Monday, July 21, 2014

Peeking Out

The Last One. Project GRREAT comes to a close. A few more odds n' ends to tie up and 60 pups will be shipped out early next week. Feels strange to be done sewing these and a little bittersweet as I won't be doing these ornaments "en mass" anymore.

The Last One. Project GRREAT comes to a close. 60 pups will be shipped out later this afternoon. Feels strange to be done sewing these and a little bittersweet as I won't be doing these ornaments "en mass" anymore.

I've been sick the last week too which has made finishing up this order all the more challenging, but they're still arriving 3 weeks ahead of schedule.  That always makes me feel good and helps lighten the load for other projects.

I know a busy schedule has prevented me from blogging much this summer, but I hope you've all been enjoy the Summer (especially those of us here in the Midwest).  We had record low high temperatures last week, thanks to a mini Polar Vortex.  It meant highs only reached into the mid-70's in the middle of JULY!  That's nuts people! 

My project list continues to expand and contract as commissions come and go.  I've busy looking thru my fabric stash to begin binding The Feather Quilt too :)  It came back from the quilters at the beginning of July.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cutting It Out

120 pieces of felt are all cut and ready to start the next stage of assembly.

40 pcs. is about 3" high.  Arthritis yo.

40 pieces of felt is about 3" high.
That's enough to give me phantom hand aches just thinking about it again.
Now imagine 3 stacks of these and you'll have an idea of why it took me nearly a month of constant cutting in the evenings to get them all done.

I've started embroidering these ornaments already and am making nice progress now that the Feathers Quilt is gone for a few weeks.
There won't be too much to report for the next month as I finish this order up, but I can promise you that I already have my sights set on a second quilt and Fiona's Renaissance costume for this year, not too mention completing 2 more Lil' Twister Stockings for Chris and I (before Christmas!).

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Feather Quilt (part 4)

 38 blocks are squared up.


Laid out, sewn together and neatly pressed to make 5 rows of funky feathers.  Those rows are about 72" long, this is a very huge quilt.


 Sadly, the backing fabric I had fallen in love with only had 5 yards left on the bolt and I most definitely needed 5 1/2 yards of fabric.
 008 (2)

 I went ahead and bought the 5 remaining yards not sure how I was going to add in another 1/2 yard of fabric.  Once I was home and laid everything out on my floor I realized that I may have just "painted myself into a corner".  I had to walk away for a full 2 days before I could look at it again, I was that aggravated. Finally, after tearing thru my fabric stash and much creative cursing, I found a few coordinating strips of fabric from an old Moda jelly roll.


I was hesitant to cut my backing seeing as it was already short, but I did it anyways and in the end it was the smartest move I could have made.  Not only did it give me enough length to complete the backing, but it added another mod feature to the normally "boring" back of the quilt.

It was shipped out Memorial Day weekend for quilting and I couldn't be more relieved to have it off my sewing table and floor for that matter.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Feather Quilt (part 3)


I'm in the homestretch now and it's been a long and tiring haul.  I'm at the point where my sewing studio is looking more empty as the last bits of fabric are cut up and sewn into the quilt.  There's been a copious amount of seam ripping and cursing and new template cutting too.  I've also sewn thru 876 yards of thread so far.

Thread for days.....

I'll be switching to white thread for sewing all the rows together, but first things first, I have to lay out all 38 blocks and find the smallest one so I can square all the other 37 blocks to that measurement.  The hubby is excellent for helping me get thru this stage.  I cringe every time I need to square a block up.  It's hard to cut off a sliver here and there to make sure everything is as perfect as possible.

I still think everything has come out very nicely despite the terrible scaling issues with the pattern we've had to overcome.  I'm very pleased with the accuracy of all my seams and am still keeping my fingers crossed that all my obsession with perfect 1/4" seams will pay off overall.

Nailed it!

I will not miss the enormity of the ironing I had to do with this quilt either.  As I was sewing the last blocks together I noticed that I had been simply throwing them into a pile on my ironing board.  

