Miss Connections

This quilt has a story.

If you like that sort of thing, grab yourself a cup of tea and I’ll tell you all about it. If not, well, just scroll down through the pictures because this post is going to get a little wordy, but this quilt is definitely worth a look.

Let’s start almost two years ago when my little blog was just months old. Beth of Plum and June contacted me to ask if I’d like to part of the Let’s Get Acquainted New Blogger Blog Hop. I happily agreed and it was a great experience. I got to meet a lot of people who were just starting out on their online creative journey as I was, and I was introduced to a host of new blogs and the people behind them.

A year later, my blog was just over a year old, but since I was still fairly new, I jumped on the New Blogger Blog Hop Train again (I don’t think I can go for 3; I feel like once I’ve had this space for over 2 years, I can’t really call myself “new” anymore!). Another group of great, creative, inspiring people, and another set of new blogs to drool over.

This quilt is called Miss Connections, for Beth. She is Miss Connections because she put in the time and effort to organize and share all those new blogs. It’s like Miss Congeniality, only better, and a lot more work.

Now, we cut away for a moment, from the online side of things and talk about Virginia. Somewhere in our online correspondence, Beth and I discovered that we lived less than 2 hours from one another. A few friends occasionally met at Kim‘s place to sew and play and we loosely called ourselves the Midway Sewing Group since Kim lived midway between the D.C. area and me, in north central Virginia. We invited Beth to join us, but our schedules never lined up, so it never happened. And then I moved to Missouri. I feel like never meeting Beth in real life while we lived so close was a missed connection, and that is the secondary meaning of the name of this quilt.

Toward the end of the most recent edition of the Let’s Get Acquainted New Blogger Blog Hop, Jan at Sew and Sow Farm emailed everyone on the hop and proposed an idea. She thought it would be fun for each of us to make a block and put them together in a quilt as a Thank You to Beth for everything she did to make the blog hop run smoothly. Jan asked if someone take the lead to organize everyone, and volunteered. I felt like bringing us together on this project was a way I connect with Beth since I missed the in-person opportunity.

After considerable online discussion and a poll, we ultimately decided to go completely scrappy and make a “kitchen sink” quilt (from the saying “everything but the kitchen sink”). There’s a lot going on, but it works (the other options, in case you were wondering, were to unify by either color or block style). We felt that this plan would give each blogger the most autonomy and creative control over his/her contribution to the quilt. It really allows you to see the individuality within each block.

I made up a diagram for the quilt to determine how many blocks, and what sizes we needed, and then we each signed up for a block of either 6-, 9-, or 12-inches.

kitchen sink quilt design2.1

This quilt was a joy to put together. It was such an honor to take the creative work of so many individuals and turn it into one cohesive quilt. These blocks came to me from all over the world, and many hands have touched this project. Maybe the quilt, herself, is Miss Connection because she is the literal connection of all those blocks.

Miss Connections - Beth's Thank You Quilt

Here are some closer photos of the section of the quilt. Aren’t the blocks amazing? So much personality!

Miss Connections - Beth's Thank You Quilt

Some of the blocks are an obvious nod to their creator (like the mushroom block from Little Mushroom Cap, the banana from The Crooked Banana, and the diamond gemstone from {no} hats in the house which now available in the Craftsy pattern store) and others are a more subtle connection.

Miss Connections - Beth's Thank You Quilt

And speaking of missed connections, it seems I missed one of the block connections. See where New Zealand connects to the gray diamond dresden? Yeah, well, that whole unit was supposed to be flipped around, and now we have a finished quilt with an upside down New Zealand. I didn’t notice until I was quilting it, and well, by then I decided it was too late.

Miss Connections - Beth's Thank You Quilt Miss Connections - Beth's Thank You Quilt Miss Connections - Beth's Thank You Quilt

I pieced the name of the hop on the back and added the siggy squares everyone had included. (I didn’t realize that In the Boondocks had forgotten to include a signature block, but rest assured, I told Beth that you contributed!)

Miss Connections - Beth's Thank You Quilt

If you are looking for some new creative inspiration, there are some great spaces among these blogs!

Sew Fresh Quilts, Robot Mom Sews, So Sew Green, Kwilty Pleasures, Let’s Begin Sewing, The Sassy Quilter, NW Patchwork, The Rainbow Revolts, RobinSue Quilts, There’s a Thread, A Note to Follow Sew, Quarter Incher, {no} hats in the house, Lovelea Designs, Faffling, Wonderland by Alyce, Quilty Creations, Sew and Sow Farm, Caroline’s Craftiness, Simple Sewendipity, My Quilt Infatuation, Between Quilts, Little and Lots, Sassafras Lane, Hilltop House Creative Works, Chezzetcook Modern Quilts, Studiolo, Sew Sunshine, A Quilter’s Mission, The Crooked Banana, Sewing by Moonlight, Wasn’t Quilt in a Day, Ella and Nesta’s Little Room, Melia Mae Quilting, ayliN-Nilya, Factotem of Arts, Jolie Maxtin, Cloud Coucou Crafts, Kayak Quilting, Wombat Quilts, 13 Spools, Happy Fabric, Little Mushroom Cap, Molli Sparkles, Play Crafts, Owen’s Olivia, Making Happyness, Ella’s Cottage, Little Birdie Quilting, Bead Queene, On the Windy Side, In the Boondocks

Miss Connections - Beth's Thank You Quilt

If you’re wondering if Beth was surprised, you can read about it on her blog.

