Tuesday, September 28, 2010

City Weekend

New Stash Additions

I had a big weekend so I didn't get any sewing done. On Friday night we took the red eye from LA to NYC. Saturday was spent catching up with friends here and there before the Big Event on Sunday. Sunday evening we were honored to witness the marriage of our friends Jason and Holly. It was a stunning ceremony in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, under a chuppah spilling over with waves of white orchids. The evening was lovely and well worth the whirlwind trip. I say whirlwind because we were on the first flight back home Monday morning because I had to work yesterday. I am still greatly fatigued but loved every minute. I was even able to steal away for 20 minutes and take a pilgrimage to Purl Soho. Ah how I miss that place!

At first I wasn't going to buy anything until I discovered that they had City Weekend (how appropriate dontcha' think?) in stock! I mean, have you seen it? It is gorgeous! I just had to take some home. I made it out of there with four half yard cuts from the City Weekend line, a half yard of some of Joel Dewbury's Modern Meadow and another half yard of this adorable Japanese linen - I think it's called Bubbles. The little goldfish are so sweet.

Bubbles & Modern Meadow

As I was leaving I spied a pre-cut half yard bundle of some more yummy Japanese fabrics that were calling my name. All in all I didn't do too bad. And my wonderful and amazing fiance even approved. He asked me if I would make a couple pillows for our couch from the City Weekend. I have to say I am soooo in love with City Weekend. I think I am going to have to break down and buy more for my stash. I especially love the orange and teal color way. It is so perfectly me. I am in love for sure!

Yummy Japanese Half Yard Bundle

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sewn Together September Blocks


I have been so busy with bees and swaps lately! In the Sewn Together Bee this month Amy asked for a Modified Bento Box that she is going to use to make a lap quilt for her Father-In-Law for Christmas.


One of the things I love about participating in Bees is stepping outside of your comfort zone and working with new materials and learning new blocks and techniques. I don't have any batiks in my fabric stash. They're generally not my style but I loved making these blocks for Amy. She sent me a variety of reds, greens and blues.


I decided to go as monochromatic, if you will, rather than mix the greens and the reds together. I guess that's where my design aesthetic shows. September blocks are done! I'm ready for October.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Update

WIP Pumpkins for the SavVy {Seasons} Swap

Phew! I got a lot accomplished during my Unadulterated Sewing Extravaganza. Saturday morning I stayed in bed until 9:30 am. I wish I could say that I slept in, but the boy was very loud as he was trying to do last minute packing for his trip. Thankfully, he was sweet enough to make me coffee and bring it to me in bed. I didn't leave the house at all on Saturday. It was blissful! And I also didn't kill myself to get everything on my To Do List done either. I took it leisurely. In fact, I ended up switching gears on what I thought I was going to make for my partner in the SavVy {Seasons} Swap and took it in a slightly different direction than I originally intended.

Sunday morning included a trip to the craft store to pick up some supplies, and use some coupons - I had to get notions and tools for the IBOL package. Then, I settled into the house for more sewing and movie watching. I finally saw Inglorious Bastards and it was great - but there were so many subtitles that I had to ditch the sewing machine in favor of a little hand sewing on the couch.

WIP Pincushion #2 for the Scrappy Pincushion Swap

After my massage, I evaluated where things stood and cleaned up my space, after I heard that my wonderful and amazing fiancé was going to come home a night early. I wanted the house to look nice for him, so I took a bunch of stuff that required hand work and crawled into bed to catch up on the end of the last season of Dexter (before the new season starts this weekend).

Presents for the SavVy {Seasons} Swap Garland

All in all I didn't get everything on my To Do List finished but I did make a good dent and prioritizing helped me finish, or nearly finish, the projects I need to get out the door first.

To Do List {Progress}:

1) Scrappy Pincushion Swap - Check! I finished my original pincushion for my partner on Saturday morning but I wasn't 100% satisfied with it so I made her a second pincushion. That one is 90% done. I just need to hand stitch on the closing panel and I want to add a {removable} wrist strap and add some embellishments.

