Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Finally Sewing Again!!!

I have finally made it back to my machine! Well, to the cutting table and ironing board anyway, but that means that I will be sitting down at the machine really soon.

I would have LOVED to be in the sewing room all last week once we got home from my daughter's hospital stay, but, while we were gone, my husband and older daughter gutted the older daughter's (SingAndDance) bedroom for a room re-do/tween update.  It was a logical (ummm, sort of) time to do it, with MonkeyNinja being out of the house.  She shouldn't be exposed to great amounts of dust, paint fumes, cleaning stuff, etc...and all of that was involved in the room re-do.  And, since I wasn't home, either, it was logical (ummmm, sort of) to move everything out of SingAndDance's bedroom and into the sewing/crafting/toy room.

So, after 12 long days in the hospital, I arrived back home to find my entire upstairs, especially MY space, filled with the belongings of a wonderful 11 year old who was making her very best effort to sort through everything and purge/donate before moving things back into her room which still wasn't quite ready yet, despite her father's very best efforts to get it done.  It was hard to be upset.  But really, seeing my space filled up like that when my nerves were already raw was unsettling.  I might have cried (a little).

It was kind of comical how they had just tossed stuff in, and piled it up, too.  I should have taken a picture to show you but, honestly, I think I might still cry, looking at it, even now.

All's well that ends well, though.  My husband finished a self-designed, custom built loft bed for SingAndDance.  They worked together to paint her room a really lovely shade of blue with orange and pink accents (she had a plan, he dutifully followed it).  And she and I sorted through her "stuff" and packed up and put away a lot of keepsakes that she just doesn't need on hand, sent a few boxes full off to be donated and are working on setting up and accessorizing her new room.

ALL THAT to say...I have my space back!  I am celebrating by starting a quilt that has been on my mind for months, since SingAndDance commented, "You should make a Pink and Brown Chevron Quilt.   That would be really pretty."  After that, chevron quilts and patterns seemed to be everywhere I looked.  And she's right, I DO love pink, brown (and cream) together.  So, I've been keeping an eye out for a few pink prints, and I pulled some pinks and browns/neutrals from my stash, and here we have:

...the start of something pretty!

I am using this tutorial from Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation.  It's her Easy Peasy Chevron pattern, and I like that sound of every single bit of that!!  Yesterday I was able to get all of my fabric pulled, decide on an order and get 9 inch squares cut from each fabric.  Kelly's tutorial involves making 4 HST's at a time from 9 inch squares.  I haven't done HST's this way before, but I love the idea!

It was a very tight squeeze getting enough 9 inch squares from some of my fabrics.  My "stash" includes really old and really random pieces that have come from garment sewing, doll making and other odds and ends so there were some pretty weird pieces.  In fact, both of my neutrals ran short, so I am mixing and matching a bit.  I'm not sure I'll like the effect, but this is supposed to be a stash buster, not a stash filler (I did buy new pinks, but only fat quarters so they are pretty much used up...) and it's a charity quilt.  We'll see how it turns out!  

I am really hopeful that I will be able to finish the top by Friday.  Because that will be August 1, and I have a DOOZY of an August to-do list!  

I am off to carve out thirty minutes of sewing time before the piano teacher gets here and before I have to start dinner...  Hopefully I will be able to post progress pictures soon!  (HEY!  The piano teacher is running late!  I think dinner will be late, too!  More time to sew!)

Happy Sewing!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hospital Hexies

I love the idea of Slow Stitching Sundays that some people in the QuiltyBlog world post about.  Slowing down, once a week with some hand sewing.  I love the "idea" but my Sundays never quite work out that way. Sunday is usually laundry, meal planning, list making and grocery shopping.  Almost never, sit and stitch.  But, lately I have been treated to a Slow Stitching Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday...  lots of days with time to stitch by hand, courtesy of a hospital stay for my younger daughter.  So, I have been making hexies!

My daughter, MonkeyNinja, age 8, has cystic fibrosis.  Hospital stays are becoming a pretty routine part of our lives.  We go in for 10 - 14 days at a time, usually only once a year.  While we are in she has procedures (Bronchoscopies and sinus surgeries, etc.) to assess the health of her lungs and sinuses, and she gets IV medications to help deal with bacteria that grow in the excessive mucus that her body produces due to CF.  She usually feels pretty "normal" health wise, and while she is restricted to her room, we can be "active" and have fun while we are in! It's not all bad.  And a two week stay usually buys us several months of pretty good health.

So, we had some advance notice of this stay.  I was able to cut up some OLD stash (most of it wasn't even purchased by me...I got it from a sister-in -law years ago after her mother- in-law died) into squarish pieces.  I also cut hexies from freezer paper following directions I found on-line somewhere.  Neat method where you accordion fold the freezer paper and staple in the middle of each hexie before cutting so you can accurately cut lots at once.

I made a little kit with needles, thread, pre-cut freezer paper and my scraps.  It fit into a nice little box, easy to pack and bring along.  I haven't had as much time to stitch as I thought I would.  We've been pretty busy with visitors, procedures, games, doing our nails, and reading (we have started the Little House books - LOVE).  We definitely make the most of our stays!  But during quiet times, and nervous times, it's been nice to have something to keep my hands busy.

In retrospect, I wish I had made my template a bit smaller.  I used a plastic hexagon template that was in a box of quilt supplies which someone gave me.  I did make the freezer paper pieces smaller by tracing a 1/2 inch in from each side of  the plastic, but, I should have gone even more. These are cute, but as I've been looking at project ideas on blogs and Pinterest, I find that I am drawn to the teeny tiny ones, like an inch on each side instead of an inch and a half.  I am sure I will do this again, though, because I would really like to  make some in fun, bright, modern fabric.