Miss Connections - Beth's Thank You Quilt

Collaborative work is awesome. If you haven’t worked with someone else on a project, I encourage you to do it. There are plenty of online quilting bees that you can join. Quilting is creative endeavor that is done mostly solo, and including the work of others with the same passion in a single quilt really strengthens your sense of community. I can now say I worked on a project with each of the talented people above, and I am so pleased I was able to help with this project to thank my friend Beth for all the hard work she did to bring us together.

Giraffeliqué mei tai

What, you may ask, is a giraffeliqué??  And my answer is this:

Giraffe.  Appliqué.  Get it?

This cute little guy resides on the sleeping hood of a mei tai, requested by my friend Hilary.  The main print is Michael Miller giraffe garden gray and the sleeping hood and reverse of the carrier are a white with little silver pinstripes.  The silver pinstripes look great with the gray canvas I used for the straps of this carrier.

I’m a little bit in love with this little giraffe, peeking up over the waist band.

Here is a better view of the Michael Miller Giraffe Garden print.

The body of the carrier has a double layer of top stitching and coordinates nicely with both the strap fabric and the pinstripes.  If you look closely, you can see the silver pinstripes are metallic and result in just a tiny bit of sparkle.

Hilary and her husband thought that all the bright colors in the giraffe print would be balanced nicely by solid white and I suggested they take a look at this pinstripe fabric, which they eventually selected.  It works well on the sleeping hood and gives a slightly more formal option for carrying a little one than those darling giraffes if the situation requires.


Whooo’s mei tai is this?

It’s Alisha!  And Shimon!  And baby Touma!  This one is going all the way to Japan.

(Read on to learn all about how I am crazy.)

Alisha picked this owl print from the company Kokka, which is based in Japan.  This is hilarious to me because for me to buy this fabric, it’s a Japanese import and costs import prices, but Alisha could probably just walk in to a shop and find it locally (I don’t know if they sell the same lines in Japan as they do in the U.S., though).  Alisha is so entrenched in the Japanese culture, even Japanese fabrics call to her!

Once I had the fabric in hand, I went wandering through the fabric store with a piece in hand and found this stripe that seemed to be made to go with the owls.  So, it’s blue and green stripes on the reverse side.

I used the same chocolate brown organic canvas on this one that I used for Liz and Jeff’s mei tai.  It’s pretty stiff right now, but will get floppier with use.

Here are those cute little owls on the print.  Remember how I said this fabric is more expensive than what I typically spend?  Yeah, so I only bought a half yard instead of my usual yard, thinking if I lined it up just right I could make it work.  Well.  The fabric was not cut exactly straight and the print has a fairly large repeat (the space before the pattern repeat itself) and I ended up being literally 1/2-inch short of what I needed.  I had plenty of fabric, but not if I wanted the pattern on the hood to line up with the pattern on the body.  And I did.  In some areas, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.  This is one of them.  I wouldn’t be satisfied unless those owl bodies intersected just in exactly the right place.  And now, I’ve revealed that I’m crazy.  But I ended up buying a second 1/2 yard (which I guess I just should have done in the first place) and look how nicely they line up!

Coming your way, soon, ‘lish!

One thing, one week challenge 9: finish for Zoe

Phew!  This project has been hanging around for way, way, way too long.  I’ve been working on it little by little and it was my goal last week for Amy’s one thing, one week challenge.

Amy's Creative Side

And guess what?  Success!

The baby for whom this carrier is intended was born way, way back in September and (I just checked my email records) her mama sent me her final fabric choice on September 24th.  Of course, I still had to order the fabric, but let’s just say that I’ve had it since the first week of October.  A mei tai takes me about 5 hours of working time to complete, and it just seems that it took me 3 months to find that five hours this time.  I’m so happy that it’s finished and I love the way it turned out!

The fabric is Tina Givens Opal Owl and I’m really pleased with the cutting layout.  I was able to get one of the scenes from the fabric centered *just so* on the hood as well as having it match up perfectly with the print on the body of the carrier below it.

The back is “more manly” for daddy to wear and features a Hoffman batik that I’ve used before.  The straps on this carrier are chocolate colored organic cotton canvas.  (side note for Liz: they’re pretty stiff right now, but like your favorite jeans, they’ll soften up the more you use the carrier.  Throw it in the wash; that helps too.)

After Liz and Jeff’s first daughter was born, they were the recipients of one of the first mei tais I ever made.  It was good, and they liked it, but I’ve improved my design quite a bit since then.  I now make my carriers with a padded waist, which gives it a bit more structure and makes it a little more comfortable as baby gets bigger.  There’s also a sleeping hood, great for when baby falls asleep on your back and it prevents that little head from lolling about.  This carrier also has a little pocket at the end of the shoulder straps which is great for stashing small essentials if you don’t want to carry a bag.

This will be coming your way this week, Liz, so be on the look out!