Spring Fever

My oh my, I have a huge case of spring fever! The weather has been so nice in the northeast that I am having a seriously hard time “adulting”. Work hard play hard they say? Beautiful days means quilting has been put somewhat on the back burner, but it’s still happening…slowly!

I just realized I haven’t told you about Third Thursday Thread Sisters (TTTS) on the blog, only on Instagram. Well, I was invited to join an exclusive group my momma is a part of, TTTS, which is a small group of ladies (primarily in the midwest) who take turns choosing a small quilt every month. This year, we are working through “A Prairie Journey” by Kathleen Tracy. Seeing others’ work and motivation is inspiring, and it’s so fun to see the different variations of quilts created from the same patterns. Here is my progress thus far:

Aside from quilting, my weekends have been spent outside: hiking, camping, and kayaking. Pure bliss!

Six More Weeks of Winter

Six more weeks of Winter, yet I was blessed to spend Valentine’s Day outfitting kayaks, on the water, and with good company! My friend Lindsay has graciously let me borrow her Mamba every time we’ve been out, and now we have twin boats! We bundled up and froze slightly, but had a great host (thanks, Cody!). Warmer weather can’t come fast enough; I’m ready to get on the river, learn more, and get to know this new-to-me boat!

It was nice to finally get out for a bit! We’ve had some cold weather lately, and I’ve been reading under a heated blanket or quilting with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. I hope you are staying warm, or fully embracing the cold weather as well!

The week before Valentine’s Day, I decided to get in the spirit with @suznquiltsBitsy Hearts pattern. Bitsy Hearts is such a cute small quilt, and the perfect project if you are looking for a small gift to complete in a day. My finished Bitsy Hearts top, originally posted on @rendandsew, is below. I’m still deciding if I want to turn it into a pillow or wall hanging. What do you think?

2021 UFO Challenge

My oh my, 2021 is moving full speed ahead. I decided to join the All People Quilt’s 2021 UFO Challenge this year, and am off to a good start! My local quilt shop is also doing a similar challenge, Spring Water Designs, so I put two projects to complete next to each of the 12 numbers on my list. It’s going to be a busy year! Is anyone else participating in a 2021 UFO Challenge? If you would like to see my progress, follow along on Instagram, @rendandsew.

In some non-quilting news, this weekend we finally got snow in the DC metro area! I spent the time curled up under quilts finishing This Is All I Got: A New Mother’s Search for Home by Lauren Sandler. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend doing so. The book is written by a journalist who reports on the life of a young homeless Latina single mother attempting to navigate through New York City’s red-tape stricken assistance programs, while balancing poverty, school, and relationships. This Is All I Got: A New Mother’s Search for Home highlights the story of a young women who faces continuous disappointment, but is determined to create the best life she can for her son. The facts intertwined in the pages of this book prove an abundance of systematic failures in the need for change, and it’s important to note that this is just one case of sixty thousand people sleeping in New York City-run shelters every night and one case of the 2.5 million infants in the United States on the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program. If you have any non-fiction book recommendations, please let me know! For now, I’ll continue to search the New York Time’s Best Seller list each month.

*Editing this post, as a Facebook friend just shared with me that there is a Girl Scout Troop specifically designed to serve girls in the New York City Shelter System, Troop 6000. I donated to them this morning (as well as a couple boxes of cookies to New York City Food Banks), and you can too by visiting their website.

Tea Dying: American Patriot Cross-stitch

I finally finished the “American Patriot” cross-stitch by Dimensions this month, right on-time to gift to my grandpa and grandma for Christmas!

It is a beautiful pattern, but uninspired by the bright colors, it took me a few years to complete. I prefer deeper reds, neutrals, and blues in my patriotic projects, so I decided to nervously test out tea dying for the very first time.

First, I ironed the cross-stitch and stay stitched the edges. Then I steeped three (3) Lipton black tea bags in three (3) cups of water. Next, I placed the cross-stitch in a pan and poured the tea over the project. I let it sit in the mixture for 1.5 hours, took it out of the pan, and then let it dry.