"Bliss" Snail Trail Pincushion

2) SaVvy {Seasons} Swap – I’m 40% of the way there. I made her some stuffed pumpkin table toppers. The pumpkins are together, I just need to finish the embellishments and then add the stems. I also started on a stuffed Christmas tree table topper. This needs embellishments and I need to finish off the bottom. I also started “wrapping” the fabric presents I will be using in the garland I am making her. And I sewed together the candy canes for the garland but they need to be stuffed. I finished a pin cushion for her made from the selvedges of the holiday fabrics I am using in her garland. And she’s getting some homemade ornaments. Since we don’t celebrate Christmas around our house I went a little crazy.



SavVy {Seasons} Swap Holiday Pincushion (Both Sides)

3) IBOL – Check-ish! I bought a bunch or notions and sewing tools for my package. I just need to add some fabric and I am ready to ship this puppy out.

4) Studio Space – This one got placed on the To Do Later list, since there is no deadline to get the space done.

5) Jill's Bag – I should have finished this one but, unfortunately, I didn’t touch it. Silly. It was an easy one for me to complete.

Extra Added Bonus for my SavVy {Seasons} Swap Partner

6) Massage – Check! Oh yeah! It was good and so necessary!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Unadulterated Sewing Extravaganza To Do List

Some of my fabric for the SavVy Season Swap

This has been a rough week at work. It's been a string of long nights back to back, getting home after midnight on some so I am definitely looking forward to my Unadulterated Sewing Extravaganza this weekend! I have so many projects on my agenda.

To Do List:
1) Scrappy Pincushion Swap... I have been working on a pincushion I think my partner will love, but it's turning out a little smaller than I expected so I think I will be making her two pincushions. I always had that thought in the back of my mind BUT today as I was stalking her I had another idea strike so, partner, this might be your lucky day!

2) SaVvy {Seasons} Swap... Oh partner, do I have something in mind for you. I have this idea in my head that has been percolating but I haven't had any time to test it out. I finally got in all the fabrics I ordered just for this project and I can't wait to see if I can actually execute it the way I have it in my head. Then I have a few other surprises up my sleeve for you. I have to say I am so super excited about this one! There is one hitch - I can't find one of the packages of fabric that I ordered for this project. I know it is in the house somewhere. I couldn't have gone far. Oh partner, if you are reading this, just look at some of the delicious fabrics I'm using...

3) IBOL... I am going to put together my donation for Iraqi Bundles of Love. There is still time to make your own bundle. The cut off date for sending is October 1st.

4) Studio Space... I've been talking about turning our garage into my studio space. It's not all going to happen in one weekend, but I did buy supplies last week to make my own design wall so I am hoping to get that done before I'm back to work on Monday.

5) Jill's Bag... I promised my friend Jill that I would make her a messenger bag. The fabric is cut, so at least I've made a little progress. I hope to get that finished up this weekend too.

6) Massage... My old boss gave me a gift certificate for a massage a while back and after all think sewing I think Sunday night will be the perfect time to cash it in. Don't you?

What's on your To Do List for this weekend?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Call Me Overcommitted

It's a short one today and I'm sorry to say no pictures. I know I hate that! But I just wanted to share that I just joined up with another bee. I know, call me crazy, but it's another charity bee and I am passionate about making things for those in need. It's a little way I can give back. If you're a reader of my blog this will come as no surprise to you. If you're interested in learning more about the project you can check out our blog A Dozen Quilters. I've also submitted a little "Getting to Know You" to the site so you can learn a little more about me there.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

do. Good Stitches September Blocks


I mentioned yesterday that it's difficult for me to find time to sew during the week, although sometimes I am able to squeeze in a few precious moments. Sadly, my weekends don't look much better. On the weekends, if I'm not working, I try and pack in as much quality time as I possibly can with my wonderful and amazing fiance. He sees so little of me during the week that we try and squeeze in as much time together as we can come Saturday and Sunday. Since my studio space isn't ready yet, I keep my machine in the dining room. It actually works out pretty well that way because if he wants to catch a couple innings of the baseball game I can just whip out the machine and get a few stitches done. Our dining room is connected to our living room so we're still in the same space together.

