieces to cut to create a Chic Country block.  The ruler is all you need - no other templates required.  However, to make that work, the pattern calls for one to measure and mark points on cut fabric pieces to reference while cutting the curves.  Sounded a bit time consuming.

a new quilt in Katie Jump Rope

Happily I found that I could completely avoid marking by just placing the fabric squares (cut to pattern-specified sizes) on a cutting mat, matching the raw edges of the fabric with the lines of the mat.  In this way I could visually align the ruler with points designated on the pattern, allowing me to cut without marking.  Once I had that figured out, it was a total joy to cut with this ruler.  So much safer and quicker than cutting around paper templates!

Learning Curve with Chic Country pattern

My next learning curve (ha) was squaring up the quarter blocks.  I tried to simplify the pattern's squaring process, but it turned out that the reference measurements called for when trimming are key.  On my first few blocks I squared up making sure that all points were preserved with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Since I didn't use the reference measurements, those blocks have curves that won't quite line up with other blocks when sewn together.  Oops! 

Now I'm following the pattern, and things are lining up pretty well.   Still, you can expect to have some variation in point alignment resulting from the simplified style of curves that can be sewn with this ruler.  It's not an absolutely precise style of cutting and sewing curves.  I think it would suit most quilters, but it's nice to know going in that this ruler is more about ease and speed than accuracy.

Learning Curve with Chic Country pattern

Don't you think it's a beautiful pattern?  I'm very excited to get back to my sewing.  You can find the ruler, Chic Country pattern and several other popular patterns to go with the ruler at one of my sponsor stores, The Loopy Ewe.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Barns and Borders

Christmas crochet

To keep my hands happy during our Christmas getaway, I brought along a few new skeins of yarn and my sunburst squares crochet blanket.  I had joined the squares at the tale end of last winter, then lost the urge to crochet on the brink of a finish.   All year I've been awaiting the wave of yarny inspiration that seems to strike with cold weather.   That and some new skeins of Cascade 220 in natural!  I think the project was meant for this holiday. 

Christmas crochet

Christmas crochet

Over the past few days I've enjoyed the color and touch of vibrant wool yarns from this striking dark peach armchair.   I can't imagine a more picturesque setting.  Lots of light, peace and simple joys with a sweeping view of the mountains just outside our window.

By the way, if you have not yet discovered AirBNB, it's a fantastic way to rent a getaway space at excellent prices direct from home owners.  I've been using it a lot for therapy trips.  Here's a special link with a $20 savings code if you want to try it sometime.  This Christmas we stayed in the bottom floor of a friendly retired couple's home on the border of North Carolina and Tennesee.  It. was. perfect.

Christmas crochet

Here's my border so far.  Do you think it's done?   I'm not sure if I want to add a few more rows of single crochet.

barns in the Blue Ridge Mountains

And speaking of picturesque... oh, the barns in these mountains! I'm absolutely captivated by their artful slanting patterns and dear little windows.  After so many years the boards are gorgeously weathered, some with a sweet mossy green.  If only I had a quilt to photograph!  But, even so, I couldn't resist sharing a few favorites with you. 

 barns in the Blue Ridge Mountains

barns in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Ok, now before I go, there are a few special sales to note.  Connecting Threads has a year-end clearance event (plus save $10 off a $50 order with code "BEMERRY"), Canton Village is clearing things out to prep for a big move and Fat Quarter Shop is offering a special $5 discount on a cottage chic calendar through December 31st with code "COZY2016."  It goes perfectly with barns, haha. 

It will soon be time to sweep away the holiday d├ęcor and tidy our spaces for a fresh new year.   I'm so ready for 2016.   Bring it!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Christmas, 2015

Thank you all for your love and support this year!  This community couldn't mean more to me than it does now. 

We have gotten away into the Blue Ridge Mountains for some nights especially calm and bright.  It is our strategy to embrace different this Christmas! 

