Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You've Gotta' Have Heart


So I did finish another quilt this Summer. I've talked about my Cast B Family before. We traveled around the world together for a year when we were just a bunch of kids. Now, over 21 years later, they are still some of my best friends and truly my Family. Some of them live right down the street, while most of them live on the other side of the globe but we still keep in touch with each other on an almost daily basis and we get together as a group at least every third year, if not more often. 


Well, back in May we got quite a scare when one of our own had a heart attack on Mothers Day. Thankfully, her family found her in time and was able to save her life. But it was touch and go there for a while and we were rocked to our core. She lives all the way across the country, so I did the only thing I could think of to help. I made her a quilt. 


In secret, I reached out to our entire Cast and implored them all to send a piece of fabric with a message of hope and support for our Castmate. What filled my mailbox brought me to tears. Blocks of all different shapes and sizes with messages and pictures overflowing with love from four different continents decorated my design wall. If people felt like they couldn't get me their messages by the deadline I told them to tell me what they wanted to say and I printed their messages for them. 



Once all of the messages were in, I worked on the layout, housing all of the well wishes inside a heart. The layout was tricky because I was working with all different kinds of fabrics and all different sizes of blocks, but it was a fun puzzle to piece. And now that I think about it, it was actually good practice for my QuiltCon submission. So, in a way, I owe that to her! Since I had two infants and limited space and time, and I wanted this quilt to be big enough for her and her family to snuggle up under together, I decided to Long Arm it and booked a visit with Harley at Sew Modern. Generously, my husband watched the kids one Saturday afternoon so I could sneak away and quilt. 



It quilted up rather quickly. I think it only took two hours. I did a loose stipple and hid some hearts in the quilting as well as a secret message to her and her brave family. Then I bound it and sent it on it's way home with all the love and warmth of our Cast wrapped up with it. She is the heart of our Cast and part of my Family and I love her and am thankful for every breath she breathes. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Peek-A-Boo!

These little monsters are starting to let me up for air. I can hardly believe that they're almost a year old. Only three and a half weeks until their First Birthday. I haven't really written or read anything blog related in that time. They've been keeping my busy. But I have been starting to get into the sewing groove again. 



I was able to sneak away for a portion of the LAMQG annual retreat. It felt so good to hang out with my friends and have some unadulterated sewing time. I focused the entire retreat on a massive Flying Geese project that I recently started. My goal was to get it finished in time to submit it to QuiltCon, but I really want to make this one huge and by the end of retreat I still had about 900 geese to complete so I switched gears and finished an improv quilt that had been lingering in my head and got it turned in before the deadline. 



I've also been focused on getting caught up on old projects, primarily finishing up some charity quilts for the Hope Circle of do. Good Stitches. I had these quilts hostage in a variety of stages ranging to simple clean up needed, like hiding tails, to quilted but unbound, to just a pile of blocks. But I've made a push recently to get them finished so I can ship them all together to Threading Hope in the New Year and make room for new projects. 


My New Years Resolution will definitely be to sew more, and to blog more. But my little monsters come first. And I don't mind that at all. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

No apologies. No excuses. No promises.

It's been a while since I've had the time or energy to blog. And I know that isn't going to change any time soon. But I do miss it around here. So when I can, I'll pop on by. There are two really great reasons that I haven't been around lately. I'd like to introduce you to them: Vaughn (in the necktie) and Dashiel (in the bow tie) joined the world on January 2, 2014. 



I did some sewing, primarily for the babies' room, before they were born, but I didn't have stamina for much else. I got really big, really quick and between the extra weight and my huge belly I really didn't feel much like sewing. I barely had enough energy to even do any hand sewing. I promise I'll start showing some of the few things I did accomplish while I was cooking these kids soon. But for now, I'm trying to sleep when I can and lear how to juggle two little ones at the same time. No apologies. No excuses. No promises.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Learning to Long Arm

If you know me at all you know about my fear of free motion quilting. Thankfully, after taking Elizabeth Hartman's class at QuiltCon and then starting to practice my skills on charity quilts at home that fear has disappeared. Each quilt I work on now helps me gain more confidence and improve my skills. I actually really like free motion quilting now. But there was one more fear out there I needed to conquer: mastering the Long Arm. 

I had been putting off learning how to Long Arm until my free motion skills got better. Right now, I don't branch out much past a basic stipple. But my husband requested that I stipple the Scrappy Trout Along Quilt and I was faced with two options. Now this quilt is a King Sized monster. And it's super heavy thanks to all those seams. There was no way in hell I was going to attempt to quilt this one at home. I know better. Especially with my expanding belly, I knew that for me it would be a nightmare. So I could either send it out to a Long Armer to quilt for me. Or I could bite the bullet and do it myself. I debated vigorously between the two options and eventually decided that now is as good a time as any to teach this old dog a new trick. 

