Another Quilting Post

I have made more progress on my quilt, and have been thinking about how I want to do the actual quilting. I am now up to 5 completed vertical rows, and have the sixth planned out and pinned together. And my back/pelvis/everything is suffering for it. I look forward to non-pregnant quilting, I am sure the consequences will be much less painful. Of course today I can’t solely blame quilting, because we also spent the day putting up a wall decal in the baby’s room and that meant being on my feet and a lot of bending and moving. At least I hope this pain is just from quilting… I don’t want this to be the new normal!

So, I was watching a few beginner quilting videos on Youtube today, trying to figure out if I want to attempt a new (for me) quilting technique… and Sean has been badgering me to tell him what I wanted for my birthday (I honestly couldn’t think of anything). One video recommended getting a table extension for the sewing machine, which is something I wanted, but didn’t think they made my for machine. Sean was sitting with me watching videos on his own laptop, and at his prompting I did a quick search, then called Bernina to inquire… they have ordered one for me and the birthday present dilemma is solved!

The table is going to be helpful in maneuvering the quilts. The bigger they get, the harder it is to shuffle everything around. It is also going to be very helpful when I start on the actual quilting. I had been thinking I would just do another easy straight stitch (aka “stitch in the ditch” – stitching over existing seams) on this quilt, but I am starting to have braver thoughts about doing some free motion quilting and make some meandering stipple stitches across the quilt. Of course, I will practice on some scrap first to see if I should attempt it on an actual quilt… it is still pretty intimidating, and takes a lot of practice.

I snapped a somewhat better photo than the previous one, it will be the last until I have it at least completely pieced together… no point in constantly posting photos of a growing lattice of fabric, they would all pretty much look the same and there is no way I can get the whole thing in one photo easily.

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Quilt Tour & Lattice Update

Today I stopped by Wish Upon A Quilt on my way home to take advantage of a sale. Today was the kick off for “passport” purchasing for the Quilt Tour, and all participating stores had sales. Wish’s sale was 20% off three or more items. Bernina had a 20% off all fabric, but I decided to go by Wish instead because I needed more of a fabric I had purchased there before. I am actually starting to like Wish more than Bernina. I love Ursula at Bernina and how their fabric is arranged, but Wish has many more packs of precuts and other fun things that give me ideas on what to make next.

I am looking forward to the Quilt Tour, it will be a good way to check out new shops I never knew about. Of course, by then we will have a one month old baby… so hopefully by then I will have mastered the art of packing the kid up and venturing out on my own. Since I will be on maternity leave, there probably won’t be much room in the budget (or any) for purchases, but it will still be good to see all the stores and get ideas for future projects. Buying the passport also means I will be entered in drawings for door prizes at the shops I visit, and each shop included a free pattern with the passport. Not all of the patterns are something I would make, but there were some that I liked.

I may have gotten a little carried away at Wish. I went with the intention of getting what I need to finish my lattice quilt: fabric for the back, more black fabric (I’m a bit short for the binding due to a pregnancy brain mistake) and batting. I ended up getting those three things and several others, including a new pattern, a jelly roll for that pattern, a quilt kit (pattern plus front fabric), and some odds and ends like binding safety pins. When I came home I told Sean I didn’t need a birthday present because I was pretty sure I had just bought my own. Quilting can be expensive! Needless to say, I should be busy for a while with quilting projects, especially considering I haven’t even started on the burp cloths and changing pads I bought material for last week.

The lattice quilt is progressing nicely, and is larger than I had thought a lap quilt would be. The thing is the same length as our kitchen table (seats 6). I have all the “units” I mentioned in previous posts assembled, and have spent the past couple nights piecing it together. I have completed the first two vertical rows and have several more left to go. I am not sure how fast I will make progress on it, I have made it this far mostly out of stubbornness. By the end of the last two nights my back has been killing me. Tonight I nearly called it quits, but kept going because I really wanted to complete the second row. I think when I am done with this one, the changing pads and burp cloths will be next just because they should be quick and simple… my back can’t take another quilt until after the baby is born, and at that point it depends on how life with an infant goes.

