Sunday, September 20, 2009

some more quilting injuries

So, seriously. I'm kind of an old lady. In a lot of ways, but most recently because I keep getting muscle spasms I think as the result of quilting for hours upon hours the past few Sundays. I have been so happy having extended periods of time to be at home, to be creative, to make some dinner, and to get to bed early. As relaxing as that sounds (and is) my neck and back apparently don't like it so much and I've been pretty darn stiff. Oh well. The sacrifices we make for creativity! :)

No pictures right now because I just realized that I left my cord at work. But, I'll have some pictures of my most recent project and our trip to the Baltimore/Sox game this weekend!

I'm going to work on a little bit of decorating this week. This place has been too beige for too long!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So, it's been awhile...

The past month has been CRAZY! My work is based around the school calendar, so the end of the summer and the beginning of September is just a lot of running around. I've realized though that padding the bad, stressful, work stuff with positive things makes life much more bearable and enjoyable. With my new sewing space I've constantly been working on things, but I don't necessarily have much finished product to show for it. I'm okay with that, though.

These fabrics are for a gift for someone close to me - not going to say in case he/she is looking at this! I'm trying out AmandaJean's triangle-free zig zag quilt but one thing I found challenging is that I sort of had to cut out all of the fabric and then decide on the layout before i could start piecing together. I like projects where I can sort of "sew as I go" so this one didn't fit the bill so much. I also learned after buying this fabric, that colors can look very different in real life than online. I still like it, but I'm not so sure that all of the fabrics go together as well as I thought they would, especially being part of the same collection. I'm committing to buying fabrics in person from now on. I much prefer feeling them, and putting them next to others anyway, than just buying a collection of stuff online. Also, there's no sunlight in my apartment, so these pictures are pretty much horrible. That being said, the multitude of fabric sale emails I get every day will probably sway me back to buying online again eventually. I can't wait to show my current project. It's basted and almost ready to start quilting - once I peel it off my kitchen floor! More to come...
Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

my new "studio"

I finally have my sewing area up and running. Having this extra space in the kitchen was a major draw to this apartment and thanks to my generous friend Desie, I finally have a suitable table for my machine. It's so nice to sew in between stirring things on the stove, or just having my machine out to work on things a little at a time. Last night in Boston was horribly hot and maybe not the best night to make homemade spicy black bean soup or to iron fabric for an upcoming project. I did it anyway and just sweated it out. It was worth it. I'm thankful to Buddy for helping me put my desk together and to Desie for giving it to me! Now, I just need some color up on the wall - and maybe some batting for my very first design wall!

Another first for me, I just picked out my new glasses yesterday! I'm sort of excited about them, and even though they're technically pink I think it's subtle. You may also be able to see the sticker too - 50% off! Isn't it great when the thing you like most just happens to also be on the sale rack? Hopefully these will help my eyes during all my blog scrolling and sewing. :)

Thanks for looking!

Friday, August 7, 2009

blogging injury

So...after boasting my whole life about having excellent vision, the time has finally come that I need glasses. I've been getting horrible headaches - they last on average for about 10 hours - and my eyes just feel like they're working so hard to see as well as they used to. Oh well. I only need them for reading and being on the computer, but I'm sure that I'll need them sewing as well. I don't really have a problem with this since I just want to feel better. My sister says that sewing hurt my vision, but in actuality, it's probably reading and scrolling through so many blogs.

I don't regret it. People don't really know that there is such a big quilt blog community out there, and are surprised when I tell them how many I follow. Yes, maybe it's a bit much, but it's become something that really inspires me in my own projects and gets me excited about learning new techniques. I really admire all the women that share their thoughts and ideas with others and will just continue to follow their blogs from behind my new frames!

This is a sneak peak of a project I'm working on. I think I loved it more at the beginning stage than at the middle stage I'm at now, but hopefully by the end I'll be in love again. We'll see!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

nerd alert!

I had some really nerdy exciting quilting news the other day, but I don't have too many people to share it with! The other day, I realized after being CONVINCED that I can't drop the feed dogs on my machine that I actually can! I just figured I'd never really be able to try free motion quilting and might just have to get a new machine some day to expand my quilting options. I was so excited and Buddy was happy for me too, especially when I explained to him what feed dogs are. He's really interested in how a sewing machine technically works, and I honestly have little clue. Well, he's amazing and empathic and really takes an interest in things I'm excited about. I couldn't ask for more. So, now, I think I'm going to try some free-motion stuff. Seems intimidating and painful at first but sounds like with a lot of practice it gets easier.

Well, I don't have a photo on this computer of projects I'm working on right now, so I'll just leave with a "I wish I was there" picture. This is where I go to in my mind when everything in life is stressful and I have knots in my back and shoulders so bad they actually frighten massage therapists. I think island life is much healthier for me than city life...

Thanks for looking!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A quilt for Lev

It's been a long time since I've blogged, but it's been a crazy month - both at work and outside of work. I actually made this quilt awhile back but just recently got pictures of the baby with the quilt, which is my favorite part. I mentioned previously that I work with all women, and a lot of crafty women at that. It's nice to make a gift for someone who I know will get a lot of use out of it but will also really understand and appreciate all the work that goes into making it. Leah has been a good friend to me since I started working and a really great mom to Lev as well.

My challenge for this project was that the baby's sex was a game-day surprise and I also wanted to make something really bold and not too stereotypically baby-ish. I absolutely fell in love with David Walker's Robots collection for Free Spirit when I saw it in person and matched it with some other coordinating fabrics. I figured that planets are fine for boys or girls and since we work for a girl-serving agency I shouldn't worry about gender stereotypes anyway.

