Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Sewed Something!

Fabric box

["I have sewn something"?]

I've been fairly productive recently. (Wonder if it's because my husband was out of town for a whole week...) I have almost finished my December Surprise! I have two sides left to bind, but it is pieced, basted, and quilted. Can't wait to share it in a couple of weeks! I've also cut out almost all of the pieces of the diaper bag project. I'm trying to decide how to modify the straps and create an inset zipper, which the original pattern doesn't call for but which my friend would prefer. I've found a few methods and tutorials. I know Lisa Lam from U-Handblog fame, suggests taking the zipper apart. But I'm not sure I want to go that far. Speaking of Lisa, it's finally my turn to check out the Handbag Bible from the library! Gotta get over there before Turkey Day.

Here's what I actually finished:

Fabric box

A misshapen fabric box! (Fabric is home dec weight from Ikea.)

It's getting chilly here in Wisconsin and I had to pull out the gloves, mittens, hats, and scarves but we didn't have any place to put them. I was going to run out to Target and grab one of those fabric cubes/baskets. And then it occurred to me that I should just make one since I had all of the supplies. It was an exception to my deadline-projects-only rule. I didn't take too much time with it. I actually used scrap fabric, scraps of various types of interfacing, and I used up a bunch of bobbins with different colors of thread. It's far from perfect but it is fully serviceable :)

Fabric box

In an afternoon I had a place to put our cold-weather items (which evidently smell delicious). I think a false bottom would probably help to keep its shape better, but I'm over it. Plus, I saved myself a couple bucks! Actually, probably more, since I can never leave Target without spending $50 even when I have one thing on my list :)

Vintage Sheet

I also thrifted my first vintage sheet this weekend (care of the Goodwill)! Jeni has shared her considerable knowledge about vintage sheets on her blog, In Color Order (she has a lot of other great info, as well!). This is a twin and it was $1.99. I plan to use a portion as backing for my Dream On quilt (the line is inspired by vintage textiles, after all), once I get it fully put together. I went solely by look and feel, but the tag is still attached and it is one of the brands Jeni mentions in her post (plus it's the tell-tale cotton/poly blend and soooo soft!). I'm curious to see how it sews up.

Vintage Sheet

Looking forward to getting on to some new projects (and back to others). My deadline for the diaper bag and surprise quilt is December 1st, but I feel like I'm on a good pace.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope you enjoy the day with your loved-ones.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blog Diet Experiment

I decided to put myself on a blog diet. Not because I don't like blogs, but because I like them too much. I spend more time reading blogs than sewing, these days. And I am drowning in "must-have" fabric. (I used to not know a Moda from a Kona! Name a fabric designer? Couldn't have!)

I suspect obsessive blog-following is not a problem for most people, but I am a half-time telecommuter who is home alone a lot. So, I have more time to blog cruise than the average person.

So how many blogs are we talking about? A couple... More than a few... Ok, 177 of them. (I'm sorry, I should have told you to sit down first.) Yes, one hundred and seventy seven. 177 wonderful, rich, inspiring, helpful blogs. Basically, "too many"!

My blog diet means: for my own blog/journal, I am going to commit myself to posting about process, progress, and setbacks to keep the focus on the work, rather than the goods (e.g., purchases, stash shots - fabric porn, if I may be so vulgar). As far as other folks' blogs, I have to pare them down to a manageable number, in part to go from being a rapt but inactive observer, to an inspired, more active participant. And in part, to limit my exposure to the ubiquitous enticement to buy.

We'll see how it goes. Quilt Market recaps are brutal. But I'm down to about 40 quilty/sewing blogs and that's a good start. I culled my Facebook page, my Twitter account (which I intend to close following the end of the TwitterB in January), and my quilt shop email newsletter subscriptions and I've stopped obsessively entering giveaways.

Monday, November 7, 2011

So Little Sewing...

December Surprise Sample Block

Oh my, where has the time gone? I haven't really been doing much sewing at all. Just getting back into the swing of working outside the house (i.e., not in my pajamas!). (For my primary job, I telecommute, so what I am wearing is usually incidental to the work :))

All I have to make note of for the last couple weeks is a little bit of progress on my December surprise. You know how the proverbial "they" always tell you to make a sample block first, before you cut out all your pieces? I never do that. Well, almost never. I did it for this project (that's the one, up there) and I'm glad that I did because I made a mistake and I squared my background fabric to the template, which was wrong, wrong, wrong. Good thing it was just a sample!

December Surprise WIP

The main problem I'm encountering (aside from lacking time and motivation) is curved piecing. I'm new to it. Finding my 1/4" seam is vital to these blocks and I seem to be a bit all over the place resulting in rectangular blocks that bulge at the end with the inset half-circle. My machine, being old and discontinued, does not have a 1/4" foot. I have a generic one for it but it doesn't rest on the plate of the machine and sometimes it just falls off! So I use a satin foot and move my needle to approximately 1/4" from the right edge of the foot. But I've got 36 half circles to do, so I suspect by #36 I'll have it down. For the time being, I have to rip a few seams.

It's a tale as old as time, no?

Diaper bag fabrics

My second project, which is sitting patiently waiting for me, is a diaper bag. I have the fabric, the notions, the pattern, my proposed alterations, and yet... there it sits. It's always this way. I have three other quilts I'd like to start, but time is ticking on my deadlines and I won't let myself start anything else before I finish these two projects. (Well, I did allow myself to open the Terrain charm pack that Kate Spain herself sent me, just so I could ooh and ahh over the colors.)

Terrain charms

I only have the one charm packs and I was initially thinking about doing this quilt and then I thought about some sort of disappearing nine-patch layout, but I kinda just like them in asymmetrical groupings and a lot of negative space... I think I might go that route if ever I finish the projects above!

As for my blog diet, I'm still refining my thoughts and the scope of the experiment, but I'll probably toss up a post in the next day or so. I initially drafted it on October 21st, so it's been percolating since then. So far, I've had mixed results :)