Here is the result:

What do you think? I love it! I decided to turn the cross-stitch into a pillow, complete with an 1 1/2 inch border and hand binding.

Decorative pillows make such great gifts, and the tea dying method is something I will definitely be using again. Please let me know if you have any tips to share for the next attempt. I hear coffee may even make the color richer and deeper!

Shenandoah National Park

My favorite season has arrived, and I am embracing these crisp mornings with local hikes, occasional jogs, and good books. The amount of things I can get done before noon on an Autumn weekend is so refreshing. It’s been a busy few weeks — my parents were in town, and my heart is still so full!

I recently camped at Shenandoah National Park (on a whim / holiday weekend), and…it rained for a good 48+ hours. While the weather put hiking (somewhat) to a halt, it provided the perfect opportunity to read, stitch, and stay dry cuddled up in the tent! I even finished Buttermilk Basin’s [Nov] Chalk It Up! Monthly Series, tweaking the pattern slightly to allow the finished product to fit perfectly on a hand towel from my “local” wool shop, Primitive Homespuns Wool and Needleworks. If you are ever near Frederick, MD, you must visit this shop! The owner is so sweet, the wool is beautiful, and her prices are great.

November’s addition of the Chalk It Up! series is the perfect edition to my living room this season! Stacy West’s patterns, fabrics, and wools are so lovely, and she also runs a Facebook page filled with a wealth of information, inspiration, and giveaways!

While the views were absolutely beautiful, I highly recommend not going to Shenandoah National Park on a whim / holiday weekend during leaf peeper season. We were very lucky to receive campsites through Big Meadows’ waitlists.

Apparently, during the month of October, campsite reservations are booked 6+ months in advance; thank God for rain and patience. Productivity wise, this trip to Shenandoah was probably the best one yet: finished a hand towel, read half a book, hiked trails (managed to double the milage on a hike + gash my shin), and made s’mores. What more could I ask for? Oh, maybe…another road trip to Shenandoah next weekend to view more red leaves!

Summer Days

Thank God for the start to a new week! I just finished trimming up all the blocks for Circle of Friends: A Sampler Quilt by Lori Smith (From My Heart to Your Hands). I cannot wait to show you the completed quilt top! There is a sneak peak of a few of the blocks on Instagram. Last week was filled with working, hiking, and sewing. I am trying to get outdoors as much as possible before the summer ends, which has put my #50DaysofHandStitching on hold a bit. I’ll be back to it soon though.

I started pattern testing for Katherine at It’s Only Fabric and Thread. She is releasing her first pattern late September titled Jupiter Awakening. I chose to truly embrace the theme/title, and use photographs of Jupiter to inspire the color choices for this quilt. Stay tuned for her pattern release (the finished quilt top is featured on Instagram).

Speaking of pattern testing, I tried out my version of a Pocket Prayer Quilt. I used Shabby Fabrics’ free Pocket Prayer Quilt instructions for guidance and took inspiration from the Friendship Cross-X block. What do you think? I love the pattern, but now I’m trying to decide if I should quilt and/or tie it (and where).

For the next couple of weeks I have hopes of completing my Circle of Friends quilt top, finishing the binding of some UFOs, starting hexies for a swap, and making pocket pray quilts for family and friends.

Hand Stitching Challenge

Wow! Thanks to Jeana Kimball’s Instagram challenge of hand stitching or hand quilting, I have been more productive in the last five days than I have been the last couple months. Thus far, I have: finished my wool appliqué blocks for From My Heart to Your Hands’ Circle of Friends quilt by Lori Smith; binded some mug rugs for gifts; started hand quilting Pam Buda’s sew-a-long, Safe Keeping; and worked on some hexies for an American Flag quilt (speaking of hexies, Spring Daisy Stitcher is holding a Hexie Swap. You can sign-up here, but today is the deadline to do so).

As unpredictable as this year has been, the days continue to fly by. I finally finished Educated by Tara Westover. While the story she tells is intriguing, I struggled finding the writing style appealing (this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened too). If you have any non-fiction (memoir or religion) books you would like to recommend, I would appreciate it!