I don't even really know what these will  become.  For sure they will have to make lots of friends in order to become a quilt.  And that might not happen soon - maybe not until our next stay.  I keep having images of them arranged around low-volume centers in single flowers:
I really like this print.  So pretty.
And then maybe combined with some low volume flowers around centers in these colors.  We'll see.  This is much more of a long term project than a finish it up project.  A planned WIP, I guess.  The best part is probably playing with all the pretty little hexies to see how they look in different configurations.  Both of my daughters have had some fun with this the last few days.
Grandmother's Flower Garden
Kinda Chevron-y

I also just happened to notice that three of these pretties stacked up is equal to height of my current tablet cover, which I have been meaning to replace with something hand made.  So, that might happen.

We are winding down our stay, and looking forward to home.  And as much as I have enjoyed Slow Stitching, I am very eager to get back to my machine and all these ideas swimming in my head!

Happy Sewing,

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pattern Test and a Finish!

This is an "old" finish.  Well, a couple of weeks old, anyway.  Waaaaaaay back in the spring a friend from high school was looking for a few people to test out a pattern she had just written.  She is a talented artist and quilter who blogs at Artfully Sew.  She also has an Etsy Shop by the same name.

Shortly before she posted that she was looking for pattern testers, I had been thinking that it might be fun to BE a tester.  If nothing else, it might give me a reason to commit to sewing "schedule" which I am not good at.  I guess I need deadlines in order to get things done, even things that are fun.  I'm not sure what that says about me, but it's probably not good.  *Sigh.

So, I volunteered to test the pattern for her.  Poor girl, she probably regretted asking me!  I had every intention of getting feedback to her RIGHT AWAY, but as it often does, LIFE happened and stuff got in the way.  I did send her some feedback as I was halfway through, and then again at the end, and I sincerely hope it was helpful.  It will be exciting to see the pattern become available in her shop, knowing that I had a bit to do with it!

It was a fun project: A mini quilt wall hanging to customize.  I have never done machine applique before, and this was just the right sized project to start with.  I wouldn't hesitate to try it again!  What fun!  And the embroidery!  Oh, the embroidery!  I had not embroidered since I was a teenager, when I did it ALL the time.  I had forgotten how much I loved it.  My stitching is not perfect, nor is my spacing of the letters.  That was the hardest part for me, actually.  But, I think it came out pretty cute.  Take a look

The recipients are my niece and her husband who became proud homeowners earlier this year.  (I should maybe blur the address, but I don't know how.  Sorry, Jen.)

Looking at this picture, now, the letters look REALLY uneven.  I don't think they actually looked that bad.  Must be the way it's hanging, or something, right?  Right?

Ah, well.  We'll just call it folksy.  I told the recipient that she did not need to feel obligated to put it up in her home.  I'm not sure its her style, and she didn't request it.  I have certainly been on the "getting" end of things people thought I just HAD to have, that I really didn't care for.  And I know that hand made items aren't everybody's cup of tea.  She kinda got it by default because I don't know anyone else who was in need of a housewarming gift. 

I do hope she likes it, though.  It's always fun to give things people enjoy.

Be sure to check out my friend Angie at blog and Etsy store!

 - Tami

Friday, July 11, 2014

Baby Quilt Finish

Trying for a pretty picture here.  Think I
have a lot to learn!
Yaaaay!  Its a finish!  Finally! 

I really had intentions of getting into this blogging thing "Big Time," as my daughter might say, but that just hasn't happened the way I planned.  I have done some sewing.  Bits and Pieces, here and there.  And I have some pictures, so I am hoping to create a few posts over the next few days.

But something always seems to happen on the way to the computer.  *sigh.

However, I do have a finish to write about, and that's pretty exciting.  This is an OLD UFO.  The top was pieced more than a decade (gasp!) ago.  The intended recipient will start middle school in the fall.  He was born just a few months after my oldest daughter.  That, not-so-coincidentally, was right around the time that my sewing came to a screeching halt. 

His nursery, if I remember correctly was done in greens with a vintage Winnie the Pooh theme.  This really would have been great in there!  Oh well.  He's grown into a fine young man without a quilt from me. 

The quilt is about 42 x42.  The print is called Winnie the Pooh's Day at the Park, according to the selvedge.  It is used on the back, too.  I machine quilted in the ditch between the pieced blocks, but then decided that the center stripe should be quilted too.  Lesson learned: Try to make those decisions BEFORE starting.  Going back and adding lines quilting between lines that had already been done added some puckers, but its really not too bad.  And once its washed and dried, I am sure it will be full of soft, crinkly goodness, and the puckers won't be so bothersome.

This was my first attempt at a binding done entirely by machine.  It went OK.  The first part was great, except that I twisted one strip and didn't double check before I stitched them together.  Thank goodness for seam rippers.  Also, I think I will stick to hand stitching the back of the binding.  Especially on a small quilt like this, it doesn't really take THAT long, and it just gives a much nicer effect, I think.  Or, maybe I will keep practicing putting them on by machine. 

Either way, I am pleased with the overall look of this one, and glad to have a UFO finished.  Part of this return to quilting is to use up or finish stuff I already have before buying or starting something new.  And I am just ITCHING to start something NEW, so I need to crank out a few more finishes, fast!

Given that I seem to be struggling with getting in to the swing of sewing and blogging consistently, I am curious....How do YOU do it?  Is there anything that helps to make sure you get to the computer to write about what you've been doing?  I'm hoping that it comes with time!

Here's one last picture of the quilt, with a buddy.  The quilt will be Project Linus donation, but the buddy is still too loved to be given away. 

I am going to try to link up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, but I admit I'm not really sure how to do that...  we'll see!
Happy Quilting!

- Tami