Science Fair Quilt

Science Fair

Hooray! My first finish of 2017! This quilt has been sitting on my bucket list for over 2 years and has been a WIP for just as long. Despite the wind the sun made a rare appearance and we got all of our pictures done.

Science Fair is a pattern designed by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. Julie is well known for her geometrically inspired designs and her clever quilt rulers. Without her Hex n’ More ruler this pattern would have been darn near impossible to make without alot of beer and cursing.

I specifically picked this pattern because my sister Sarah, who I made this for, and her husband are both chemistry and math geeks. Anyone who knows my undying hatred of math (except algebra, you’re cool) should know that this quilt was finished by sheer willpower and the love I have for my youngest sibling.

Science Fair Quilt 2017

Science Fair Quilt 2017

Science Fair Quilt 2017

Science Fair Quilt 2017

It’s always good to have a tall person handy for a quilt shoot.

Happy sewing!

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Hello

I’ve been horribly silent these last few months for lot of different reasons, but I FINALLY have my own laptop and technical difficulties aside can finally blog on my own schedule.  No more hurried posts between preschool drop offs and nap time antics!

I will also say that 2016 was surprisingly stressful and not super fun. There were alot of ups and downs and not so much middle ground.  SO here’s to making 2017 WAY better than last year.  I think I got off to a great start by managing to freshen up my knitting skills and get over 6 Pussyhats knitted just in time for the D.C. Women’s March.

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The Olde Towne Quilt

Starting a

As running season slows and things become less hectic I’ve started work on an overdue present. In between my Birchen Quilt and some smaller side projects I unearthed from my stash the Olde Towne pattern.  It’s still new-ish and the fabric, Sturbridge by Moda, is still widely available in stores and online.

Every now and then I’ll dive back into one of my original favorite quilt motifs, primitives. There’s something earthy about the look of a “prim” quilt. The fabrics tend to be darker, more monotone but no less rich and spectacular. I also like that most primitive quilts are simple in design.

This pattern is a good sized wall hanging with a decent amount of challenge. Several intersections have proven to be quite difficult to match on top of making sure each point is centered with the one in the previous row.

So many tiny squares to triangles. I predict lots of squaring up in the next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been alot of marking.  I’d much prefer sewing half square triangles in a traditional fashion compared to sewing on corners.  There is definitely a finesse to sewing just slightly to the other side of the marked line for a perfect matching triangle once they have been pressed up and back. Squaring them up has also been a challenge.  But nothing in quilting is ever exact and I certainly try not to focus overly much on the small off centered seams that can not be avoided once in a while.

To infinity and beyond! *chain piecing has its perks, but can get boring fast* #quiltersofinstagram #chainpiecing #arewedoneyet #showmethemoda

But I’ll be honest. Off centered seams grate on my aesthetics and overall sense of, WHY IS THIS NOT MATCHING PERFECTLY!!!!!!  It’s a vice.

Honestly, work to the best of your ability.  Rip out those seams if you have to and sew them back. When I find myself consumed with the tiny details I step back and look at the overall picture….and have a beer if I’ve remembered to stock up from my last grocery run.

But perfectionism is for the birds. And things, even in Nature, are rarely perfect.

Focus on the bigger picture when you need to re-center. And have a beer and maybe some leftover Halloween candy.  Then come back to it and soldier on.

How did I ever live without a design board? #showmethemoda #primitivequilts #primitive #modafabrics

Aftermath: Columbus Half Marathon 2016

Done with a time 2:43:21. PR'd by 20 minutes from my last half a year ago. Hooray progress, hooray beer and hooray for the running season finally winding down. #cbusmarathon #runnergirl

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I completed my second half marathon and it was a totally different experience from running my first half in fall of 2015.  But before I delve into that the awesome news is I ran a 20 minute PR over the AF Half!! Finishing at 2:43:21 was crazy.  If you read my last post you’ll know that I was aiming for 2:30:00, but it wasn’t to be and that’s okay because it’s still a huge accomplishment! For only being a casual runner who only follows a few basic training rules (wear good shoes, sleep, stretch and don’t starve yourself), it’s phenomenal to see that I really DID physically improve in the last year.  My training actually paid off despite a busy year.  I’m not even disappointed I missed my goal time.  It means I have another year to work and train and earn another chance to PR.

