This is my first post from my new iPhone 🙂 and it’s certainly trickier than I thought it would be.

My first craft since I got it was this sweet little carrying case while I waited for my hard case to arrive in the mail. The classic 10 min project including cutting. It’s on piece sewn up the sides and lined in felt. The only thing I would do differently if I made it again would be to add some template plastic similar sturdy materiL to one side so it would retain its shape better when the phone is out of the case. Is it wrong that I like this much more than the purchases one? Unfortunately it wouldnt protect it much in a fall. 😦

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This is what my lovely sewing room looked like Sunday  morning–sort of a pretty pale blue swath of felt barf all over my sewing room. Yards of it. Why you ask?

My sweetest bunny is turning 8 next month. 8. Do you know how old that feels? Well, I’ll tell you–it feels a heck of a lot older than 7.

Work has been slow lately (yeah!!), so I’ve been taking advantage of that and getting ahead on projects. One of those projects is prepping for bunny’s birthday party. She has always chosen her own theme, rarely, if ever guided by me. Sometimes they leave me sweating (like “Strawberry”–um, baby, what about strawberries I ask her cute almost 4 year old self only to receive a puzzled look in return). We’ve done strawberries, tea party, golden ticket party, garden party (which, is, most assuredly, different than tea party) and now, wait for it–Dance Party. All I know is that there must be freeze dancing 😉

We are still at that lovely age where her party can be all girls. And for that, I thank my lucky stars because, at least Bunny and her friends, will happily craft 30-45 minutes away if I have something good planned. Enter the annual, birthday craft. This year, I decided (what was I thinking????) that I would make felt poodle skirts and the girls could cut and glue poodles onto the skirts. But then, as I was purchasing the felt (thank you Joann’s $2.99 per yard off the bolt sale), I thought–what if the girl isn’t a dog person?? And aren’t dogs well, kind of hard to cut. See, the goal is for me to prep so they keep busy, not prep so that they glue something on and call it done. No, no. So, now, we are having “flower skirts”.

I made eight of these lovelies today. All sewn up, except I have a safety pin the elastic band so I can fit to size as the girls come to the party.

Then each girl will get a large square of felt in this lovely rainbow array of colors, scissors and glue. I’ll suggest flowers, but creativity is always welcomed. I have a feeling this won’t beat last years’ record of busy making where they literally BEGGED me to keep the craft time going (painting terra cotta pots). But I think they’ll like this.

If I’m a real glutton for punishment (and I usually am), I’ll make 8 blue felt head bands that they can also glue onto to their little hearts’ content.

Five years, I say. You ask, so “where’s the short cut”? They’re throughout the quilt you see. And the cumulative nature of all of the supposed short cuts made a project that could never end and that I despised working on… right down to binding the blasted thing. Here is a list of the mistakes I made and the “short cuts” thought I was taking to fix them–which resulted in more mistakes–which resulted in more shortcuts–lather rinse repeat.