Here is a quick photo I snapped of part of the quilt. I didn’t bother trying to get the whole thing in the picture.

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Week 36

We have made it to week 36! Anything after this week is considered full term. Of course the internet still gives you plenty of stories to still have fears right up the the end, but we are almost there. Since today is the 29th, we can officially say there is less than a month left. And in a few days it will be August, and then we are really in the homestretch.

Thursday I will go to the doctor for the 36 week checkup, and then I will be on weekly visits. I kind of hope they say it looks like we will be delivering any day, but I know they won’t. There have been no signs of early labor as of yet, no matter how much I want this kid out. I am fully expecting her to come late, but am hoping for the end of next week. I am so over being pregnant.

Everyone keeps asking me if I am still working, and the answer is yes. I plan to work right up to the end so that I can save all my time off for the baby. Although, I did tell the office I plan to work from home the last week or two. I am thinking the last two weeks for sure at this point; I get more uncomfortable and more short of breath every day. That would mean probably August 12 or so would be when I start working from home full time… only a couple weeks away.

I am conflicted about my time off though. On one hand there is no way I want to leave kiddo in day care early on, but being out of work so long is worrisome. Things move/change so fast at my company, and I have things that I “own” and don’t really want to leave in the hands of others. The three months will probably fly by and I will get use to not being in the middle of things at work, but for now I am wishing I could be in two places at once. The most time I have ever taken off was the month we got married and went to Japan… three months feels very long and very short at same time. Of course, once the baby comes it might change to just feeling too short.

Quilt #2

I started on the new quilt I posted about previously. First was cutting a billion squares and rectangles, and now I have begun piecing them together.

The process for the quilt is kind of like putting a puzzle together. First I have to assemble “units” and then later I will piece those units together. The first unit is a rectangle made up of two black squares, one colored square, and one colored rectangle. I finished making all 17 of those last night.

The next two units both use the same T shape as a base. The long part of the T is a colored rectangle, with two black squares stitched to either side. I have made the first 7 of those… only 104 left to go.

I am looking forward to making more T pieces when I get home tonight. Once I hit my limit with those I will have to take some photos and post them, although it really isn’t anything exciting at this point. It is getting harder to sit at the sewing machine for long stretches, the belly makes it hard to lean in, and it kills my back to be bent over the machine. I have to try to remember to get up and move around occasionally, or I will be in so much pain afterwards.

Update:
I made about 13 more T sections last night before my back had had enough. I spread out some of what I have made and snapped a photo so you can see what I am talking about. I am still not very sure about the fabric I chose (it was rolled so I couldn’t see what I was getting until I got home) but I am still considering this a learning experience, so I am not too worried about it. If I like the quilt I will make it again and put more thought into fabric choices.

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Week 35

5 weeks to go…

I am so tired right now, don’t know if this will be much of a post.

We had our “Preparing for Childbirth” class this weekend. Saturday it started at 8:30 in the morning, so I started out the day pretty tired and was wiped out by the evening. Plus I felt nauseous all day. Sean was also tired and we ended up taking a nap after dinner, which really turned into sleeping until midnight and then waking up and not being able to go to sleep again until hours later. Which in turn kind of screwed up Sunday. Luckily the Sunday class started at 1pm, but the strange sleep schedule from the night before left me again feeling tied and nauseous all day. At least I managed to stay awake the rest of the day.

The class was good, I am glad we signed up for it. They went through everything from progression of labor, to labor positions, to newborn care. It also included a tour of the birthing center, so we know what to expect when we go to check in. Now if we can just remember all that stuff five weeks from now.

Nothing really to report with the baby… she is just getting bigger, and I am getting more uncomfortable, every day. It makes five weeks seem like an awfully long time.

