Category Archives: Quilting

34 weeks

34 weeks!  I feel really good about this.  Every week, I feel excited and happy to have reached another milestone.  Then my mood kind of sours as the week drags on forever.

At my last appointment, I had a high BP reading for the first time ever in my life.  “High” in pregnancy means in excess of 140/90.  If you are either over 140 OR over 90, you are diagnosed with gestational hypertension.  Now, to get a good BP reading, you are supposed to first sit for five minutes.  I had not been sitting for five minutes, so the doctor re-took it, and it dropped from 130/90 (gestational hypertension) to normal.  Thank God.  If I am diagnosed with GH, the doctor told me she will induce at 37 weeks.  High BP in pregnancy is not something to mess around with as it can be fatal in the worst case or have some nasty effects on both mom and baby.  So if I did in fact develop high BP, I would go along with whatever the doctor recommended.  However, I would strongly like to not be induced at 37 weeks.  I’m worried about the baby’s readiness for birth that early – even a day or two in the NICU would be really hard, and you just never know.  And I also worry that labor would be harder if my body wasn’t ready.  (I was dilated to something like 4 cm at 36 weeks with my last baby, so probably my body would be ready, but still.)

The doctor asked me to cut sodium and start taking BP twice a day at home.  If you’re keeping track, I’m now cutting carbs, sugar and salt, and taking blood sugar four times a day and BP twice a day.  Working from home, it’s not that big of a deal, but yeah.  I’ll be glad to return to regular life without all this for sure.  (Ponder your diet for a minute and ask yourself what you could actually still eat if you cut carbs and salt.   So many things have one or the other.  Obviously, diabetes doesn’t mean cutting all carbs, but you have to be very vigilant.  For example, the large honeycrisp apple I eat for lunch maxes or nearly maxes my carb allocation for that meal.  When you add in the complication of pregnancy-induced heartburn, it gets even harder.  I feel like an old person.)

The good news is that my sugar levels are excellent, and my BP has been very low at home.  After the doctor’s visit, I was very concerned about BP, since it is so common in pregnancy, even more so if you have GD, and because it is very dangerous if it starts to climb.  But I’ve concluded it was a false alarm caused by the stress of the doctor’s visit.

We gave away or sold a lot of our baby stuff after B.  We didn’t know if we wanted another, and we knew we didn’t want one soon.  We also have somewhat limited storage space in our house – if I could change one thing, I’d have a 3-car garage.  My Dad raised me to always keep your cars in the garage, so I can’t bring myself to use half our 2-car garage for storage.  Baby stuff takes up a lot of space!  In any case, Amazon gives you a two-time 15% discount on purchases off your registry.  I finally made the first of my two discounted purchases, buying a stroller, car seat, swing, some more nursing pads, and some other items.  I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear there was much agonizing over the stroller selection.  I ended up buying an Uppababy Cruz, which was a bit of a splurge, but I’m kind of excited about it.  It’s going to be like Christmas around here over the next couple of days.

In other news, the designer of the last quilt I made (with the hearts) asked if she could put my quilt in her newsletter.  That kind of made my day!

Princess of Hearts Quilt

I had another go at making a quilt for the new baby, and I do like this one better than my previous attempt.  It’s another Carolyn Friedlander design, and I like to call it the Princess of Hearts for my daughter on her way.  It’s such a simple pattern, but I quite enjoyed making it.

Fabric

The background is P&B Textiles Color Weave 4 Light in Teal.  The border at the top is Gleaned Parakeet in Spa Blue by Carolyn Friedlander.  The hearts are primarily various Friedlander fabrics, though there are a few others thrown in here and there.  For the back, I used a couple of Friedlander fabrics, as well as a beautiful white fabric with birds on it that I can’t identify.

Batting

I’ve gotten a bit burned out on the wool batting, so I used Quilter’s Dream Orient batting.  I quite like this batting.  It’s lightweight like cotton but just has a bit nicer drape, perhaps a touch more weight.  I don’t know – I’m a fan in any event.

Thread

Excepting the needle turn applique, I used my usual favorite Aurifil Mako 50 in white.  However, for the applique, I used Aurifil Mako in 80 weight in either white or dark gray depending on the color of the heart.  Honestly, it was a game changer.  It was so much easier to make the stitches invisible.  I’m a convert – for all future applique, I’m using 80 weight thread.

