Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIP: Gray and Yellow, Revisited

I finally finished this quilt top! I don't know why it took me so long to sew those last four rows, because as you can tell, this is not a high-skill assembly and it only took an evening to finish the last rows and sew the whole top together.

Oh well. It happens to the best of us, right?

Please pardon my photography. I wasn't able to take a photo in daylight, but I wanted to share it for WIP Wednesday anyway, as it's rather rare I have something substantial to show. I put some filters and crap on it to try camouflage the fact that I live in a cave, but to no avail. We'll all survive this assault of bad photography though, I hope. :)

Also: I would like to look into embroidering my quilt labels rather than using marker. I've never done much embroidery, so it's all a bit new to me. Anyone have any good beginner resources, or at least a hint of what kind of stitch would be good for someone to learn who wanted to "write" words? Thanks in advance!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

100 Day Hustle

I was so excited to see Kelsey's great idea to do a list party to spur one another on in our various projects through the end of the year! My list already existed in a Word document (along with a daily To Do list, and a dissertation To Do list, and a self improvement To Do list... what can I say, I like lists) so why not share it and get a little accountability, right?

Kelsey Sews

In rough order of priority:
  1. Red and white quilt for Grandma-- You haven't seen much of this one, and it started as sampler blocks in my first quilting class. Circumstances have compelled me to try and finish it.
  2. Gray and yellow wedding quilt-- Remember the friend who got married way back in July? I'm still working on her quilt. :) I finished the top this weekend though, so hooray!
  3. Charming Stars wedding quilt-- This one is for the friend who got married earlier this month. Someday, it would be cool to give someone a quilt at their actual wedding, but I'm not holding my breath. :)
  4. Nebraska wall hangings-- Trying to make one for my mother and for me. Conference play starts this week, so I should finish these sooner rather than later!
  5. Coasters for L-- I want to make a set of coasters out of the leftover Cool Britannia fabric I used for her purse. She just moved across the country to start a new job, so I want to send her something, because readjustment stinks.
  6. Placemats for other Grandma-- I'm excited about these. My grandma is only Swedish through marriage, but she can out-Swede many a Swede. When I saw Michael Miller's Wooden Horses fabric, I knew what I needed to do for a Christmas present.
  7. Table runner for Mom-- I'd like to make my mom a quilt someday, but that's just not realistic for this year. But I think I can maybe get her a Christmas table runner done. I'd like to use Holly Taylor's Christmas Spirit line. Not really my taste, but it is my mother's exactly!
  8. Christmas pillow for my SIL-- I love Joy, and think it would make a fun pillow. Just haven't decided what, exactly, that should look like yet! But Christmas is coming soon... yikes!
  9. Purse for my BFF-- I haven't started it yet, but saw some fabric that made me think of her and decided to make her a bag like these two.
  10. My hourglass quilt-- I have some Vintage Modern waiting patiently for me to finally make a quilt for myself! (I haven't kept one yet!) I'd really like to do an hourglass one like this.
  11. A Christmas quilt-- I really want to use Joy in a Christmas quilt. Realistically, all that will probably happen on this one for 2012 is to buy the fabric. :)

Just a few things on the list! I've got visitors for the first two weekends in October, then I'll be out of town the last weekend of October, the first weekend of November, and probably over Thanksgiving. I'm also considering moving at the end of December. And teaching a class and writing a dissertation in there too. So how much sewing will get done? We will see. :) Thanks for the motivation, Kelsey!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Paper Piecing? Moi?

This post is dedicated to Kristy, whose always-inspirational and always super cute paper pieced blocks made me think that it was something I might actually want to try some day. :)

I've been really afraid of paper piecing. It just looks complicated, you know? Stuff is backwards, upside down, inside out, and who knows what else. I'm not the most spatially aware person on the planet, so it seemed rather daunting to me. But the time to try it had finally come. I sensed that the time had arrived when Quilt Story featured a paper piecing tutorial using one of the prettiest blocks around. I had been kicking around an idea for a paper pieced mini in my head for some time, the only thing that remained was, well, learning to paper piece.

So I did.

Yup, that's it. I haven't even finished that block (I'm going to though, I promise.) I figured that was enough practice. An eighth of a block. I'm pretty much a pro now.

So I decided to make my own pattern, because why not? Oh, and I wanted to make a letter--a letter in which direction mattered (this is the logo for my alma mater and its associated sports teams, of which I am a fan.) If I was honest about how long I spent thinking about which way the pattern should face for the final block "N" to turn out correctly... well, I'd be embarrassed, and you'd be underwhelmed with my intellect. :)

The "N" stands for "'Nowledge"!

I couldn't really figure out how people knew what order things should be sewn in, though I knew it would be easier if I made sure that I wasn't running into situations where I needed multiple seams on a single piece of fabric. So I guessed and chopped it into five pieces because that was the only way I could think to make it work. And I forged ahead.

At this point, I was still pretty skeptical that this was going to resemble anything in a Latin-derived alphabet.

