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Today I am 39 1/2. We're big into fractions at my house. My daughter is currently 4 5/6 and my son is 6 2/3. At what age will they just be a whole number all year!?

Recently, I won a spectacular giveaway from Jamie and Jill of Sunflower Quilts. I had been eyeing their Thread Cutter as I love to chain piece and I think it would be a great tool for the kids to use. (My son is already a fan of chain piecing.) You can see a little video of how it works on Sunflower Quilts. It's super easy to use. My only tip is to make sure to take a couple stitches between each piece to give enough space to easily cut without pulling out any stitches at the edge of your piecing. I've been using it on my current projects, but my kids haven't been in the sewing room lately, so they have not tried it out yet. I'm loving it!

Now, the real reason that I'm telling you all about my prize is that Jaime and Jill were so generous to include a second Thread Cutter for me to give away! So, in celebration of my half birthday, I'd like to give one of you a prize! Please comment below and tell me your favorite sewing tool(s). Followers get a bonus entry. Make a second comment and tell me how you follow me (IG, newsletter, Bloglovin', etc.). I'll ship worldwide. Giveaway ends Monday, April 10th, 10pm PST. Good luck and happy sewing! EDIT: The giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Sarah@123quilt! (Winner chosen by random number generator at random.org)

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This past week my family was in New Mexico for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. My sister and brother-in-law have been a couple times, and it sounded like a great experience. We decided we'd meet there for this year's Fiesta. Bonus! Balloons and baby nephew! Here are a few highlights from the photos I took.

 

Shopping

While I was in town for the Fiesta, I visited Hip Stitch, a lovely quilt shop located conveniently a mile down the street from my hotel. The kids and I had a great time. They each had $10 to spend and were able to spend nearly every penny. They both decided on some hot air balloon fabric. I'm counting on one of them being willing to give me a small piece to make myself a hot air balloon mini quilt to remember the trip, since I didn't seem to win the awesome quilt being raffled off at the Fiesta (see below). They each got yardage of these crazy sushi making cats. No idea what their plans are for that one! My daughter also picked up a little of the Schmitties in dusty blue, from Cotton and Steel's Cat Lady line.

I had no problem finding a lot of fabric I like in the shop, and since we were shopping on my birthday, I got 20% off my entire purchase! What a lovely surprise. My mom had given me some money to spend on my trip and I found the perfect souvenirs, FABRIC! Oh, I also bought a Zirkel. Thanks, Mom! I picked a couple from Tula Pink's Slow and Steady, and a few that will work in my Swoon project, including my first cut of Moda Grunge. I couldn't resist taking the last two yards from the bolt of the rainbow fabric. Never pass up a good rainbow fabric!

Additionally, we did a day trip to Santa Fe. (Non-sewing related side note: If you're ever in Santa Fe, check out Meow Wolf! So much fun!) We stumbled across the Quilt Fiesta, a small quilt show put on by Northern New Mexico Quilt Guild. So I got to do a little more fabric shopping. ;-)

 

Beautiful Quilts

It was such a nice surprise to run across the Quilt Fiesta. Here are a few of my favorite quilts from the show.

Purple Rain by Deb Martinez
Artists' Description: The quilt used up so many of my scraps! The back used even more. Just working through my stash.
Inspiration: Pattern - Patternworks - Japanese Windows

 

Dancing Duo by Donna La Bombard, quilted by Tessa Atwood
Artists' Description: My parents were dancing at my mother's 85th birthday party when I took a photograph. Some of the material in her shirt comes from what she was wearing that day.
Inspiration: Adapted from family photo

 

Under the Sea* by Susan Kayar
Artists' Description: I started with the kit for Underwater Rhapsody by Barbara Jones (AQS) but switched early on to using marine biology textbooks and dive buddies' photos of real fish plus my own fabrics.
Inspiration: Adapted from Underwater Rhapsody by Barbara Jones

*I was unable to get a full shot of the quilt, so this is just the lower half.

