Plus quilts and a shop update

Good Morning!

My little HIPPworks shop is back, stocked with new quilts, and now in a new location on Etsy. Please stop by and take a peek!

It has been a long time since I last had quilts for sale. Almost a year! The four ADOPT collection quilts have all been sold and gone to good homes – two with baby boys and two with baby girls. I’ve seen photos of the babies with their HIPPworks quilts and, my goodness, my heart just sang. I imagine this is the same feeling I will get when Miss M grows up and leaves the nest – out in the wild wide world having a beautiful life on her own.

HIPPworks handmade modern quilt kona cotton snow iron grey cypress

Quilt No. 02 from the ADOPT collection

My time for quilting over the past year has been shorter and more sporadic. I’ve still made a few quilts: for donation, gifting (new nephew!), or for use within our own home. Those quilts all ended up fitting together into a collection of their own that I’ve named ADDITION.

ADDITION collection, Quilt No. 01

ADDITION collection, Quilt No. 01

One lone quilt from the ADDITION collection is left so it is now listed for sale in the HIPPworks shop. I’d like to tell the story of the ADDITION collection to you but will save that for another post; too much to say all at once.

The last few weeks have seen a dramatic change for the good as far as how I am able to allocate my time. It has provided more flexibility and allowed me to once again carve some intentional space for creativity. I was eager to dive into a new collection of quilts but I couldn’t shake the plus signs of the ADDITION collection. The simplicity of them is so appealing to me right now, and the the possibilities for color and fabric variations are fun to play with. So the ADDED collection was born.

Quilts 01 and 02 from the ADDED collection - fraternal twins!

Quilts 01 and 02 from the ADDED collection – fraternal twins!

ADDED collection, Quilt No. 03

ADDED collection, Quilt No. 03

Thanks for stopping by. I’m looking forward to telling the stories of these new quilts here.

ADOPT Quilt No. 04

Quilt No. 04 in the ADOPT Collection has been done for quite a while, but I have been unsure about listing it for sale. You see, the day after I finished this quilt my husband and I had dinner with a reconnected friend and his wife. D and I were part of the same outdoor guiding program at college in California. It was pure coincidence that we both happened to land in St. Louis, and even more coincidence that we happened to run into each other at a coffee shop years after each of had moved here. My husband and I enjoyed a lovely dinner at their home. We met their two dogs, enjoyed a long catch-up conversation, and saw the room that they were preparing for their soon-to-be baby. D’s wife, J, showed us the bedding set she had already picked out: charming, gray and white, with bits of green.

And as I clipped a few loose threads on Quilt No. 04 and put it in for a final wash, I thought of them. I thought about how much D taught me about enjoying and teaching in the outdoors. I thought about the excitement they shared about the coming baby. And I thought of J, holding that bedding set and lighting up as she looked at its colors.

ADOPT Quilt No. 04 front

The center of this quilt is a cheerful citron green, surrounded by the white and gray arms of all my ADOPT Collection quilts.

Each quilt I have made in this collection makes me fall more in love with this tiny black and white gingham border. I do a bias binding on my quilts so that they can stand up to frequent machine washing – hi, I want my quilts to be used, messes and all. (Those interested in the reasons for straight-grain vs. bias binding might enjoy this article.) A bias binding also has the advantage turning the gingham pattern to the diagonal, making a nice running line of diamonds along the edge of the quilt.

ADOPT Quilt No. 04 label

I used a yarn-dyed charcoal color for the linen-cotton backing this time. The citron green on the center front felt like just the right amount of color and the neutral charcoal backing lets it shine. Yarn-dyed fabric is made by weaving together threads that are already dyed (rather than dyeing the fabric after it is created). This allows for two different colored threads to be used in weaving the fabric – in this case, white threads in one direction and an almost black thread in the other. The resulting fabric has a beautiful depth of color. It has an almost denim look but still keeps the softness and lightness of a light linen-cotton blend.

ADOPT Quilt No. 04 backing

And so for a while, I was torn. Part of me wanted to give this quilt directly to D and J, and then make a new component for the collection. Another part of me wanted to keep it as part of the collection and then create a similar one for them later on.