Quilting

I used a very limited amount of straight-line quilting between the hearts.  I adjusted the pattern a little to increase the horizontal distance between the hearts to I’d have room to quilt there.  I used 12 weight Aurifil thread in variegated blue.

Binding

The binding was done in Gleaned Parakeet in Spa Blue, like the top border.  I used 3 inch strips in hopes of making it a bit more prominent, but it didn’t really make much of a difference.  If I want a thicker binding in future, I’ll try 3.5 inches.

perspective

It is so hard to be rational and keep things in perspective when feeling sick all the time.  I actually fear that pregnancy is a bit like being old.  When I was still running, the only runners I would pass were the 70 plus crowd.  I walk slowly and awkwardly like an old person.  I have a hard time sitting through meals and am very picky about what I eat, like an old person.  I rely on a variety of meds to get through the day in a state of tolerable discomfort and for my health.  Of course, I know this will end within a couple of months – an old person knows it’s only going to get worse.  How do you cope with that?  (On the flip side, an old person doesn’t have to worry about labor.)

I’m doing my best to keep exercising and have been swimming more than at any other time in my life.  But I’ve introduced twice weekly upper body strength workouts in lieu of swimming.  It’s actually quite hard.  Perhaps I’ll have Michelle Obama arms by the end?  Doubtful.  But it would be nice to be a bit stronger.  I’m not doing any lower body strength, because my placenta is still low.  Two and a half more weeks until my next ultrasound to check on that.

I’m continuing to quilt, and I think I’m done with baby quilt #2.  I may do a bit more hand quilting / decorating on the hearts, but we shall see.

I’ve already started on another hand applique project.  It’s hard for me to sit up at the sewing machine for long periods of time, but I can do hand-sewing anywhere, so that’s very appealing right now.  Mini quilts are also very appealing.  I am contemplating another twin quilt, as I owe both my girls quilts, but I don’t want to start something that’ll take ages to finish.

27 weeks

27 weeks today!  Baby is nearly two pounds, and some people say this is the start of the third trimester.  Just in the last few days, I’ve started to feel a bit of that crowded, uncomfortable feeling which I definitely associate with the endgame.  Part of me can’t believe how far along I am, and a bigger part can’t believe there are 11 weeks left.  Or less if the placenta hasn’t moved – another ultrasound Thursday.

I am feeling OK.  I am able to enjoy life with my kids, but my energy is pretty limited.  I am still experiencing a sugar / energy crash after eating that varies from mild to severe.  Today, I tried laying down on the floor of my office, and that wasn’t cutting it, so I went up to bed.  I felt like I wasn’t going to make it up the stairs.  Now, a few hours later, I feel better.  But that was pretty rough.   I have my gestational diabetes test on Thursday, and I am worried that the symptoms I’ve been experiencing suggest I have GD.  However, I had the same symptoms and worries with my other two pregnancies, and didn’t have it, so I guess we’ll see.

I have almost no maternity clothes.  Work forced me into buying maternity clothes with my previous pregnancy, but this time, since I’ve been working from home, I’ve been wearing a lot of Lululemon tights to supplement my one pair of maternity pants and two pairs of shorts.  The bump is getting bigger, though, and I may end up having to buy more stuff just for a couple of months.  I look and feel very pregnant at this point.  I think I tend to be fairly average in terms of bump size – not huge, but definitely not tiny either.  This pregnancy seems to be proceeding like like my others in that regard.

I’ve completely switched to swimming.  Unlike my last two pregnancies, I haven’t been doing water aerobics.  Since we’ve moved, it’s a lot less convenient.  I may pick it up in the last month or two.  We’ll see.  For now, swimming laps feels great, and I’ve gone as far as 1800 yards, which is a lot farther than I ever went in my last pregnancies.  I think I’m in better shape, thanks to more minor morning sickness, and swimming 3 or more times a week is letting me increase my swimming fitness.  For the first five hundred yards, I can feel my belly stretching out, and it hurts, but it also feels good, if that makes sense.  After the first five hundred yards, I don’t feel it any more, and afterwards, I just feel better.

I’m continuing work on my baby quilt, and I have hand appliqued all the hearts to the fabric.  I was deciding between the green and blue for a border, and I think I’m going to use the blue.  Let me know if you disagree!  I ordered batting which won’t get here until early next week, but after that, I should be able to finish it up fairly quickly.

 

queen of hearts quilt

It’s feast or famine on the blog front.  Moving on to the next quilt, I’m trying to decide on the background fabric.

