Spring Break Sewing

The grandson is on spring break this week and we are babysitting him every day. This is the extent of my sewing…

We have done painting and stenciling and made stamps.

We have done some household tasks, like replacing old shower curtains and a damaged mailbox.

We have done some necessary math, which is NOT his favorite part of the day.

We have also gone to the movies, which WAS his favorite part.

This is a great time for us and I would never think of giving up time with him in favor sewing. Nope!

Sewing will resume in a few days…thanks for playing along with me. Go find a kid and get a hug!

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Spring and batiks–right?

My new stashbuster project was inspired by a photo that I backtracked to a free pattern. Now I know you all will want to know which pattern, so here’s the link  Kite Flight  by Robert Kaufman and it’s a beginner friendly, strip pieced pattern.

Easy to make the strip sets, of course, and I was eager to see how the actual measurements and instructions work on my machine, in real life! The assumption with jelly rolls is that the strips are all at least 42″ long and of course that’s not always true. It also assumes that your seam allowance is sewn exactly like theirs. The pattern cautions that there is not waste, which means ‘be careful or you’ll run out of fabric.’

I used my fast stitch machine and I know that the 1/4″ I sew on that machine is a scant 1/4″.  And I used the very edge of the pinked cut as my edge. And the instructions said to press all the seams open…………..fat chance! I am not going to spend forever picking open those pinked edges on a 5 strip set! I just pressed them out each way from the center strip. If it’s an issue later in the construction, I’ll figure it out and deal with it then.

It came out as a skinny 10 1/2″ strip set. If you are a beginner, and yours comes out a touch small, don’t panic! The next step is to cross cut into squares, so you make your squares the same size as your strip set. The objective is to make the square! If it’s 10 1/4″ instead of 10 1/2″, there may be some other adjustment needed later on, but for this pattern it’s more important that it be square.

I certainly did not mean this post to be all about the pattern instructions, because they are fine. This is to reassure you that perfection is not always necessary to achieve great results. And for me, the goal is to use up the stash, not produce an heirloom masterpiece! I quilt for fun, aim for precision and don’t stress over any part of it. My favorite quilt teacher said that fabric is forgiving and it’s a statement that I’ve lived by as I work with textiles.

Now, about that 42″ WOF measurement…so far, so good, by measuring carefully. But how to avoid panic and having to make more strip sets if these are short? I decided while I was sewing them together that it’s a scrap quilt. If it was short I was simply going to add a piece of fabric on the end and cut out the square. In a different situation, I would make more strip sets or seam the ends of the ‘short ones’ together to make large enough blocks.  (And that may yet happen!) I’ve only cut one set so far, but this is what I had left!

I hope all the other strips work as well! I’m eager to keep going on this one. It should be quick and I’m liking those strip sets, so I’m positive I’ll like the finished quilt.

I have to tell you once again, I am having so much fun working on these stashbuster projects! And getting an actual, useable end product is a big bonus!

Quilt on………………..

 

 

Busy days, sewing wishes

Yes, indeed, I’m wishing for sewing time. Even though I’ve done more sewing in the last couple of weeks than I have in the last several months, it isn’t enough! I love having time to play with my fabrics, to be creative and have no deadlines.

But there are often impediments to getting down to that sewing machine, like enjoying weekend hockey tournaments and going to kickboxing with my daughter. And, yes, I’m too old for kickboxing, but guess what? I can do it anyway. It feels good to exercise, even when I complain about it!

I’m making tiny bits of progress on my tree, and I’m happy with it. Stitched down my little branch and leaf pieces with some crazy sewing.

The idea is to simply get it attached to the background at this point. Additional stitch decisions will be coming, but step 1 is done.

My two big panels are sewn together and I’m thinking about a narrow strip of the stripe (say that 3 times real fast!!) across the top.

Nothing more will happen for a day or so. Monday evening I have to give a lecture at the Macomb Co. Quilt Guild and Tuesday is giving blood. Even though there may technically be time to sew, I find it’s harder when it’s interrupted time. Looking forward to Wednesday, when I’ll be back on my regular lazy retired person schedule!

Priorities

Making time in my studio a priority is not as important as it used to be. In the last couple of months I have started to feel really and finally retired. I am not looking for speaking or teaching jobs, but I wouldn’t turn them down!