Columbus Half 2016

Obviously I had to ring the PR GONG.  What you don’t know is that that finisher medal weighed almost 3 pounds and was making my neck stiff AND my quads were cramping pretty badly. That silly face is really partial grimace because the hubster was taking way too long to take the picture.

Why was this Half different? Well for starters I had to drive an hour to Columbus and stay overnight at my brother’s house who was still a 30 minute drive from downtown where the starting line was.  That’s not counting having to drive into downtown to grab my race packet the day before and fighting traffic in, out and all around the convention center.  But I will say that because this race is put on annually by Nationwide Children’s Hospital the expo AND the race were both very family friendly and as accommodating as possible. It made the whole event feel all inclusive.

Race day started early for me, like 4am early.  I got to my parking garage at 6am after a 45 minute drive from my brother’s house to downtown and then weaving my way purely by instinct, because Google Maps wigged out on me, around closed roads and one way streets. It was not a good kind of stress to have an hour and a half before start time.  Then I had to pack my hydration belt I decided to wear at the last minute, pin my bib on, do some meditative breathing to calm my burbling stomach and walk my way to the gear check (unknown to me I’d left my dome light on! Fortunately, my battery didn’t drain in the 5 hrs I was away, how crazy is that?).

The race for me didn’t start right at 7:30am because I was in the last corral. I crossed the mat at 7:45am and off I went.  The spectators were great and it was INCREDIBLE having strangers cheering you on for 100% of the race.  It was uplifting and fun.  I high fived as many of the Kid Patient Champions as I could (kids who are fighting illnesses and are representing strength and encouragement for every child out there).  The signs were amazing, “If Trump can run, so can you!”, “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear!”, “Hurry up! Our Catan game is on hold because of you!”, etc.  The weather, a warm 70 degrees, was buffered by a nice wind.

It was a good course with lots to look at and challenging enough to keep you on your toes trying to avoid the road camber or surprise pothole.

My knees got tight due to my quads getting tired at mile 11, but I ran through it and kept pushing only stopping a handful of times to walk out the strain. When I crossed the finish line I didn’t realize I’d set a 20 min PR.  I saw my Garmin and though ok that’s MY time, but what’s the official time? Much to my amazement once I found the Husband and Wee Beastie he told me.

I cried a little, more from relief that it was over and I had managed to pull a good time for myself.  I ran the best I could that Sunday and it paid off.

Every now and then when I find myself thinking about how much something sucks, how I really hate running, or about the general crud that life throws out, I remind myself how awful that first mile I had run in 20 years felt then I look at myself now. I’ll always hate that first mile, but now I can get over it.

Remember to look back to see how far you’ve come.

Ready. Trying to find my zen. Let's hope traffic is smooth tomorrow morning for my 2nd half marathon. #cbusmarathon #halfmarathon #brooksrunning

Half Marathon Butterflies

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October is flying by so let’s take a moment of zen to appreciate this Monarch.

Inner peace……….inner peace……inner peace……..

Let’s also appreciate the fact that butterflies are also taking up residence in my stomach as race day for the Columbus Marathon is 4 days away.  It’s pretty typical for me to get anxiety and think my training isn’t enough and I’ll totally fall apart mid-race.  But the fact is I’m already better than I was last year at my last half. I’ve seen and felt my own improvement and it’s amazing to think of what I’m once again going to accomplish.  If the weather doesn’t totally crap out on us (as of today there’s a 90% chance of rain/thunderstorms and breezy 12-17mph winds) then I’m all set to land a crazy PR.