Option #1:

Option #2:

I’m kind of leaning towards #2 but I just don’t know.

Picture Window Baby Quilt

I was inspired to make this quilt by a project from Blue Elephant Stitches, always a go-to source for inspiration.  I was sick with morning sickness and looking for something easy – and I wanted to make something for the baby.  She calls her quilt the “High Five Quilt,” and the source pattern is in a book called Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Nyberg and Cheryl Atkinson.  I didn’t end up following the pattern, however, just eyeballed it.  I cut squares of approximately 2.5 inches, then did one layer of a log cabin.  I didn’t measure precisely, and I often made the center squares a bit bigger if convenient to showcase whatever was in them.  After the block was done, I used a 6.5″ square ruler (which I bought for this project) to conveniently trim them to size.

Fabric

I honestly can barely begin to say what the fabrics are.  I made the entire quilt from stash, which I’m rather proud of, including the binding and backing.  There’s a fair amount of Sarah Jane fabrics in there, as well as a lot of Heather Ross “Tiger Lily.”  I think there’s some Lotta Jansdottir fabric.  The binding is a Carolyb Friedlander fabric from her Euclid line, and I used a few other Carolyn Friedlander fabrics throughout, especially her greens.  Beyond that, it’s hard to say.  I’ve got at least two swan fabrics in there, because I love swans, and some stripes.  There’s some ballerina fabric I bought for Isla.  I’m not sure what else.

Batting

I had enough wool batting on hand to finish the project, so wool it was.  I get my wool batting from Quilter’s Dream.  I always like wool batting for a baby quilt, because I figure quilts are as much for sitting on as for covering yourself with, and wool makes them nice and soft and puffy.  And as a bonus, they’re nice and warm for covering yourself with.

Thread

Piecing, quilting, and hand-sewing the binding was done with Aurifil Mako 50 Wt in White (2024).

Quilting

I was originally planning to quilt this on a 2-inch grid.  However, as I noted above, I didn’t measure precisely, which meant the quilting lines were just a little off.  Not cool.  It looked messy and like a mistake.  I ended up just stitching in the ditch at 6″ intervals.  I contemplated quilting the whole thing with wavy lines, and maybe I should have.  I did a lot of fussy cutting in this quilt, and I didn’t want to quilt over any of the fussy cut centers.  It’s OK.

Binding

I used a 50/50 linen/cotton blend from Carolyn Friendlander’s Euclid line for the binding.  I actually found this a bit hard to work with at the corners, especially in combination with the thick wool batting.  I was lazy and didn’t use a walking foot for the binding, which I think was a mistake.  My corners were not up to my usual standard.

I made much of this quilt while feeling like I was going to puke.  I’m not thrilled with the result, but I don’t hate it.  I think i could give it to someone in good conscience.  Something about the in-your-face combination of pink / blue / green fabrics just rubs me the wrong way.  However, I do love the fussy cutting that I did, and I think a little kid would definitely appreciate all the fussy cut pictures in the middle of the squares.

I updated the “quilting” page on this blog today, which had been very out-of-date, and it made me realize how much I was quilting in 2015 and 2016, and how little I quilted in 2017 and 2018.  In 2017 and 2018, I started running a lot and working a lot, and quilting got put a bit by the wayside.  I did do a lot of farmer’s wife blocks, but I still haven’t finished that quilt.  It’s nice to finish a quilt for the first time in a long time.  I did actually do a whole-cloth quilt recently, but I stupidly forgot to photograph it!  Finishing these two simple quilts is making me enthusiastic to do more quilting over the next three months.

high five quilt

Since I’ve been feeling like crap, I haven’t been doing much crafting.  I was determined to finish my cross stitch, but at I’m at probably 95% complete excluding edge stitching, and I need a break.  I’ve managed to muster up enough energy the last few days to spend about 10 minutes making a few really easy quilt blocks.  The intended recipient, obviously, is the new arrival.  I had been thinking of doing a Friedlander pattern next, but i’m basically just not up for it right now.  I need to do something easy.  This pattern is technically out of Sunday Morning Quilts, and i bought the book, but I haven’t really looked at the formal pattern yet.  My inspiration was Blue Elephant Stitches.

Anyway.  Blocks so far.  At this rate, it’ll take me a couple months to assemble enough for a baby quilt.

13 weeks 1 day today and still feeling lousy.  Every day I hope to wake up feeling better, but it hasn’t happened yet.