I knew so little when I started!

Anyway, I don’t feel like I have to constantly be in production mode and if I miss some time in the studio, it’s no big deal. I’m thinking of projects that have lain dormant in the back of my brain for a long time and I’m trying to create in a more thoughtful manner.

My current project is totally laid out in my brain. I love when that happens—and I hate when that happens. Getting from the brain picture to the actual piece is not always a straight road.

It has grown larger than I thought it would be already.

My brain picture had it about 20″ wide but these projects make their own demands. It is huge and I’m not used to working with silk, so it’s a little daunting to think about quilting this part of it.

Practice pieces are not big in my process, but I thought I’d better try it out for this one. I grabbed several scraps and put them on batting and backing and started stitching.

No issues whatsoever, so off I went on the real thing. Spoiler alert: Nothing fancy was attempted on this piece! Simple straight lines are all that is required on this part.

Know what? Channel quilting is boring, no matter what fabric you are using! That’s all I got done on the project today, but that’s fine.

In my newly retired state of mind, spending the day with my hubby, going out to lunch, stopping at the bead store……….it’s all so good! Having relaxing days like this is what it’s all about!

And the studio will be there tomorrow…after I lunch and chat with a friend…and maybe do some local shop hopping with her…life is good!

 

This has been my week!

New flooring in my living room has been happening this week. I have furniture piled in my kitchen, my garage and some lamps are even upstairs! Everything is covered in dust so I have to clean it before I can move it back in, but the floor is done!

Before:

Looked good from a distance but it was falling apart. It was glued down so much better than the guys thought…it took them the entire first day to get this removed!

Day two was mostly prep and a start on installation of the new…

I started to get excited when the first few rows went down! And now I have a beautiful new floor in my living room!

Just need to get everything dusted and dusted and dusted…..and dusted and we can sit in here in comfort again!

Beautiful fall……

It seems like in the fall, each tree has that one perfect day of color. Today was the day for the tree in my backyard closest to my house. I walked into my bedroom, looked out the window and was stopped by the beauty.

And it’s raining today and this still takes my breath away.

 

I love fall.

But now it’s time to stop staring out the window and get some work done!

Moving ahead

There was progress made in the studio today, but it did not come easily!

Planned on getting all those canvases wired up and ready to hang today. See that drill with no battery pack? I have TWO batteries for it and both of them were dead as a doornail. Delay number 1.

Thought I would relax and quilt a bit while the battery was charging, but that didn’t work out so well , either.

I finished it later in the day, but I broke two needles in the first 15 minutes of working on the background. Thread was catching on the spool and when I got that adjusted, there was a cut spot in the thread so I had to unroll through that…………..sigh! But at least I did finish it. I’m going to add some small beads to this one.

This is the stack of stuff that needed to get ready to go to an exhibition. I needed to get these ready, at the very least. Time was getting short, so I had to screw on the hanging hardware by hand—-oh, the rigors of manual labor!

See the green and black piece on top? 30 minutes before it was to be picked up, I took it off a hanger and discovered that I had NOT made a sleeve for it! Seriously? How lame is that? Thought it was ready to go. I did a quick search in my scrap basket because I thought I had an unused sleeve there–and I did! Phew! Quickly cut down to size and then I pinned it on. Good enough for this exhibition and if someone wanted to actually buy it, I’d be happy to put a real sleeve on it! And ready before the girls came to pick up the stuff. Hooray!

And as I sighed in frustration from a broken needle, my gaze crossed an older, unfinished piece on the design board and I had a lightbulb moment on how to proceed. Much of the problem I had with it was solved with machine stitching, rather than more of the hand stitching I started with, which you can’t see well in this photo. Sometimes letting things sit in time out is the way to find a solution.

Finally, I was able to really relax and the rest of the planned screws and wires can wait until tomorrow. I made this little piece for an example of fabric manipulation and I’m going to use it without any additional stitching, but I’m going to add beads. It’s only a 6″ piece so I’m hoping I can handle it without any more delays or issues!

Today was another case of the hurrieder I go the farther behind I get. Looking for better results tomorrow!

And every day until Oct. 14, this will be on my mind!