  • Picked a pattern and cut pieces over several weeks as I had time–at some point I started making my cuts not from the instructions but by looking on what I cut in the last cutting session. Which evidently at some point I had screwed up on, so the blocks were no longer going to be proportional for the pattern I had wanted.
  • No biggie, right, take what I have, sew it up and see what we’ve got. But when you don’t know where you’re going, sewing up it a wee bit more challenging.
  • Stop sewing and start arranging the mismatches and decide on what I’m doing.
  • Re-sew several not comporting with my new plan. Finish sewing the rest.
  • Lay them out. Have my then four-year old insist that she wants the squares arranged a certain way. Detest the layout. Detest the red. Detest that fact that I had long ago destashed all of the fabrics that made up the pieces I was using–no extras, so use what I have. Detest the Red.
  • Sew together. In incorrect order, evidently without precision in my 1/4 inch seam. Sigh. Unpick, re-sew. Do this 3 times over the course of a year and a half while I’m in law school.
  • It’s together. Hooray. Let’s slap some borders on it. Let’s play it by ear. Let’s take my then 5-year-old to the quilt shop and as I’m looking at fabric, in innocence answer her when she asks what we are looking for. She has a decided opinion. I hated the fabrics she wanted then. One of them I’m still lukewarm on but it actually goes well with the quilt. The polka dots I originally hated–too bright! I love now.
  • Slap them on the quilt, study it and think–I don’t think that’s square.
  • Bring then 6-year-old daughter to get backing fabric–have her insist on some unplanned for flannel on the back with monkeys and other critters. See the quilt that could have lasted her until her teens now have a more childish shelf life. Buy–just enough. (See the monkeys under this other blanket??? At my old house even!)
  • Sigh. Extra sigh. Still be living in our postage stamp sized place and decide to baste it with 505 spray on an autumn afternoon on our porch. With dead leaves swirling everywhere. With dead leaves falling onto the 505’ed areas as I struggle to get the layers squared. After a particularly huge gust of wind, decide that it is “good enough”. Realize later when I go to quilt it that the backing is too small on one side. Decide we’ll cut the borders down to match later.
  • Start quilting one afternoon in our postage stamp sized house–even with my fancy new machine, the quilt is hanging over the edges of my sewing table in a way that is pulling on the needle as the fabric is going through. Try stippling though it’s been years and years since I did any. Disaster. Disgust. Roll it back up and put it in a tub.
  • Move.
  • Have phenomenal sewing room. Have unsightly tub that won’t close because the quilt is in it.
  • Decide to quilt it. Unbloody pick the bit of stipple I did and instead try Oh Franson’s loopy flowers. But on my quilt they’re “sloppy flowers”. Have my 14-year-old niece comment that it’s so cool I wasn’t fussy and making them look exactly perfect because that wouldn’t look cool. Right. I totally planned that. Go to Oh Franson’s tutorial a few times and covet her ability to make things look like she didn’t freehand. Remember to do some half flowers falling off the borders so it looks like they extend to the edges of the quilt. Get tired of making the flowers pretty fast. Do them a little too far apart.
  • Finish quilting and remember to cut the borders… by just over an inch on most sides–effectively destroying the half flowers I had made in the prior step.
  • Take purchased bias binding strips I’ve never used before (I have historically always rolled my own). Pin it on, discover that I’m roughly 30 inches too short. Since I didn’t roll my own–I don’t have any of this fabric to make more from. Sigh. Decide it will be a whimsy (which I hate) corner with interest and use a different fabric. Spend a bazillion years and unpicking time before I admit that I no longer remember how to sew down binding or mitered corners  before I get a book out say “Ooooooohhhhh!” and finish. Stay up late on a work night hand sewing it down. Throw in laundry. Have it NOT bunch up all crinkly and lovely.
  • But have the child loves it just the same.
  • Feel like a free woman out from under the weight of unfinished project.
  • Turn to baby blanket I MUST finish!

The folks over at Whipstitch are offering an online sewing class on knits beginning October 4. This is my first online class, but if you read the class description, materials, guest speakers, resources for getting questions answered, it sounds like it’s going to be a lulu of a starting class for me.

Anyone signing up before the stroke of midnight (eastern??) gets a $10 rebate! Join in and conquer your fear of knits!

I’m curious about this. I recently got one season of Fons And Porter’s Love of Quilting shows from the library and in one of the episodes  one of the ladies (I have never paid attention to who is who) made some offhand remark about how seasoned quilters tend not to give nearly as much away than noobies. And the other lady snickered and said, absolutely, no way. Is that beecause after you’ve made a bunch of blankets, clothes, what not, you really appreciate all the effort that goes into it that a recipient is unlikely to get? Or that you jealously guard sewing time for yourself? What’s the thought here?

I think when I first started crocheting (because, hey, that’s where I started my textile journey), I remember thinking that I’d have to give away a bunch or end up in a house with a gajillion blankets, which would seem sort of stupid.  So I did–and, idiot that I am, I rarely took pix of the stuff that I gave away and didn’t track what projects/patterns I had done. So now I go to look at a pattern and think, wait, did I do that? Did I HATE making that?? Hmmm *scratches head* start making it anyway and get two days into and think “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I have made this bloody thing before and I”m NOT putting myself through that again!” (oops–tangent!)

I think with quilty stuff too, I tended to make exactly what the pattern said instead of acknowledging–hey cool pattern, but I have GOT to make some changes because I”m simply not the table runner type. I think this came from fear of making mistakes–so I couldn’t alter the pattern or I can’t make mistakes if someone else is choosing my fabrics etc. Like the year that I joined a Thimbleberries year long quilt club and realized way, way too late that 1) it was  a basket theme all year (I could do a basket thing say once every ten years and be set) and 2) it was almost all table runners except for a couple of hokey wall hangings that weren’t going anywhere in my house. Sigh. I’ll never get back the hours of my life that I put into those projects that I didn’t like. Or the basket block swap where I still have a queen sized basket quilt, made with colors I don’t like, with folks who weren’t precise in their blocks. At least I learned that I’m unable to do swaps anymore–because I hated that. (Oops-another tangent!)