Christmas, 2015

I wish you all the very best holiday and a peaceful, hopeful welcome to the New Year.

p.s.  with lots of fabric!


Monday, December 21, 2015

big brother + sister

my children, Dec 2015

Becoming big brother and sister is often a rocky transition, but when baby is so different than what we've all imagined and prepared for, when baby rocks mom and dad's world in a frightening way, it's really too much for any child to handle gracefully.  You've asked how Aria and Liam are doing.  Thank you.  It shows you care about them!  So far I've declined to answer because my first instinct is to protect their privacy.  And yet, my opposing instinct is to portray our reality with candor to help others who might read these posts.  Time has gone by now and things are starting to feel more... well, I won't say "settled", but they are starting to feel more describable.  I think I've found a way that feels right to share.

First, a little history.  When the neonatologist broke the terrible news to us that day, the "severe global brain damage" news, and we were bombed with the reality that this was not going to go away, Brandon wept for all of us, but especially for Aria and Liam.  You see, when Brandon was eight years old, his family was hit by a semi truck that rendered his big brother disabled.  That loss left a huge and decidedly negative mark on his childhood.  His parents are kind and loving people, but it wasn't enough to cover over that loss.  Brandon wept for he knew how Eleni's birth injury would radically change our lives.  Despite the optimistic things people say, based on his experience, my husband didn't anticipate anything positive to come out of this for Aria or Liam. 

How did they respond?  With shock and sadness, initially.  We showed them it was OK to cry.  At the beginning so much about Eleni was unknown.  We could hope that her damage was not as bad as the MRI indicated or that she would have an amazing recovery.  Aria worried, when Eleni didn't open her eyes, that she would be blind.  And I couldn't reassure her.  Liam didn't bring the subject up, I think because he could see how raw I was about it all.

Eleni with her siblings

When Eleni came home they were delighted, and the first few months were pretty good for Aria and Liam.  There was no need to worry them with all the "what if's."  If they asked me about her prognosis, I would answer truthfully about the unknowns while allowing for an optimistic outcome.  Aria was charting Eleni's progress, which wasn't far off a typical child at the beginning, since newborns do so little.  She told me that if Eleni couldn't see she would teach her to knit and crochet and keep busy with her hands.  I know she imagined it could be like Mary and Laura Ingalls.  She talked about how she could help me homeschool her.  I gently mentioned a time or two that Eleni may not be able to learn how to read or do maths.  It was so hard to know what hope to let live at that time.

Everything went south around six months old when it became clear to me that Eleni's deficits are severe and that her recovery may be minimal.  I sank into a depression that I could not and did not attempt to fully hide from my children, who are home with me most of the time because we homeschool.  Meanwhile, Liam was facing a challenging new school year.  He reacted with anger and violence when stressed with his work.  Between Liam's outbursts, my tears and baby's stiffening/panicking fits, our home was truly a miserable place several days a week.  I sort of mired in the mud a bit until Aria broke me out of it with a heartbreaking letter.  We have a notebook we use to communicate about the hard things from time to time. She wrote that our home was no longer a happy place to be, so she wanted to go away to school.  That set me to crying... again, but this time the tears led somewhere.  On the one hand I absolutely understood her desire to escape.  I felt the same way!  But, having it spelled out inspired me to rise up and changed my attitude.  Our home was never going to be a happy place again if I didn't lead the way.

my children, Dec 2015

Since then things have changed quite a lot for the better as far as my attitude and the tone in the house. Gone are Liam's outbursts and Aria's desire to escape.  We've met both children's needs in specific, tangible ways.  Liam started playing trumpet in a school band, where he is flourishing.  We enrolled Aria in a long distance learning program, Oak Meadow, which has been challenging her academically in a way I could not this year.  We also created a private work space for her where she can get away for some quiet study time if need be.  She hasn't been using it much, but at least she knows she's been heard and that her needs truly matter.

