Blood, Sweat and Teardrops

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This morning the girls woke up to a special surprise outside. Late last night, my husband’s cousin and his girlfriend rolled into town and parked in our kindly neighbor’s driveway with their brand-new handmade teardrop camper. I had no idea this was a thing until we saw Hunter and Sarah at a family wedding last fall and they began excitedly telling us about their dream of heading cross-country and showing us online pics of all these beautiful little trailers people are making themselves. You can buy plans online, but Hunter and Sarah built the camper pretty much to the specifications of a drawing Hunter made. They funded much of the materials and the trip through friends and family via a successful GoFundMe campaign, and faced more than a few setbacks, including someone crashing the trailer the camper sits on and a last-minute exhaust leak, but they finally hit the road yesterday from Rhode Island. They were with us for only few short hours, but we were so pleased to be their first stop and the girls loved exploring the inside of the trailer, which is outfitted with awesome cabinets and sweet linens and curtains made by Hunter’s sister. Talk about DIY. We wish them well on their travels south and then west! They’ll be documented at https://teardroptravel.wordpress.com/.

#quiltproblems

My husband says he’s going to have an intervention. Over the past two weeks, he’s on multiple occasions accused me of not listening, of “getting a lost look” in my eyes, which he says he knows is me working out a problem… a quilt problem. And he’s right. Quilting has turned out to be a mathematical mindfuck.

Aside from the challenge of working with two different block designs and making sure that once sewn, they both end up the same exact size because I planned to alternate them in rows, there was the challenge of figuring out how much yardage to buy for the quilt back. How many times did I scrawl on a piece of paper a 45-inch by 72-inch rectangle to represent the two (not enough!) yards of tiny floral print cotton I purchased for the back, deduce that I needed to cut strips that were 60 inches long to sew together to make the length and then cut strips that were 50 inches!? This is what happens when you try measuring and cutting while two small people demand sippy cups instead of big-girl cups, water instead of milk and yogurt-covered raisins in the GREEN BOWL, MOM! And yell at me for picking the wrong fucking episode of Scooby Doo and not being able to work the Netflix remote. So my first lesson learned here in this phase of quilting is measure three times, cut once. And of course, use the green bowl.

For the quilt top, once Skye (benefactor of said quilt) and I figured out what we wanted our blocks to look like, I cut like a thousand pieces and laid them all out for her and told her to make 8 nine-square blocks and 7 diamond-in-square blocks. So I made the kid work for it. And she loved it. After I stitched each one, she ironed them. Once we had our 15 9-inch by 9-inch blocks, we laid them out on her bed, and I decided to piece them together in a grid defined by 3-inch-wide strips of this awesome white-on-white polka dot fabric I’d bought. We liked the contrast of the white strips so much we decided to make the entire border in the same fabric.

The bigger the quilt top got, the harder it was, of course, to sew. So after much layering of pieces and smoothing, I pinned every three inches or so on the seam. I learned my lesson because inevitably the fabric will get away from you and fly all over the place as you sew, which is why you must roll up the left side of the quilt to make it easier to move across the machine.

Anyway, we now have a fully assembled quilt top. Next up: assembling the quilt and well, quilting! IMG_0667