I will not worry about my shoes being at the end of their mileage, I will not worry about the forecast, but will embrace the insanity that may be. I will arrive early and be excited.  I will find a port-o-potty well before the gun time.  I will encourage as many nervous runners as I can and I will cry all the tears if I hit my goal time of 2:30:00.

So while I feel like falling to pieces inside at the moment the practical side of my brain is telling me I will definitely kick ass.

I may just attach those butterflies to my shoes and put them to work.

Keep an eye out on my Instagram (@thelittleredthread) to see any race day shenanigans!

Scaling Up & Moving On

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I always joke that with each quilt I make I learn something new.  I have yet to not learn a lesson, a skill or otherwise handy piece of knowledge that can only come from making mistakes and then figuring out how to fix them.

I have little to no experience when it comes to using large scale prints.  I tend to stick to the safe and narrow land of small scale prints or solids.  Boring but like I said, safe.  I’ve been steadily gaining ground on The Birchen Quilt over the last few weeks up until last night when, at long last, I had all my blocks sewn, pressed and ready to layout…..

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(forgive the picture it was a quick Instagram snap and I couldn’t even fit the entire layout on my wall)

What I saw made me cringe a bit inside.  The fabric I’d fallen in love with was overwhelming a very cool pattern. I mean the prints were just beating the pattern into submission and it was not pretty.  A few choice phrases, some distracted sewing and an hour later I regrouped my ravaged pride and decided that I only had two choices.

  1. I could leave it as is and love the craziness that is MY quilt and my fabric choice. This is the first quilt I’ve ever made for myself.
  2. I could rip out the seams of all the Elizabeth bust triangles and find a less glaring print for those 8 blocks *cry*.

But I am SO.TORN.

I mean I am seriously bummed out.  Those blocks are not small (19″ x 19″ as pictured). I love every piece of fabric I picked out and I have sewn over 300 half square triangles and squared them up.  This quilt top has so much work put into it, but it is definitely not what I had in mind and that is very depressing.

I am determined to make this pattern work so for now I’m putting this quilt on hold, stacking up my beautiful blocks and diving into another project while I mull over my two options.

Lesson learned: The scale of your prints is just as important as the color palette.

Summer’s End

I am always eternally grateful when we pass mid-August as things can finally slow down enough for me to re-group and regain my sanity.  It’s only ever been like this since Fi came into our lives and all of my friends and family started having kids.  Summers are just B-U-S-Y. It seems like there is simply no time to be still.  But I have managed to make progress in very small doses.  I even sent off a quilt to be quilted and it should be arriving back home in another week or so.

Follow my Instagram (@thelittleredthread) to see more Birchen Quilt progress and other daily life fun!

I can see the tail end of summer now and I’m chomping at the bit for the cooler weather to arrive and the humidity to abate.  I’ve been continuing to run when the weather allows while trying ignore the fact that I only have 2 more months before my next Half Marathon.

And in between all this the Wee Beastie turned 4 years old.

We went to the Dayton Celtic Festival, the Dublin Irish Festival (pictures of the Wishing Tree from DIF…so many feelings reading all the wishes.)
The Wishing Tree is one of the most sobering, joyful and emotional exhibits that you will ever experience at the Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, OH. @dublinirishfestival #beinghuman #weallwantlove 20160806_194413

There was the Lego Brick Universe exhibit and what seemed like a billion other tiny events in between.

I’ve also been helping out on a friend’s farm once a week since the end of July. We just crated 100 chickens last week for processing.  It was quite an event for two women and with the summer heat no creature was happy.  Free range chickens are very crafty birds.  Good food means hard work.

Now our yearly trip to the Renaissance Festival is looming and once more Fiona will need a new costume.  Going back to the basics though and hoping that leaving a generous hem at the bottom will let me get an extra year of wear out of it.  We’re going on Pirates weekend with some of our good friends and as long as it doesn’t rain I know it’ll be a blast!