Friday, May 21, 2010

start to finish quilt {with two kids}

My sister-in-law gave birth to her second child today, a little baby girl! I let her pick a quilt for the baby out of my stack of completed quilts, and she fell in love with this bird quilt. She asked how in the world do I get so much done with two kids? Well, I kept a journal as I made this quilt and it's pretty darn funny. I actually made the quilt in January and just now got around to moving it from a 'draft' to 'publish'. Someday I am going to look back and love this story, but this is life at my house for the time being. Enjoy!

-pick out fabric at quilt shop. destract kids by having them make a map on some cardboard. cut fabric, rewind 17 bobbins by hand. thanks, moo.
-wash fabric, iron as kids play start/stop with dryer.
-narrow down design inspiration... browse film in the fridge website as kids take turns screaming to sit on my lap.
-clear workspace... clean magic oven, coloring books, and little pet shop accessories off table. give it a good wipe-down from yogurt finger painting episode at breakfast. move all dining room chairs into living room so moo doesn't climb up to the table all day.
-fussy cut birds. stop after 5, make lunch. cut one more. get second serving of pickles for bug, sweep up crackers moo crushed into tile. at least it wasn't carpet... finish cutting birds.
-start cutting fabric with no particular plan in mind.
-begin sewing... readjust all settings... straight stitch, stitch length, tension... looks like i had more help from bug than i thought. okay, really start sewing now.
-warm up iron. press seams open? out? wait, iron is out of water. steal bug's tea party kettle to refill. sneak it back before she realizes it's gone. press seams open.
-lay moo down for a nap. finish one block. stop to help bug do a "ribbon project." scratch that, she doesn't actually want to use her ribbon, just have me watch her hold it.
-sew block #2 while explaining birthdays are once a year on a specific day to bug. we can't just pick a day and make it your birthday, even if you really really want to. agree that we can have valentine's day parties every day.
-bug helps sew 2 more blocks, moo wakes up.
-turn on ni-hao kai lan for a distraction, sew 3 more blocks with various minor interruptions. 6 blocks done! good enough for day one.

-ready to start! wait, clean cheese nips off table. then sweep them off the floor. then vacuum them out of the carpet. bad, bad snack idea. move small ironing board to kitchen counter so they don't play on/off with washer & dryer each time I iron a seam.
-sew 2 seams, break up a fight over 'mine!' continue sewing while moo rearranges our food storage in the lazy susan cupboard.
-distract with graham crackers and frosting for a snack, continue sewing.
-rearrange the couch and love seat to make room for the play kitchen in the living room, continue sewing.
-lunch time! cook noodles while sweeping up graham cracker mess. watch helplessly as moo dumps her noodles out of the bowl and eats off the table. draw the line at eating noodles off the carpet. pick noodles out of the carpet.
-iron seams... resort to turning olivia on the tv... done! 12 blocks completed!
-fold and put away laundry on bed so i can lay blocks out. this method worked a lot better before moo figured out how to climb up onto my bed.
-give moo her milk and lay her down for a nap. have bug help lay a blocks out on floor in living room. rearrange blocks. and again. study... rearrange. take pics. time to label blocks! find sticky notes, pins, and marker.
-out comes moo. single-handedly keep her out of the pins, sharpie, and sticky notes while remembering where the block that she took off with fits. pin labels and gather blocks quickly.
-wait impatiently for hours until hubby comes home to run to quilt store for sashing. we really need to get two cars.
-hubby home! sneak out for white sashing and a few groceries. white sashing? check. groceries? check. kids asleep? check. music to my ears.
- wait impatiently for fabric to go through quick cycle in washer/dryer. finish binding the other quilt i have been putting off.
-listen in fear as i pull the fabric out of the dryer... i hear toddler steps. moo. awake and ready to play! we have to do something about bedtime at this house.
-experiment with sashing while trying to get her back to sleep. fail miserably at getting her back to sleep. slowly finish the sashing on four blocks, give up and call it a night.

-distract kids with breakfast while i set up sewing machine, ironing board, etc. in the middle of the dining room... again.
-sew, sew, sew! making progress! stop to get girls cleaned up and dressed. well, they chose swimsuits. that counts as dressed, right? encourage ballerina tea party. back to sewing. all white sashing done.
-lay blocks out on table to have a visual of how much white border to have on each block. dang, table is not big enough to keep them out of kids reach. gather blocks back from kids. sure glad they are labeled!
-overlap blocks enough to lay out on table with leaf in. sew together in rows. sigh of relief, it's actually starting to look like something. sew rows together.
-done! wow. okay, just done with the top. now i have to think about quilting it.
-send it with mom to hang in her quilt shop while i procrastinate quilting it.

... a week later...

-kids went to bed early! i can quilt it! run to quilt store to get the quilt and pick out backing.
-measure top carefully, cut backing
-get home and realize i didn't measure carefully and i am short four inches on backing. crap.
-rummage through stash to find a solid i can use to piece the back. thank goodness i have a stash of pink!
-cut backing, sew together. listen in horror as BOTH kids wake up and want to be right beside me. seriously? can they not pick another night to wake up?
-hubby to the rescue! enter max & ruby on laptop and both kids in booster chairs at the table. right next to me with no option of pulling on the quilt as i sew. that man is brilliant.
-three episodes of max and ruby later, quilt is done. except for binding. that will have to wait for another day.

-sit down to an episode of Chuck with hubby & stitch it on by hand while the girls rest peacefully in bed.

It was totally worth it. Now mom wants me to make another to hang in the shop since this one has found a good home. Not sure I am ready for that yet...


  1. awesome quilt! and the blow by blow was hilarious! I love Chuck too! the hubby and I watch it together as well. :D

  2. i love you! seriously! the good thing is, with two they can at least entertain each other for a while :-) but i am totally feeling you with the "quick sew one stitch while they are both somewhere else doing nothing bad!" thing!
    and by the way, i am SO glad i'm not the only mother who struggles with bed time!
    i am TOTALLY in love with that quilt, it was an excellent choice for your sister-in-law!