I think I'm getting used to Eleni's poor prognosis, but I believe it is just coming into focus for Aria and Liam.  Aria doesn't imagine any longer that Eleni will do school or learn to knit or join her in Tae Kwon Do.  She often comes into the nursery to ask, "How is Eleni doing?"  She craves a positive response, which I'm often unable to give.  On the one hand she chooses to offer to hold Eleni.  She chooses to be a good big sister, to help.  On the other hand holding Eleni is often a scary and stressful experience (even for a grown up), so she gets that trapped look in her eyes after holding her for about 5 minutes.  In those moments I know that Aria comprehends the tragedy that's been dealt our beautiful baby.  The other day it was just the two of us, Aria asking probing questions as she often will.  And I felt it the right moment to tell her that Eleni may not learn to talk.  Little doses of pain.  Little doses of loss.  She is a strong, smart girl with a good heart.  I hope it is not too much for her.

And Liam, he is just starting to grieve.  For most of Eleni's life he has been the one who could enjoy her most.  In his innocence he didn't see her injury so much as the rest of us.  He was able to hold her and smile and coo.  He still does.  But, he's also learned why we are grieving.  He sees it in our friend's baby who can play with toys and crawl and smile.  He doesn't share his grief with me, to protect me, but he shares it with his friends at times.  He loves our baby so very, very much.  I don't want him to know.  I so wish I could protect him from the truth.

Both of the kids starting seeing a children's counselor last week.  It felt like time to encourage them to talk to someone.  I told them they don't have to worry about making Miss Danielle sad.  They can complain to her about how much they miss out already because of Eleni - the cancelled play dates, the distracted mom, the loss of privacy due to in-home nurses and therapists, the homeschool co-op we can no longer join.  I hope they're also able to share their worries and to work towards some kind of wholeness.  Danielle said, at the end of our intake interview, that one of her goals was for the children to be able to look back at this part of their childhood and have positive associations with this time.

For it to be positive for them.  Wow.

I told her if she figures that out to be please let me know, and to be sure to tell my therapist!

my children, Dec 2015

*******

My friend photographed Aria, Liam and Eleni this December before baby's surgery.  I wanted to be sure to capture a nice image of all three of them together, because the future is anything but certain.  I love this photograph because it captures each child's true expression.  You can see the bond that is here despite everything.

And thank you, again, for the love you extend to us.  Please do keep Aria and Liam in your prayers.

xo,

Rachel Hauser


Friday, December 18, 2015

the Sour Pickle

the Sour Pickle quilt

the Sour Pickle quilt

the Sour Pickle quilt

the Sour Pickle quilt

This quilt was cut, sewn and pieced almost entirely while away on therapy trips for baby this fall.  It's only fitting that my mom and I photographed it today, between baby's lessons, in Asheville.  It's made with Rita of Red Pepper Quilt's pickle dish variation pattern.  At first it was the "scrappy pickle" quilt in my mind, being cut entirely from scraps.  It even includes scraps from my friend Stephanie, whom we stay with while in Chicago for therapy.  But somewhere along the way I decided not to fight it... it's the sour pickle quilt, friends.  One can't argue that 2015 has served up some very hard-to-swallow pickles.

And it seems quite fitting to gift it to my mom, who has been there for me through it all, and who doesn't expect me to sugar coat my grief and frustration.  She's always been a fan of scrappy, colorful quilts, so this is the perfect one for her!  I backed it in a Freespirit velveteen to make it as cozy as can be.

 the Sour Pickle 
quilt

Isn't it some kind of magic the way a flimsy quilt top transforms into a cuddly quilt?  I baste mine by first taping the backing to my wood floor.  Then I layer up Warm & Natural batting and my quilt top, sticking all the layers together with 505 adhesive basting spray.   I've been a die-hard fan of this basting spray for YEARS.  Never went back to pins after I tried basting spray the very first time.  No, it doesn't gunk up my machine. Yes, it does get on my floors, but it washes off easily (or just comes off on our socks!).  Totally water soluble.  No stains.  Scentless.  No worries.