This past weekend I had one of those moments, but I figured I would put my scrappy pin cushion to the side until I could concentrate on it this weekend during my "Unadulterated Sewing Extravaganza" (that's what I'm calling it now) and instead I would get my blocks done for this month's Hope Quilt in the do. Good Stitches Bee. The Hope circle supports the charity Threading Hope which provides a quilt to children in need around the globe.

Krista asked for a slightly wonky, square within a square in blues, greens and whites. Her theory is that there are a lot of quilts out there in pinks and florals but it's probably harder to find quilts out there made for boys. I took this as an opportunity to dip into my stash of Alexander Henry (Spotted Owls and Entertaining Elephants) and Riley Blake (Wheels) that I have been saving for a little boy quilt. They're both finished at 12.5" square and they're off in the mail.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Finding Time to Work

It's not always easy for me to find time to sew. I often work late nights at the office and on the nights I am able to get home at a decent hour my wonderful and amazing fiance and I usually grab some dinner and share a few moments together. I hesitate to call it "Quality Time" because I am usually tired and stressed out when I come home from work and my poor fiance has to hear all about it. On the rare occasion that a) I get home from work before 9 pm and b) said wonderful and amazing fiance is out for the evening (he plays hockey with the boys every Wednesday night and wouldn't you know, that's usually the nights I have to stay late - Murphy's Law) then I will get a little bit of quality time with me and the sewing machine. It doesn't happen often.


Surprisingly I was able to sneak in a few random moments with my machine late last week and I started playing around with an idea I have for my partner in the Scrappy Pincushion Swap happening over on Flickr. I was able to get two test panels done. Unfortunately I wasn't very happy with either of them. I didn't use a pattern for the first panel. This is pretty typical for me. When I see a design I like I usually try to figure it out on my own, like a puzzle. It started to come together alright but something seemed a little off. Then, I realized that I laid out backward. Ugh. That doesn't work.

I found a pattern when I attempted to make the second pattern. Which worked really well UNTIL I got to the last round. Something was very off with my triangles. Sigh. That's about all the time I had to work so I, frustratedly, put the project away. I did bring it out one time this weekend, but only to rip out the last row on the second panel. I'll get to fixing and finishing it later. This weekend my wonderful and amazing fiance will be out of town so I am looking forward to an entire weekend of pure, unadulterated sewing. My swap partners better look out!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ruthie's Quilt is Done!

Sorry I've been quiet for a couple days. Between work and Rosh Hashanah it's been a busy week. L'shanah tovah to all my friends out there in the blogosphere.


I finished the quilt for Ruthie's soon-to-be-born baby! Yippee! I actually finished it over the weekend but I haven't had a chance to get pictures up until today. This quilt definitely taught me some much needed lessons, like measure twice and cut first, but only after you've quilted! I must say I am really pleased with how it turned out. It's going to be hard to give this one up, but I can't wait to meet the little one to whom it belongs. Little him or her should be here very, very soon. I really enjoyed the process of making this quilt as well as the overall aesthetic. I think I will be making many more of these in my future.




Ruthie's Quilt is finished at approximately 38.5" x 38.5". I used the tutorial found here at Crazy Mom Quilts. If you want to make the baby sized version like I did, I ended at Week 6. So the materials needed will be less than in the tutorial, obviously. I'll get back to you with exact numbers if you're interested. The Yellow and Green fabrics are from the Hello Betty line by Chloe's Closet for Moda. The sashing is Moda Bella in Bleached White. The backing is a single cut of Amelia Stripe by Timeless Treasures and the binding is Kona in Banana.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Swap Fever

I hopped aboard the swap train Big Time! I started stalking my partner in the Scrappy Pincushion Swap and I have a few ideas of what to make that partner. I just need to decide. Hmmm... what to do? What to do?