But yet again, I forged on, and before I knew it, it had come together pretty darn well! I was so proud of myself and sent numerous texts to my boyfriend detailing my incredible rise to genius and demanding validation of my brilliance. (Maybe the "N" stands for "needy.")

 I'm pretty excited about my new skill. I haven't fallen in love with it like many people have (at least not yet), but I do like that I'm not afraid to try it now. I'd really like to make another one of these for my mom and send it to her as a surprise. I'm planning to quilt it up and make it into a little door or wall hanging.

In a non-related note, a roving horde of seventeen wild turkeys rambled through my backyard last week. Seventeen! Doesn't that seem like a lot? I've never lived anywhere where turkeys are uncommon, and I don't think I've ever seen more than three or four at a time. I am suspicious of their motives, but I let my cat out to investigate, and his response was to try to eat one of my mums, so he must not have felt too threatened.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

A Work of Art

I hope you'll forgive the diversion from quilting, but since we're all fans of fine sewing, I thought you'd appreciate a glimpse of some incredible sewing that I saw this weekend.

As previously mentioned, I attended the wedding of a dear friend of mine, who is very much like a little sister to me. Her family and my family are incredibly close, and the bride is a very special woman who is possibly the most kind and gentle lady in the world. So we were all very happy to celebrate with her!

The bride's mother is a talented, talented seamstress and she made the wedding gown. I think we can all agree that home sewn clothes occasionally look, well, home sewn. This isn't a big deal for simple little shirts or skirts or dresses, but it might not be the look for we strive for with wedding attire. But this is no ordinary homemade dress. Oh no. This gown is practically couture.

There are three hoops in that skirt. Seventeen and a half yards of fabric just on the outside of the skirt. Lace. Beading. Gathers. Petticoats (yup). The mother-of-the-bride/seamstress estimates that including the veil, there is close to 100 yards of fabric used in this dress, linings, and underthings. I think it's pretty amazing!

This is the third dress the bride's mother has made. She made her eldest daughter's dress and one of her daughters-in-law's. The first was a pretty basic satin A-line with a lace-up back, but it had a ton of hand beading. The second was a replica of a designer dress the bride loved, a tight-fitting lacy dress. But this was "by far the most difficult" dress she has attempted.

I think she succeeded admirably, don't you? It is definitely the Cinderella dress* that this bride has wanted for her entire life.

The rest of my weekend went well, and I had fun visiting both Chicago and Indianapolis. We drove through a crazy storm in between those two cities, and then got to relive/drive through the storm again after we stopped for dinner in downtown Indy and it caught up with us. Getting out of Indy proved challenging, and at one point, I was scheduled on seven different flights on either standby or with an actual seat. There was real danger I wouldn't get back until this morning and I would have had to cancel class, which my students wouldn't have minded, but which would have been a pain for me, especially after having last Monday off. Thankfully, everything worked out ok and I slipped in off standby on an earlier flight to beautiful Newark. It's good to be home!

*Boyfriend compared it to Belle's golden dress in Beauty and the Beast, and I think he's accurate. So pick your Disney princess for comparison, but it's definitely a princess dress!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WIP: Just a peek!

Well, I abandoned hope for finishing the wedding quilt in time for the wedding. It would have been nice, but it just didn't happen. I spent too much time watching football this weekend, and not enough quilting. :) (My team won and looked great, so yay!) While I enjoy sewing, I often find I have a pretty limited attention span for it. I know there are lots of quilters out there who can spend days at the machine, but I just can't. I like to dabble for an hour or two here and there. I accept that that is just my style!

I also went to The Great State Fair of New York (the grandiosity of that title cracks me up every time) on Sunday. In between the appalling displays of fried foods of every kind and a whole lot of low culture, I did get some photos from two separate quilt exhibitions. I'll post those in a separate post sometime soon.

I did sew a little bit though. Here's a look at what it will look like!

I really like this pattern. I love traditional blocks with modern fabrics, so I could see myself using this one again. It's designed for charm packs which would of course save you some cutting! I love patterns that allow you to still see the fabrics.

This isn't the greatest picture, because I just took it so I remembered the layout I had planned. Because once again math thwarted my efforts, I miscalculated how much fabric I needed. Instead of buying more, I decided to see if I had anything in my stash (novel idea, I know!) This isn't really my color scheme, so it was a bit difficult. But in the end I salvaged a bit of brown I had bought to make my friend a purse (hope there's still enough left!), some of the plain green from the MSU beach blanket, and some green stripes and polka dots from an American Jane mini fat quarter bundle I got on sale. As a result, the overall effect is more green than I intended, but there isn't anything wrong with that! The bride is the most frugal person I know, so she'd be totally proud that I made do if she knew. :)

Also, my cat is apparently too lazy to even sit like a normal animal while drinking. He'll take his beverage service in the reclining position, thank you very much. Proud moment for Bingley.

Yes, he's a boy and he has pink dishes. He doesn't seem to mind. :)

I'm headed to Chicago tomorrow and Indy on Friday night, so I'll be flitting around the Midwest and cursing the Newark airport this weekend (because it is terrible). Have a great week everyone!

Linked to Freshly Pieced!

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