Getting ready to iron
Some things you just get so tired of doing, even if it's for the greater good.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Next Gen

I often wonder if I hadn't had such an avid sewing grandmother if I would've still taken up the "needle and thread".  What if I didn't have a grandmother to show me how to thread a sewing machine, cross stitch, tie a knot at the end of all my threads, show me how to read patterns and what pinking shears were used for?

What if I was like every other kid I knew growing up, obsessed with Barbies, Crayola markers, Trapper Keepers, BFF's and summer vacations?
I think that there is creativity hiding deep in every child.
It shows up in imaginary play, curiosity with mud and sticks, fascination with paints and how things work, but somewhere along the way it dies and I can't figure out why for some kids it stays so strongly rooted and for others it's just fades out.

4 months_6

I do know that if I hadn't had my grandmother to at least show me how things like clothing and dolls were put together, my curiosity would've never been peeked.

I feel so grateful for having had my grandma show me these things when I was so young and even for a mom who didn't always have time to keep sewing like she used to (raising 5 children will do that to you) she always managed to show us how to be creative and clever with what we had on hand.   It chokes me up a bit to think back on it.  I can't imagine not sewing quilts, building fences, or growing a garden.  I learned all these skills from my grandparents and my parents because they felt value in what they were showing me how to do.  Because it was important to them, it became important to me.

030 (2)

The creative crowd is becoming more hip, but true skill, the kind that is learned from generation to generation, is still very much a niche and in constant danger of being forgotten.  While technology develops and makes doing some things easier and faster the basic skill, thankfully, remains the same.

There will always be a need for needle and thread and for people to know how to use them skillfully.  I feel obligated to show my daughter how to do these things, not because it's needed, but because it will open up a world of wonder and possibility and respect for how our world is made.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring Is Busy

I'm still here!
I have a nice Feather Quilt update to show you all here by the end of the weekend!  I feel like I've been swamped under looming deadlines for projects that aren't due till the end of summer, but it feels like the vice is getting tighter.

I did finally manage to get all 120 pieces of felt cut out for the dog ornament order for GRREAT, so now I can start on the "hard" part of embroidering all of them.  I don't think that will be as ridiculous as I'm envisioning it, but I do have to do at least 2 a day to keep on schedule now.  I've even re-written my calendar so I have set days to work on specific projects all this month to make sure everything is moving along, even if I can only manage to scrape in an hour a day.

Progress is progress!
But I can't believe it's already May 8th.  I mean, the middle of May is NEXT week and that means June is only 2 weeks away........deep breaths.

On the plus side, my veggie garden is coming in well and I've managed to get the majority of my flower beds filled with annuals.  My peonies should be spectacular this year so I'll be sure to take a few pics because who doesn't love peonies?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Feather Quilt (part 2)


I have more pictures that I need to get uploaded so you can check out the progress in more detail.  Yes, there is progress, but it feels painful.
This quilt pattern is truly giving me fits.  I plan on writing the editors of Quilty again to inquire if anyone made this quilt prior to publishing it (other than the designer).  It's a really cool pattern, no doubt, but the templates, measurements and complexity of it make it more of an intermediate quilt, not a beginner.

There's actually alot of skill and patience needed to even get thru the feather piecing parts.  It's challenging me and I've been piecing quilts for over 10 years now.

I think for each of the 28 feathers I've sewn so far, every single one of them as had at least 2 of its seams ripped out at least twice, some of them have been ripped out and sewn 3 separate times!  Yes, I am being a little picky trying to get everything lined up properly, but it's a finicky pattern with its angled pieces.  I thought I could get away with a few "off" seams, but in the end I realized the mistake would only amplify the bigger the block became.  That means that it's taking a very long time to piece the blocks and I'm only half way done.

I don't always rip out seams

Ripping out all those seams also makes me realize I should invest in a larger, more comfy seam ripper.

It's worth noting all of my seams on the "feather" portion of the block have been pressed OPEN to help it lay crisp and flat when I was cutting out all the feather sections.  I believe it's important to press seams open when you'll be using a template to cut your actual pieces.
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