I am anxiously awaiting my secret partner assignment in the SavVy {Seasons} Swap. I know that Heather is in the process of sending them out as we speak because the group message boards are buzzing with people who have just received theirs. I can't wait to get mine because I am so excited to start some more stalking. Yippee! Just in case my secret partner decides to stalk me here on my blog I'll share the mosaic I posted on the Flickr group.

SavVy {Seasons} Swap Mosaic

I also joined up with the Modern Swappers. Their next round starts September 10th so there is still time to sign up if you want to join in the fun.

I officially have Swap Fever and I think it's contagious! Any other great swaps gearing up out there I should know about?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thrifty Finds

Last weekend my future sister-in-law was out visiting us, which always means thrifting! She owns an awesome little vintage clothing store in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn called Fluke (if you're in the area you really should check her out). Usually she times her visits in conjunction with the Rose Bowl Swap Meet but this time she decided to check out a new Swap Meet that recently started on occasional Sundays at Dodger Stadium. Overall there weren't many great finds. The Swap Meet is still small and in the establishing phase - although there is a great food truck concession area! But I managed to find something special... a 1926 Singer in the original sewing cabinet! It's gorgeous and it was dirt cheap. (Forgive the crappy pictures in this post. I took them on the fly with bad lighting!)

Singer circa 1926

The sellers didn't know if it worked or not, in fact they barely knew how to get it in and out of the cabinet so I had to show them. Since they weren't sure about the functionality of the machine I decided that if I was going to buy it I would have to look at it as a piece of art so how much was that worth to me? The best part was, my wonderful and fabulous fiance was actually the one who talked me into buying it. He thought it was cool and beautiful and would look good in my sewing space even if it never worked. Awwww. Every once in a while he supports my sewing habit!

We got it home and plugged it in and were pleasantly surprised to discover that the motor actually works! Now, just because the motor runs doesn't mean the machine works, yet. There is a disconnect currently between the motor and the needle, but I was able to turn the needle by hand, so another small victory. I think this machine just needs some love. I'm going to spend a little time with some oil and elbow grease trying to clean it up and clear off some of the rust. Then I'll take it into my favorite sewing machine repair shop and see if they can tune her up. Keep your fingers crossed! Not bad for a Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, if I do say so myself.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The {Why} of Our Craft

Yesterday Rachel, of Stitched In Color, posed an interesting question on her blog. (And if you're not familiar with her you should be!) She wanted to know Why? Why handmade? What got us started? What keeps us going? Why is it worth it? There is so much personal investment in handmade things. It's an investment of time, energy, money... Many people, or I dare to say MOST people, think it's so much easier to simply go out and purchase a new bag or dress or quilt than to actually make one. So why do those of us out there in the crafting community do it?

I can tell you my whys. They might be the same as yours, or they might be very different. There was something about Rachel's simple question that resonated with me. I have been creating since childhood. My Grandma Patsy was the most amazing crocheter I have ever met. She was prolific. Maybe because she was trying to find an outlet to escape from her bad marriage or perhaps it was because her afghans were the ultimate expression of her love for the people who received them. I think it was a little bit of both.

As a child, I idolized my grandmother and I would beg her constantly to impart her knowledge to me. And one day she did. Crocheting was my first love, but sewing was a close second. I took both of these skills with me through my teenage years and into adulthood. All thanks to Grandma.

I absolutely love working with my hands. There is a passion inside me that stirs when I create something. Even when I am working on the tedious stuff I hate, like cutting a pattern or pinning a quilt sandwich, I still feel connected and invested in the project before me. I love to create. I love the pride that wells up inside me when I finish a project and step back and look at what I made. I am acutely aware of every ounce of passion and love and frustration and pain that was poured into that piece. And that makes it all worth it. Even if no one else recognizes it.

We live in a society of instant gratification. If we see something we want we can simply buy it. But when you create something, when you make something by hand, you become aware of just what it takes to put something into being. And I believe that it makes that thing, that object, more special and appreciated than if it was come by more easily. I know that when I receive something handmade it makes me love it even more because I know the time, energy andemotion that went in to create it.