I’ve finally decided on the latter. Quilt No. 04 is now listed in the HIPPworks shop.

And to my US friends – have a peaceful Memorial Day!

Paducah? Yeahducah!

This was this the first year that I got to celebrate Mother’s Day as a recipient. My only expectation for the day was to spend time together as a family. I was fine with that being at home in St. Louis. But after a lot of fence-sitting, I finally agreed to let my husband plan a weekend trip out of town. And he pulled it off like the rockstar that he is.

My Mother’s Day weekend was flawless. I felt cherished, which is all anyone wants to feel, but especially a mother on her first Mother’s Day.

We went to Paducah, Kentucky. Yes, Paducah. I know, it’s not exactly on the national radar as a travel destination, but it has been on our radar for the past year or so. Paducah runs ads on the local PBS station so our standing Sunday night date (watching “Masterpiece” on the sofa with a bottle of wine and a late grown-up dinner…aka, something other than Cheerios) inevitably ends with “we should really go to Paducah someday”.

Making weekend travel plans based on ads on the local PBS station. That’s how we roll.

PBS ads aside, Paducah also has something that no other place in the U.S. can claim: The National Quilt Museum. I know, right? How could I NOT go.

We went directly from work on Friday, picked up Miss M at daycare, and headed east on the 64. Miss M brought her just-finished school art project with her. She was pleased as punch to pose with it in the car.

Mother's Day gift 2014

I think Miss M was more excited about the trip than I was. We timed our departure to parallel her regular schedule: dinner about an hour into the drive, followed by what we hoped would be two hours of sleep and an easy transfer to the hotel.

Instead we were treated to three hours of this:

Miss M: Where we goin’?
Daddy: We’re going to Paducah for Mother’s Day.
Miss M: I goin’ to Ducah!
Mommy: It’s called Paducah. Say Pa-du-cah.
Miss M: YEAHducah!

My Facebook friends might recognize this as a variation of an exchange Miss M and I had recently regarding a doctor’s visit (Dr. Ryan? It’s Dr. Narayan. Say NAH-ray-an. No Mommy, Dr. YEAHrayan!). Heaven help us, this kid is already recycling her own jokes.


Moving forward

The Irvin S. Cobb Bridge over the Ohio River from Paducah, KY to Brookport, IL from my first, spectacular, Mother's Day weekend.

The Irvin S. Cobb Bridge over the Ohio River from Paducah, KY to Brookport, IL from my first, spectacular, Mother’s Day weekend.

As hinted at briefly in a previous post, my work life took a turn earlier this year. My job, the organization I work for, and the jobs of some of my colleagues, are funded by a particular grant. When that grant ends, so does my job. If new grants are obtained in time then my job can continue, albeit in some altered form that fits the requirements of the new grants. But if new grants are not obtained, then the future becomes uncertain. In February, I learned that there would be a gap in the grant funds, and my job would either be altered or uncertain once September ends.

I am telling you this not to complain – because, really, there is no reason for complaint here. I feel fortunate to have a  job at all, fortunate that it is a job I enjoy, fortunate that I had 7+ months warning. I am also fortunate that my boss and others on the team are working their butts off to write new grants to fill, or at least shorten, the gap.

Rather, I am telling you this so that you have a sense of where my brain has been these past few months. I have avoided thinking about it too much. Sewing helps: complex, hands-on activity loosens the knots in my brain. And now I am at the point where avoidance no longer makes sense. I WANT to think about it now. So that I can take an active role in moving forward.

A condensed update

red quilt handmade mrshipp HIPPworks

A quilt for my new daughter

It seems like the start of every blog post I’ve written could have started with “So much has happened since the the last time I posted!” That’s always true but it is a ridiculous way to start a post. If a lot hadn’t happened, there wouldn’t be much reason to document it on the blog, and there would be more time available to blog about it.

In this case, so much has happened since the last time I posted that I can’t even wrap my head around how to begin sharing it with you. There has been an abundance of joy, a dose of surprising disappointment, and some healthy productivity. More details on all of these as I figure out the best way to tell the story. It will likely be over multiple posts and interspersed with the-right-now. But in the meantime, I leave you with this:

I am a mother now.

I am quilting more than ever.

What I do for a living will change.