 the Sour Pickle quilt

The all-over velveteen backing gives my Sour Pickle quilt an extra weight and a lovely drape.  The weight did make it harder to handle for quilting, but I muscled through a special pattern for my mama.

the Sour Pickle quilt

The pickle dish or birdlike spiky shapes on this quilt form interlocking rings.  I free motion quilted dogwood blossoms around the rings and chrysanthemums in the spaces in between.   And she seems to love it..  Yay!

the Sour Pickle quilt

Wishing everyone a delightful weekend.  Enjoy some creative time!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

jump, jump

a new quilt in Katie Jump Rope

I definitely missed the first time Katie Jump Rope was released.  It was "before my time", actually.  Quilting wasn't even on my radar then!  Over the years I've noticed the vivid fabrics and their happy-go-lucky vibe in other quilters' projects, so when I heard that Denyse Schmidt and FreeSpirit were re-releasing Katie Jump Rope, I decided I would jump on the opportunity (muhahahaha).

These are my picks from the 18 fabrics recently re-released.  I used Ribbon Floral in Eleni's 9 month post because it's my favorite.  But, I'm also a particular fan of the Mums print and of how the collection plays together.

a new quilt in Katie Jump Rope

This week I'm really enjoying cutting into it!  Cutting is one of my favorite things.  I'm starting a new quilt that features the Katie Jump Rope fabrics prominently with support from a rainbow of other Denyse Schmidt fabrics already in my stash.

a new quilt in Katie Jump Rope

And do you know that when I sorted through my stash to find DS prints I was surprised by how many I have?  I think I have more by her than any other designer.  She does have a knack for creating fabrics that work particularly well for patchwork.  I like that they feel vintage-y, but modern all at once.

a new quilt in Katie Jump Rope

I'm cutting with a fancy curved ruler called the Quick Curve Ruler.  I was pretty skeptical at first, but now I'm totally sold.  More on that and the pattern later!

p.s. You can find Katie Jump Rope in stock at these fine fabric shops:  The Intrepid Thread, Fabricworm, Fat Quarter Shop and in Canada at Mad About Patchwork.

Monday, December 14, 2015

announcing Color Intensive + Angled Encores!

I always feel that the new year is the perfect time for a sewing class.  It's natural to step back and evaluate how you've been spending your time.  The wise push towards balance in all things, which may mean carving out more time to invest in that which feeds your soul.  I know that creating fuels mine!

I'm going to start 2016 by encoring two online classes which have never yet been re-released:  Color Intensive and Angled.  Here are all the details for your planning purposes.  Registration for both classes open on January 1st.  I'm giving you the heads up now in case you'll want to direct a little holiday money towards your creative new year!

::Color Intensive::

Do you spend more time than you'd like wrestling with fabric choice?  Does choosing colors for your project slow you down, frustrate you, leave you feeling not quite right?  Or, maybe you quite enjoy choosing colors and fabrics, but you want to grow in your mastery of these skills, opening doors to new creative possibilities?

Welcome to Color Intensive


Color Intensive is a 5-week online workshop specifically for sewists.  Inspiration, theory and practical application will bring your understanding of color and fabric to a whole new level.  This workshop is an experience, not a "do" list.  I want to teach to you see what I see.  The language of color is critical, because what we cannot describe we cannot fully know, recreate and transform.  Above all, I want you to move to a place where color expression in fabric is instinctual and joyful and personally authentic.