Lastly, I keep it going because I love it but also because I don't want to lose the connection to the past. My past and the past we share as humans. Not so long ago, everything was made by hand, with love but also out of necessity. That art, that foundation, that humanity is quickly being lost as we leap forward with such immense speed into the modern age of machines and technology. So ever time I see a young person express interest in keeping these arts alive it excites me. And it forever keeps me connected to my Grandmother, my immediate, personal past and a generational knowledge passed down.

Which, I suppose, is a good segue into something else I wanted to talk about today. AnneMarie, over at Gen X Quilters is trying to keep the young passion alive and provide a place for 20 and 30 something quilters to connect. I was profiled over there today. Check it out and help AnneMarie grow the community. As younger lovers of all things handmade I believe we have an excellent opportunity to ensure that these material arts thrive and remain a part of our human culture. They only way to keep it alive is to continue to do, share and create.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blonde Moment

Seriously, I am not as dumb as my blog posts from this week have made me seem but I sure have been having a lot of blonde moments lately. No offense to any blondes out there. I'm actually a natural blonde underneath all the crazy colors! This particular blonde moment came this weekend. I had noticed that it had been rather quiet on our message board for the Red and Aqua 2 Bee. Usually, as the end of the month nears, the board lights up with the new block for the upcoming month. I thought it was so odd that no one had posted instructions yet. Until I realized why... Yep this was MY month. Serious Blonde Moment. Now, in my defense, my original month was supposed to be October and I even have it on my calendar, but we had someone drop out of the bee recently and her month was September so everyone shifted up a month. And I didn't realize until Saturday. Yikes! Thankfully, I knew the design I wanted AND I had all the fabric waiting in my stash but it needed to be cut and sent out like yesterday. And wouldn't you know, this week is a hell of a week at work so time has not been on my side. The goal was to get everything in the mail on Monday. That didn't happen. But I did get it out on Tuesday after coming home at 10 PM on Monday night and cutting my little heart out. So I guess this week is all about sharing all of my mistakes with everyone out there. I feel so exposed.

Red & Aqua 2 Bee September Fabrics

I am excited about these blocks, though. I am having everyone make me a Quatrefoil Block from this tutorial on the Modify Tradition Blog. I provided enough fabric for everyone to be able to make choices about fabric placement and to make two blocks if they have the time and desire. I can't wait to see how they come together!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mistake #4... Yes, you heard me... 4!


So after my "Stupid, Stupid!" moment in my adventures of sandwiching Ruthie's quilt I finally got down to quilting the darn thing. I decided early on that I wanted to do straight line quilting on the diagonal. Initially I had planned to criss-cross across each diagonal but three rows across I decided to abandon that plan - not because I don't think it would look cool (I totally do!) but because time is of the essence on this one. If I had a little more time I would have gone full force and created a cool X shape across the quilt but I really like the simplicity of the single angle diagonal. This change means that I need to rip out two rows of stitches (chalk it up to Mistake #4) but I thought that would be less time consuming than all the additional quilting.


I decided to stitch my lines straight through the corners of each square. To make sure my lines stayed straight through the sashing (I could eyeball the straight lines on the squares pretty well) I used my handy dandy ruler and my disappearing ink fabric pen. Worked like a charm and had it quilted in practically no time at all.


Up next: The Binding! Woot! My second favorite part, after piecing, of course. I had debated the binding here. And Natalie actually had a great suggestion for the binding. She suggested using a colored fabric with white polka dots to contrast the white of the sashing. I adored this suggestion and I searched high and low at a nearby fabric store for yellow fabric with white dots. Nothing! In fact the ONLY colored fabric with white dots they had (and there was truly only one) totally clashed with the backing fabric and the polka dots were too big for binding. Truly disappointing. Instead I settled for some Kona Banana for the binding, which won't be as good as Natalie's suggestion but it'll do.


The binding is on and now all I have left is to hand sew it on. And believe me after the week that I have already been having at work I need all the hand sewing I can get to help center me!

Oh! And if you haven't already hop on over to I'm Just A Guy Who Quilts Blog. Ryan is hosting an amazing giveaway... An AccuQuilt GO! cutter. Check it out!