Ouch

Pregnancy is fun. It is amazing how fast new things pop up. And I could swear the belly get visibly bigger every day. A couple days ago I noticed my left foot was a little sore, then yesterday it really hurt and I knew immediately what it was… plantar fasciitis. The OB confirmed that today, so now I need to go find a night splint. Yay.

I also had a sudden increase in round ligament pain at the same time. It has been so bad that I had to ask the OB today if I was right to assume that it was just ligaments… she said it was and that I basically had to deal with it. Which I knew. The round ligaments are the ones that support your uterus, and mine have apparently gotten to the point now that they are tired of holding up my belly by the end of the day. By the time I go to bed at night it is so bad it is like having a knife in my side, a knife that is being kicked by a baby, and just trying to get my pillow nest arranged is a painful experience.

And of course I still have sacroiliac joint pain too, mostly on the left side. That is the joint where your spine and pelvis connect. It can be painful during the day while walking, usually randomly so that I can never anticipate which step is going to send a jolt of pain thorough my lower back. And at night it is usually bad enough when I get up to pee that I have to hold on to the wall for support during the first few steps… but by the time I make the return trip it is usually okay.

So this means just walking around is now so much fun. My left foot feels like there is a cut deep inside, the left side of my back sporadically has a sharp stabbing pain, and then as the belly gets jostled around there are sharp pains in my side and under the belly.

Have I mentioned that I am so ready to be done with this?? 39 days…

But on the other hand, the doctor was happy with the belly measurement and heartbeat. So that is good news. Kiddo is still being crazy active, and I am pretty sure she is head down now although she does like to squirm around. I go back on Aug 1 for my 36 week visit, and after that I will be on a weekly schedule. That is when the fun of pelvic exams start.. please let them say it looks like she will come early!! I keep telling this kid 37 weeks is long enough, but she is probably stubborn like her parents and will refuse to come until September.

Still no button

I still can’t find that damned heart-shaped button to finish the baby quilt. I have looked just about everywhere I can think of locally, and scoured a few sites on the net too. I will have to put more time into an internet search I guess, because that is probably about the only way I am going to find one at this point. The are colorful plastic hearts galore, and miniature wooden hearts, but no 1-inch wooden hearts so far. Argh! So close to being done… one stupid, elusive button is all that stands in the way.

But I do have a new project to keep me busy in the meantime. While I was looking for a button at Wish Upon a Quilt, I picked up a pattern for a lattice lap quilt and some fabric (and I feel like I am cheating on the nice folks at Bernina). This one is labeled as intermediate, so I guess we will see how I do. I am not sure I would have chosen this one if I had read the instructions first though, it is a lot of cutting. Like, a LOT. As in 238 rectangles of the colored fabric, 270 squares of the black background fabric, 31 squares of the colored fabric… and I am worried about failing to make good cuts and having everything off-kilter instead of looking like a nice straight weave.

For the colors I picked up a jelly roll (40 precut 2 1/2″ by 44″ strips sold in a roll) which helped reduce the cutting somewhat. The problem with buying a roll like that is that you can’t really see the fabrics until you get it home and unroll it. When I opened the roll I got it wasn’t really what I was expecting, but I am going to use it anyway and see how it turns out. I already made all the cuts with the roll, but screwed up a couple times so I need to go pick out a similar fabric to make a few more rectangles. And by a couple times I mean I ended up with 230 instead of 238… but I guess that isn’t too bad given my lack of experience.

I will wait to get that fabric until I am done piecing together as much as I can with what I have though. I am working my way through the 270 little squares right now, and have no idea how many I actually have or how many I will end up with since I have messed up some cuts with that as well. So, I figure I will just cut as many as I can out of the black fabric, put as much together as I can, and then see what I am lacking.

I have no idea what I want to do about the quilting of it… should I just stitch along the straight lines? Take it to a free arm quilter that can make pretty swirls? I don’t know. I guess I will wait until I get it together and see if any ideas come to mind. I just hope that a) the colors work out and b) that it comes out looking straight and c) I don’t screw it up.