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I signed up for a private lesson on Harley (the resident Long Arm at my favorite LQS, Sew Modern) with my friend Lisa. She taught me everything I needed to know from racking the quilt to threading the machine. I even brought a charity quilt with me for practice. I can't believe how intimidated I was by the Long Arm. I wish I had mustered up the courage earlier to take a lesson because it was so much fun and so much easier than I expected. Quilting on the Long Arm was so much easier and more fluid than trying to free motion on my home machine!

I used my lesson time to learn the basics, like racking my quilt, threading the machine, etc. And then I just practiced stippling. I wasn't ready to get too fancy and I just wanted to get the hang of the machine and how it flowed. Also, my husband requested that I stipple his Scrappy "Trout" Quilt so initially that's all I needed to know. I was able to stipple a small charity quilt on the long arm in about an hour, which was awesome. Now I'm addicted!.

So here's my advice to all you chickens, just like me, that are out there. Take a deep breath and just try the Long Arm. You will be so surprised at just how easy it actually is to work on one. I am mad it took me so long to muster up the courage. It's fun and it's super easy. You'll get the hang of it in no time and be kicking yourself, just like me, that you didn't try it sooner.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Scrappy Trout Quilt Top

So I have slowly been starting to sew again. In fact, this past weekend I took four wonderful days and disappeared off the grid with a few friends so we could spend some quality time together and sew. I had two sewing goals for the weekend: Get caught up on Bee Blocks and finish my Scrappy Trip Along Quilt Top. I started my Scrappy Trout (nicknamed the Trout Quilt by my friend Melissa because the it reminded her of fish scales, which I thought was cool) quite a while ago intended for our couch, but when my husband saw it he really loved it and asked if we could put it on our bed. That meant I needed to make it larger. Then it got pushed to the side as my Spring and Summer started to turn our world upside down. The only sewing I have been able to do at all this entire Summer was commission work with deadlines. And that was quite a chore in my condition. 

Scrappy Trout Quilt Top

When I started to prep for our girls weekend I made a conscious decision to leave all my commission work at home. Let's just call that Work (capital 'W'), since I can't really go back to my real job right now so it's my only source of income at the moment. Instead I only projects I wanted to work (lowercase) on, meaning my Scrappy Trout, my Marathon Quilt, and some delayed bee blocks. 

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The weekend was a complete success! I had lots of laughs, great times with my friends and I came home with an (almost) completed quilt top. I say almost, because, even though it's pretty much the perfect size for our King bed, I decided that I really want to add a solid border. I just love the way these quilts look with a sold border around them. I really think it takes the quilt to another level. So it's almost done. And I feel such a sense of accomplishment, especially since I haven't been able to sew much in the past several months. I can't wait to see this one completed!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Where I've Been

I just returned home from a glorious weekend of sewing. It's more sewing than I've been able to do in months. And there have been some good reasons for that. In the Spring I started doing some commission work for Spring Market, which kept me busy but I wasn't able to share my projects here. Then shortly after, I jetted off to Europe for a month for a friend's wedding in Paris. My husband couldn't take a lot of time off work, so we spent ten days in Italy and a night in Amsterdam before he had to fly back home. Then I continued on to Paris, then London on my own before my journey ended. 


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The whole time we were in Italy I was feeling sick and completely wiped out with exhaustion, which is odd. Well, we discovered in Rome that there was a reason for the way I was feeling. Which is also the reason I haven't been able to blog at all in the past few months. We're pregnant. And when I got home we got the next shocker. We're having twins. So I have been really sick for the past couple months and have not had the stamina or energy to sew anything but a few commission pieces. Finally the fog passed about two weeks ago so I am getting back into the groove, slowly. I plan to do as much sewing as I possibly can for the next few months, or until I get too big to reach the machine. I need to get it all in and fast, as our entire world is about to change. 


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So I appreciate you sticking around while I was away! And I'm glad to be back. Now, it's back to sewing!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Aack! I've been Hacked!

My custom domain name has been hacked... right on the heels of my plans to return to blogging (and explain my absence). While I get this issue resolved, I have converted back to using my original Blogger address and I'l officially claiming it on BlogLovin. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sorry for the inconvenience! Please redirect your feeds temporarily to: http://undercovercrafter.blogspot.com until it's fixed.

Have you missed me? Because I've missed you. But I have a couple good excuses for my absence, I swear.