 

Nambe Rainbow by Judy Johnson
Artists' Description: I wanted to use my scraps to make a quilt in rainbow colors. I chose a diagonal uneven strip block and an off center barn-raising layout just because I like it.
Inspiration: Original

 

Lone Star by Carol Naranjo, quilted by Millie Young
Artists' Description: My design comes from the Easy Lone Star class taught by Patty Bailey at SFQ in 2014. This is the third quilt I've ever made after learning patchwork and rail fence at SFQ.
Inspiration: class by Patsy Bailey

 

giraffe quilt by Lynne Horpedahl
This quilt was part of a Contemporary Quilting display. I really wanted to take him home with me! :-)

 

Plus, here's the amazing opportunity quilt from the New Mexico Quilters' Association. Some lucky winner got to bring it home from the Balloon Fiesta on Sunday.

 

La Passacaglia

Since I was traveling, I brought along my La Passacaglia project. I need a better storage/travel solution. What do you keep your EPP stuff in? I mostly only worked on it on the airplanes, but I did make some progress and those picky little triangles are growing on me.

 

Improv Curves

I missed my sewing machine while I was away and dove right into my first attempt at improv curves when I got home. I am in love! Here's my first piece.

 

Now that I'm home from vacation, it's time to clean the sewing room and reassess what my priorities are. My Q4 goal post is in draft form, so that'll be up soon. Mostly I'm just overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done around the house as well as all the things sneaking up on my calendar.

Thank you for visiting! I'm linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday and Midweek Makers.

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Another day, another baby quilt. I actually finished both of these quilts on Saturday (never mind that my labels say September... at least it was close). I was able to deliver this one to a sweet baby girl yesterday. And her 4-year-old big brother received Zoom Zoom. Yay for quilt gifts!

Baby Girl has a room decorated in coral, salmon, mint and aqua, with grey accents. That meant shopping for fabric, since these are not colors in my stash (except the aqua, I suppose). I think the backing fabric is perfect and I was happy with what I found to accompany it, though I found the task a bit of a challenge. The background fabric on the front is a digitally printed fabric from Hawthorne Threads. They produce a wide variety of prints in many one-color options. Once I realized they had the right mint green, choosing the hummingbirds was easy. Baby Girl's parents' wedding featured a hummingbird motif, so I knew it was just the right print.

I designed the quilt before I decided on the fabrics. Initially my grey areas were pieced from two rectangles, but when I decided on a two-way directional print for those sections I redesigned it to be pieced from squares in alternating directions.

I chose to quilt with walking foot quilting. I'd planned free motion quilting for every other project at the top of my "to be quilted" list, so I thought I'd change it up with this one. I began by marking a line at a 60 degree angle with blue tape for my first line of quilting. Then I used the guide on my walking foot to make parallel lines with 1 1/2" spacing. I initially planned a second pass in the opposite 60 degree angle to make crosshatch quilting, but I ended up holding after the first pass. Sometimes done is better than perfect... or less detailed, in this case, is better than twice the quilting time. ;-)

I'm uncertain why my stitch length is so irregular with walking foot quilting. Perhaps it has to do with my tension. Thoughts?

I cut into my backing fabric to try it as the feature fabric in the center of the front of the quilt. Then I decided to stick with my initial plan of the poppies. That left me with a backing fabric too small to back the entire quilt. :-/ I decided to piece in my label instead of adding a secondary fabric in the backing. (Name and birthdate removed from the photo.)

Then all that was left was to roll it up and wrap it. I hope Baby Girl loves it. I know her mom does. :-) It was so hard to keep this one a secret. I just knew that if I shared even a glimpse, my friend would recognize her color palette and my surprise would be ruined.

Thank you for visiting!

I'm linking up to the Q3 Finish Along finishes party. See all my Q3 WIPs in my goal post.