If I’m not working, reading, or quilting, I’ve been enjoying hiking at Patapsco Valley State Park. I spent over 13 miles in the woods this weekend; just look at God’s artwork we found! Does anyone know what these are? I’ve been itching to travel, so hiking at my local state park fills a bit of the void — until we find our new normal.

My (two) Pride and Joy

Pictured above is Chance, my pride and joy pup who has been by my side for the past four years, and my proudest quilt, the Circa 1880 Nine Patch, designed by Pam Buda.

In 2019, I decided to make this quilt on a whim — new to the community around me, I walked into my local quilt shop, and the ladies at Spring Water Designs had me sold on Reproduction Club which happened to be participating in Pam Buda’s Circa 1880 Club. And, I am so glad I did! I met and learned from such a wonderful group of women, and we are at it again this year, working on From My Heart to Your Hands’ Circle of Friends quilt by Lori Smith.

Isn’t the Circa 1880 Nine Patch so beautiful?! It’s the largest quilt in the Circa 1880 Club, but six other small quilts are included. Last month, I shared one of the six small quilts, June. My favorite part about all of the Circa 1880 patterns: you can use (and share) a ton of civil war reproduction fabric scraps!

While I may have been a bit absent from the blog this month, I have still been working away! I finished Kim Diehl’s Liberty Star and Pam Buda’s Antebellum quilts. They are absolutely gorgeous — but I am definitely partial to patriotic quilts, and not to mention Independence Day is my favorite holiday!

I hope you all are staying safe, and taking the time to do things you truly care about. For more inspiration, follow me along on Instagram, @rendandsew.

Happy National Sewing Machine Day! + Antebellum – Part Three

I hope your weekend is off to a great start! Did you know that today is National Sewing Machine Day? I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share with you my version of Suzn Quilts’ 1-A-Day 3” block sew-along, Quarantiny.

Each day, between March 25th and May 4th, Susan posted instructions on her blog for a new 3” block. I enjoyed making my block while sipping on coffee each morning. It was also fun to follow along with the Sewing With Susan, a Facebook group filled with lots of inspiration and supportive quilters!

I think Susan provided instructions for making 42 different blocks, and setting patterns for 20, 48, 84, and 128 blocks. I decided to wander from the pattern a bit, and added two blocks of my own. Can you spot them?

-Fabric: Civil War Reproductions
-Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 WT
-Quilting Thread: Glide’s Storm
-Longarm Pantograph: Simple Quilting Stitches’ Fleur de Lis
-Finished Size: 24.5” x 21.5”

Quarantiny was such a great sampler. It encouraged me to make blocks I would have not otherwise made, and it was something to look forward to every morning while quarantining! If you would like to make a version of Quarantiny, the instructions are still available on Susan’s blog.

Sew-Along Saturday: Antebellum – Part Three

Because I sewed my red and white half square triangle border on last week in Antebellum – Part Two, there was little left to do for Pam Buda’s Antebellum – Part Three. I added the borders on this morning, and decided to use another red fabric. Only one more week of the sew along; I am excited to see the final product!

Antebellum Progress

Yesterday morning Pam Buda posted the instructions for Part Two of Antebellum on her blog, Heartspun Quilts. Twenty-four half square triangles made for an easy assignment this week. To make the half square triangles, I pieced together red squares from the scrap basket and cream squares from Pam Buda’s Mrs. Miller’s Apprentice collection.

I drew a diagonal line down the back side center of the cream blocks with a Fine Point Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pen, put one red and one cream block facing each other, sewed a quarter inch seam down each side of diagonal line with the red and cream fabric facing each other, cut on the diagonal line, ironed, and then ensured the blocks were trimmed up evenly with the Half Square Triangle Bloc Loc Ruler.

I may have gotten a little ahead of the game, but I sewed the half square triangles to my LeMoyne Star Block from Part One of the Antebellum Sew Along. Piecing together twenty-four half square triangles was just not enough work for the week, and I am looking forward to next week’s instructions already!

It has been such a beautiful weekend thus far – high eighties and sunny! My sister and I journeyed around town this morning, stopping by a Farmer’s Market and local boutiques. I am looking forward to a quiet, relaxing Sunday. I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!