I have finally finished Jessica's baby quilt. While living in Louisiana, she went with me to pick out some of the fabrics. It was my first trip to Cotton Candy Quilts, a really cute store with high quality quilting fabric, in Bossier. I found a pattern I really liked for the baby quilt, but altered it to make it square and a little bigger. I also had to steal a few fabrics from my mom's stash to have enough different fabrics for the quilt.
To the right is the basic fabric selection for the quilt. I decided on a pinwheel-type pattern, though a different pinwheel style than the quilt I made for Kathi (I always want to try new things), this quilt also had a pieced border. The theme is bugs and bright colors. I can't remember which book I found the pattern in, but I believe "Spring" was in the title of the pattern. I thought it was very fitting for a cute, bright, bug quilt.
Graph paper comes in handy for planning--especially when you have changed the pattern and are no longer following along with the instructions in the book. It is especially handy when you have so many different colors. This is what the planning stage looked like:
As you can see, this quilt took a lot of "putting together," but before you can put a puzzle together, you need the pieces. To the right, you can see the hundreds of rectangles, squares, and strips that were cut out for the pinwheels, borders, and binding. I did a lot of the cutting, but I am slow, and since my mom was helping me she took over for most of it. She's so impatient! I don't mind though ;) After cutting out the pieces, we had to lay them out a bit. This gave us a better visual and we altered a few spots from the original plan I made on the graph paper. The basic layout turned out like the photo below.
I absolutely love bright colors, and thought this quilt looked so fun already! We sewed it together in lines and then had to put the lines together in the right order. Once it was all sewn together, we had to make the quilt sandwich. I want to add that both the previous and next steps are SO much easier when you own a large/cutting table and do not have to keep two dogs and a cat off of your work space. The beautiful quilt sandwich, with borders and backing (and all prepped for quilting):
I was SO happy with how this was turning out at this point. I love bright colors, and I think it looks fantastic. We had to hit the road to head to Florida. During daylight hours when I wasn't the driver on the trip, and while stopped in Memphis, I started working on the hand quilting. I also worked on it while in TLF in Florida. I didn't want to quilt the pinwheels, since A. I wanted to do something new, and B. That's what I did for Kathi's quilt. With TJ's input, I decided to instead quilt the back of the quilt. That gave me a new pattern and something different. At first I wasn't very happy with how it looked on the front, but once it was finished I loved it. It ended up providing a secondary, diagonal pattern on the front of squares. I quilted all of the "large" bug squares on the back. I used a very bright multi-colored variegated thread for the hand quilting, and it happened to be the perfect pattern since each square had all of the colors. I didn't get a good photo of the binding, but I believe I did a better job on it than the previous two quilts. Much more even stitching. For this quilt I did it the same as the last--visible, diagonal stitches on the back. It looked fantastic with the variegated thread. I think on my next quilt I may attempt blind-stitching the binding (the stitch typically "recommended" in quilt books) to see what I like more. I happened to finish this quilt while I had strep throat. So that timing was horrible. I made sure that we were completely in the clear before washing it, and just got around to mailing it last week. Here are a few photos of the finished product:
A little update from the pets:
Bruce says hello and that he LOVES the dog parks here. We go about twice a week right now--mixing it up between the Fort Walton Beach dog park with the dog beach and the Niceville dog park that is much larger and typically busier. He learned from another dog at the park that digging a hole and laying in it when you are tired cools you down. Hopefully he keeps the digging and laying in holes at the dog park and doesn't bring it to our backyard.
Amos and Bruce didn't know what to think of the water on our first trip to the beach. A fellow dog owner was playing fetch with his dog, and Amos decided chasing him into the water was fun. Bruce started barking really angrily and ran back and forth on the beach for a few minutes before realizing that, he too, could go into the water. Once they figured it out we took a video of their first trip to the beach to show everybody how much they love the water. We have taken them now a couple times and they love it so much, don't try to go too far into the water, and they smell great afterwards.
Agent Zero is currently staying with TJ's mom and sisters. We have been living in TLF for a month and they have a strict two-pet policy. We couldn't afford to board any of the pets AND pay for a hotel for the whole month, so we are extremely grateful that we have somebody who can take care of her for a while. I will need to order some food and litter for her soon. She seems to be getting along fine. The plan right now is to have one of us fly back in the summer and drive back with the cat and whoever is coming down to visit us at that time.
Update on our move
We are currently scheduled to close on the house we are buying on Thursday, March 12th. Buying a house is a pretty overwhelming process, especially for first time home buyers, but we are REALLY excited. So far we love Florida, and we can't wait to make it "home." I'll make sure to post photos for everybody once we get moved in. I ordered our change of address cards today, and will be mailing them out over the next two weeks or so. I absolutely cannot WAIT to get out of this tiny hotel room and I also cannot wait to have all my kitchen gadgets. I have missed them.