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In this post a few days ago, I mentioned that Tiffiney had gone into preterm labor at almost 25 wks. Sadie Mae was born on Saturday, July 4th, at 1lb 8oz, and 12.25in long.  I’ve been stalking facebook obsessively… based on status updates & comments, it appears that all is well with both mother and daughter, although obviously Sadie Mae will be spending a while in the NICU.  The suddenness of change, of things going awry or “different than planned,” is just so… shocking.  One day, everything’s fine. The next, everything’s upside down. I know I don’t have to explain that to ya’ll, of all people.  I miss the days of childhood, when I planned to execute my life like a checklist… grow up, get married, have a baby, and live happily ever after. Was so simple without the worry of what-if.

So since Saturday morning, when I woke up mid-meltdown, I’ve just been staying out of my head. On Saturday, we cooked & cleaned & did yard work for Saturday night’s birthday cookout.

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And Sunday, we skipped church* and had a quiet day. Bobby worked on a website redesign, and I worked on my birdie quilt. I don’t have complete confidence in how the fabrics compliment each other, but I just dove in and started cutting… figure that this is my first quilt, so I’m allowed to screw it up. My sewing skills are sub-par — couldn’t sew a straight line if my life depended on it, and sewing around curves? Um yeah, it’s laughable. But whatever. It’s addictive and rather therapeutic… nothing else matters except the repetition, and focusing on the grains of the fabrics, and measurements, and sewing straight-ish seams.

*More on this later.

Just a few notes about the process, what’s gone well & what hasn’t with Project Birdie Quilt:quilt grid

  • In my opinion: Making a chart is a good thing. I drew a grid (kinda like the one to the right), and made notes in each square. This helped keep my squares in order, plan the position of the birdies, etc.
  • Cutting the squares: First, I cut 9 squares of fabric measuring 20″x20″. Learned the hard way that you have to measure from the selvage edge (the outside edge of the fabric), NOT from the cut edge. The little fabric-cutter ladies don’t always cut in straight lines, so using the crooked edge to measure is pretty much a bad idea.
  • Added an extra row: Once I laid all 9 of my fabric squares on the floor, I decided to add another row of squares for a total of 12. This will make a full-size quilt, instead of a throw-size quilt.
  • Fusible web novice: I’ve never used fusible web before, but it’s super-easy. Traced 12 circles using the template in the kit. Apparently the fusible web makes fabric stiff, which would make the quilt less snuggly, so I cut the middle of the circles out, leaving only ~.5in. of web *inside* the traced circle.
  • The great stitching decision: Ah, sewing the circles on. Sewing and me don’t jive. I thought I should do a zigzag stitch, which I’ve never attempted before. Practiced and practiced to no avail. Googled and discovered I needed a little gem called an “applique foot” for my sewing machine — it’s clear so you can see what you’re stitching. So I sat and debated, and finally decided to just scratch the zigzag idea this time around, and go with the plain ole’ straight stitch. After much indecision, finally just sewed the circles on.
  • & the birdies were born: Traced, cut, appliqued, and sewed birdies. I used a neutral khaki-colored thread throughout, but it looked horrible on the dark brown birds… highlighted how uneven and messy my sewing truly is. So I picked the stitching out of the brown birds and redid it with chocolate brown thread.
  • Putting it all together: I’m now in the process of putting the quilt-top together. The recommended sewing order is horizontal, then vertical. Sew block #1 to block #2, then block #2 to block #3. This completes the first row. Repeat for rows 2, 3, and 4.Once all horizontal rows are sewn together, go vertical. Sew row 1 to row 2, row 2 to row 3, and so on until quilt-top is completed.

I’m heading back out to the fabric store tomorrow to buy batting (the fuzzy stuff that goes inside a quilt), and backing (the fabric for the reverse side).

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