What’s my point here? I forget! No, just kidding. It’s just the ridiculous things that I made as a more noobie sewist/crocheter that I shouldn’t have and that I’m glad I don’t have around anymore. The flip side is that I’m no longer that noobie chick and have taken stock in the fact that I have made nothing, zero, nada, bubkiss for myself, something I really want just for me in nearly two years. It’s true. I’ve made a few baby blankets for others, halloween costumes for others (which I won’t do anymore–I can’t sew to deadlines; it makes me unhappy–uh, tangent??), and the rest of what I do is for Bunny. While she usually thinks it’s neat–I think the awe of “wow, mommy can do that” has worn off and she thinks of it more as a matter of course (wait for upcoming post on her underwhelmedness on her bedroom curtains).

So i decided this week to break the pattern in a big way and the next 5 things I made would be for me–which I already broke by agreeing to make some pumpkin things with Bunny today for the house (kind of also for me, then, right?? Not so much really). Maybe I need to make a list of what I want and then I’ll stick with it better?? Gotta give this some thought and creatively rejuvenate.

I finally got it. It’s been awhile, but I finally have it–my father in law built me a “cutting table”. I said “make it this big and this high. And I’d like it to be able to store my fabric underneath. And I already have a dozen or so clear plastic tubs about 6-7 inches high. So, ideally, it would somehow house those.  But I’m not married to them. And, I’d like to be able to re-arrange my sewing room with relative ease. So, it can’t be huge and heavy and super permanent.”

And this is what I got:

It has a corian countertop and there are four white “pillars” for lack of a better word made of melamin–that make shelves that perfectly fit two stacked clear tubs at a time. And none of it is bolted together. The weight of the top and the lip going over the towers hold it in place. I can rearrange the towers to make standing space or stool space wherever I want.

I’ve rearranged my space to accommodate it, and it’s not quite right yet. But it feels really open and functional when I’m in it. My first project was to whip out some fabric and cut a bias strip to make this super cute headband for the bunny I sent to Yellowstone with her grandparents this week. Bliss. Plenty of room to move the fabric, big rulers etc.

Tonight, I didn’t have it in me to sew after work, but I did, the hard way, without geometry equations, figure out that to make that cute shirred headband, which requires 15 x 4.5 bias strip of fabric, you have to have a 14 inch square of fabric–hello fat quarters!  We can discuss (make fun of me) my inability, total mental block related to math of all kinds, but especially geometry some other time 😉

Now, the only thing this room really needs (other than pictures on the wall, to hang up my thread organizer mabobs) is my beloved Bernina and serger back from their week at the Bernina spa. 🙂

p.s. I *finally* got my pix to go in side by side! Thanks Beth!

p.p.s. can someone explain to me why all of a sudden the pix I take on the same settings as I always have are turning out dull instead of crisp. Poo.

I took a shirt that cost way too much money from Land’s End and spent an afternoon studying it and making a pattern from it. The bodice was fairly simple, with it being a fairly narrow swing top with a band of shirring through the middle for shape.  It had an interesting lining on the top of the bodice that I was never able to get to work well. I also got the shirring too, uh, shirred for lack of a better word. Oh, and the sleeves are well, let’s just say that in the original they don’t defy gravity so much 😉 Oh, and it wanted hemming… but frankly by then, I was over it.

And I have no idea what the heck is up with my photos lately either–not crisp at all. Clearly user error. 😉

In an effort to show you some process. Here are a few photos of my putting this together… Did I mention that I had to remove and resew the sleeves three times? And that two of those times it was because I sewed them on backward (wrong side out??).

Or how about how I ended up with little folds in the seam? Sigh. Not a total success.

The long and short of it is: it took freaking forever. I will make it again… later, much later. Like in the winter in preparation for next summer’s wardrobe. I think just lengthening the sleeves will get rid of the pippi longstocking look. And I’ve had a few tips recommending loosening my tension to get less “gathered” shirrs.

I think the other part of this project that became difficult is that the more it didn’t turn out the way I wanted, the less I wanted to work on it, and the more I felt “obligated” to finish it. So I didn’t allow myself to work on anything else. That was a mistake. I think from both creative and patience standpoints would have helped me out.  But I do feel proud to have done it even if I didn’t get it right. I branched out–and that is what really counts 😉

Oh, and I just received a late Christmas present last night that has changed the entire dynamic of my sewing room 😉 I’d be giddy with excitement if I weren’t so laid up with a summer cold (which are always worse than winter ones–or at least I’m much more whiney about them). Stay tuned to salivate on my next posting.