Oodalolly quilt finished!

the How

As usual, Color Intensive will be delivered via a private class blog, which you can access on your own time, anywhere and where you can ask questions!  Each week will have a particular theme.  You'll interact with course material via a weekly Color Intensive Mosaic Contest, which will challenge you to put ideas into action with actual fabric, while also learning from each other and from my commentary on mosaic finalists.  And, yes, mosaic winners win fabric!  Each week's Friday Assignment is designed to take you further, with practical application in fabric.

the What

Color Intensive gives you a vocabulary and a toolset to work with color in cloth.  Sewing projects (just 3) are intentionally simple so that you can focus on color, not construction.  But... the class does include one very special, original quilt pattern as a bonus - just because!

Ikat project


I believe that choosing the perfect fabrics is not truly about color theory so much as self-expression. It’s not something you know; it’s something you feel.  Let’s get in touch with those feelings!  We will also cover color theory, classic color schemes, combining colors, use of neutrals and value.  Throughout the course concepts are made tangible via my own sewn examples.

Alongside "lecture" posts on the above themes, Color Intensives includes my Color Catalog.  The Color Catalog is a visual collection of my favorite color schemes, color by color.  In regular installments I'll post photos of delectable fabric groupings with 4 each for every main color:  pink, red, orange, yellow, green, teal, blue and purple.  Anytime you need a quick color pick-me-up or are searching for an idea that includes a particular color, you can refer back to the Color Catalog to jump start your projects!

In Color Intensive we'll always be talking about color in terms of fabric, but the last week of class is specifically dedicated to challenges and choices that emerge when working in cloth.  Learn to create a cohesive group of fabrics for a quilt or other large project.  Work towards a balanced, usable stash!

Fabric Playtime



::Angled::

I LOVE angles, with their movement and personality and endless fascinating combinations.  Getting to know them can be tricky, intimidating even.  But the results are impressive!  And freeing too.  How many gorgeous classic quilts include angles?  So many!  With curiosity, time and much experimenting, I've come to know them well and to also understand how to include them in my quilt designs.  I'm eager to share this with you via Angled at Stitched in Color!

welcome to ::Angled:: at Stitched in Color


This is a class for quilters.  It's for developing quilters, ready to stretch their wings beyond the basics.  It's for more experienced quilters, interested in expressing themselves in original designs or curious about liberated piecing.  It's for all lovers of traditional quilt blocks, young and old.  And I hope it will be for you!

I've designed this a new online course for the confident beginner or intermediate quilter.  Prerequisites are basic cutting and piecing skills, with experience sewing rectangles, squares and rows.  The class has 3 main elements:
  • {Piecing Skills} learn to accurately piece ANY angle, from classics like the diamond to compound angular blocks, and truly any random triangle shape
  • {Design Skills} understand how to incorporate equilateral triangles, diamonds, half square triangles and flying geese into your own, original quilts
  • {Scrappy Skills} enjoy using triangular scraps from our projects in playful, liberated quilt blocks
Indian Blanket for ::Angled:: class

Our journey spans 9 weeks.  I'll be presenting 5 weeks of lessons, alternating each lesson week with a week "off" to give you time to digest the concepts and make sewing progress - 5 weeks of lessons, 4 weeks off.  All instruction is delivered via a separate password protected blog that allows you to access the lessons at your leisure, with posts delivered day to day during instruction weeks.  The private class blog interface remains open 1 month after lessons conclude, during which time I'll be very actively answering your questions.   Before the class blog closes, you'll receive a PDF eBook of the entire course for your permanent reference. 

What's Included?

In Angled our focus narrows to the quilt-making skills of piecing and design.  As such, the class is composed of 5 original quilt patterns and an additional 5 liberated scrap-utilizing blocks.  Each lesson week begins with design/piecing information, followed by an original quilt pattern that uses the week's angle in a creative way.  I'll also point out classic quilts that you can make with your new-found skills.  Each lesson week concludes with a liberated triangle block designed to utilize scraps from cutting that week's angled shapes.

Pyramids project

Take that, triangle scraps!

Let's get practical.  Only a quilting superhero could make 5 quilts in 9 weeks!  Instead of attempting every project, you'll want to identify 1-3 quilts to make during class itself.   Your options are:  Indian Blanket, Emerge, Starbright, Cascade and Tangential.  No matter which ones you choose, read all concept posts to absorb the quilting principles as we go.  And remember, all students receive a pdf eBook of the entire course.  Return to Angled via the eBook to access those other patterns and concepts later on!

Starbright quilt


Good news for hands-on learners!  Tangential is actually a cumulative queen-size quilt, including 4 angles we'll study during class.  Each week you can make an installment in this quilt, while practicing the week's skill.  This is your chance to make a masterpiece for your bed, a fantastic surprise for your parent's anniversary or a very special wedding gift!

Tangential queen-sized quilt for Angled


::Summary::

Registration for both classes is $55 and opens on January 1st.

My classes are chock full with lots of material to make them worth your time and money, so most students are challenged to digest all material.  Fortunately you'll have a permanent copy (eBook PDF) of the class to refer back to as needed.  Camp versions will not be offered this time due to time constraints for baby's care.

Color Intensive (5 week course) runs January 18th through February 19th.  New material is posted day to day in this class, with weekly themes:  Color Emotions, Color Theory, Neutrals, Color Mixing, Working in Cloth.

Angled (9 week course, 5 weeks of instruction) runs January 18th through March 18th.  New material is posted day to day during instruction weeks, which alternate with weeks "off" to work at your stitching.  Weekly themes:  Equilateral Triangles, Diamonds, Mastering Any Angle, Flying Geese, Half Square Triangles.  At the time of registration, students will find complete materials lists for all 5 quilts posted at the class blog.

Questions?  Comments?  I hope you'll be making plans to join in!

choosing a palette


p.s.  If you plan to take Color Intensive, you'll want to have a Kona Color Card (or other solid fabric color card) to use in class like this.  You can purchase one now at Fat Quarter Shop, Fabric Bubb or in Canada at Mad About Patchwork.  Think ahead because these tend to sell out!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pumpkin Spice quilt

I so enjoyed reading your comments and suggestions from my "orange ruined everything" post.  You're right that a warm, plummy purple might have been just the thing, rather than the cool "violet" I was using.  But, oops, that idea came along too late! 

Still, it felt good to get all my negative feelings about the way this project went out of the way, so that I could move on to a finish.  And, I should probably clarify that I don't hate the finished work one little bit.  It's just that the palette got away from me.  It's not what I thought I was making.  Sometimes satisfaction is more about expectations and process than about the finish, you know?

Pumpkin Spice patchwork quilt

Sweeping said expectations aside, the finished quilt is something I can be proud of.  It's a warm, autumnal work with sweet "candied lollies", adorable Cotton & Steel kitties and a hint of midnight navy to ground all that orange.

Pumpkin Spice patchwork quilt

Pumpkin Spice!  The bindings are solid coffee brown, crimson burgundy and paprika rust, all from cutting scraps.

Pumpkin Spice patchwork quilt

I quilted her up with straight lines intersecting each 2.5" finished square with a classic "x".  I enjoy quilting small scale patchwork with an all-over grid because you don't have to mark any lines.  Yep, I'm still a lazy quilter and mostly choose a quilting pattern based on speed and convenience... 

Pumpkin Spice patchwork quilt

On the back, some large pieces of yardage from my stash came together quite nicely. I particularly like that Denyse Schmidt Hadley dot.  It's on the front of the quilt too, so everything ties together nicely.

Pumpkin Spice is a throw quilt now listed in my Etsy shop.  Ok, all you orange lovers.  This one's for you!  Thanks for still reading even after I heartlessly defamed your favorite color earlier this week (wink).

p.s.  Eleni just reached recovery after her double surgeries today.  According to the surgeons, everything went very well. Thank you for your prayers and loving thoughts!  We expect to take her home on Tuesday or Wednesday and hope she find life a little easier on the other side.

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