I based this quilt on the Happy Hour pattern, which I fell in love with instantly and have really enjoyed the different versions I've seen other people make as well. I didn't do any interesting quilting on this one - just around each of the squares and rectangles. I'm happy with how it came out and am even happier that they get a lot of use out of it.
I'm working on a bigger project right now and am going to start my Christmas projects soon (crazy!), so hopefully I'll have more to share soon.
Thanks for looking!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

blogging from a distance

It's been a busy couple of weeks - I bought a car last Tuesday, moved in with Buddy on Wednesday and then came out to Montana on Thursday. That's a lot of things to happen all at once, and a really long time to be away from my sewing machine! Especially considering that when I get back home, for the first time, I will have a whole permanent sewing area of my house all to myself! Once I get that (and the apartment) set up I'll share some pictures.

So now we're in MT and the trip is going really well. It's nice to inhale and not be grossed out by all the city crap you're breathing in - it's the small things, really. haha. Here are some more reasons why I love Montana:

Me and Buddy's mom tried to go to a few quilt shops nearby and one said "closed permanently" on the door and the other is on sale so they didn't have much of a selection. How amazing would it be to own a quilt shop?? Anyway, I'm not quite there yet. I'm surprised there aren't more places around here though since quilting seems pretty common. Oh well.
Buddy's sister gave me a Celtic quilting book for Christmas a few years ago and I never shared the pictures of it with her! So here it is, pretty small, and my first stab at applique. Looking at this project from one year ago I'm amazed at how much I've learned and improved in the past year - the binding and stitching on this is horrible! haha. At least you can only really tell that up close.

It was the perfect project for being stuck indoors on a rainy beach vacation last summer. My SIL suggested I make a whole big quilt made out of these smaller appliqued blocks, but I was just so happy to finish a project that I decided to leave it as a small wall hanging - about 14"X14". She's right, it would be really nice, but I have so many unfinished projects as it is! Maybe that would be a good project for later on in life - when I'm better at hand applique and I have more patience! :)
Thanks for looking!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Some bright colors for a rainy month

This is a quilt I made in a Curvalishish class at Cambridge Quilt Shop with a family friend. I was intimidated about sewing curved pieces, but this method was pretty easy and I loved that it was all free-hand with my rotary cutter. The hardest part about this quilt was choosing how the blocks would be laid out. I nearly went crazy, it was like a sudoku puzzle - this green shouldn't be next to this other green, but this purple is above this other purple. It was fun and I love how it came out. I also got to use up a lot of fabrics that I really like but that had been hanging around for awhile.

This picture is so awful - I didn't realize how much the creases were going to show! I just want to smooth it out!!

I have been thinking lately about how my closet can be such a good place for quilt color combo inspiration. This quilt is a good example since it's made up of all my typical go-to colors. Nettie wrote about this same type of idea, getting inspiration from her dishes. I guess we all have colors we're drawn to, but my current project strays from my "usual" quite a bit. More on that to come...

This is my favorite block of them all. Every block is unique which was fun to put all together. I loooove this navy fabric. I feel so bad because I cannot remember the designer's name for the life of me (if you know, please tell me!), but I went back and bought a whole yard to have "just in case." Edit: the above fabric that I love so much is by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit. It's from the Park Slope collection. I just found it on sale here, but I really can't justify buying even MORE for my stash! :)

I used this batik for the backing. It's from Jo-Ann's Indonesian batik line. They're starting to have some higher quality fabrics it seems, which is nice because I can still use my coupon!

Thanks for looking!

p.s. what a difference taking the photographs outside makes! You all are so smart! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Okay, technology, here I come!

Okay, uploading pictures is really not that hard, so I'm glad I finally got around to doing it! I really want to share with you my most recent (finished) project and then I'll show you some more stuff later. I work at an all-women's office, where most people are in their 20s and 30s. Them's baby-makin years so I have really enjoyed making a few baby quilts in the past few months. They're so quick and easy and a good chance to try out a new pattern (and use up some scraps!) I was happy to know the gender for this quilt - although a gender neutral quilt is kind of a fun challenge too! I love a pieced back and never even thought of that before finding Amandajean's blog. My mom thought I was a genius, but it seems like most people do that these days - and I love it! It's almost double-sided this way. I got to use up a lot of scraps and fabrics I've had hanging around for a long time. I hope the new mom (and baby Celia) love this as much as I do!

This one really shows the quilting. This was the first time I didn't stitch-in-the-ditch and I'll never go back to that. I used painters tape as a guideline and it was pretty easy! I can't lower the feed dogs on my machine, but once I have some time I'm going to play around with some different quilting styles. In the mean time, I love the way this came out and couldn't believe until I did it how much the quilting can really add to the quilt. I love how crinkly it is too after washing it. Next time I'll make sure the creases aren't so obvious from when I folded it!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I didn't forget about my new blog...

So I was soooo gung-ho and excited about the blog, got it all set up and haven't even put up anything worth seeing yet! I swear it's coming. It's a good thing I got some pictures taken over the weekend because the forecast in Boston is rain for the next week! I'll get them up tomorrow hopefully. My big sewing project of the moment is organizing all of my fabric for my big move! I'm sort of afraid of what my boyfriend will think when he sees how much fabric I REALLY own! :) I have a hard time thinking about leaving some stuff behind, but let's be honest, a lot of it is just junky stuff I got on sale at Jo-ann's back when I worked there and hadn't yet discovered the MAJOR difference between cheap and nice fabrics. I received an order I placed on and was a little surprised at how the colors look in person. That's what I get for being a sucker for those sales! It's like if they offer free shipping, then it's like the same as going to the store, minus actually having to get off my butt and go. But there is something soooo different about going to the shop and feeling the fabrics and seeing the colors next to each other. It's really my favorite part, so I think I ought to get away from this online stuff. Yeah right! Maybe I'll just do both. So much for saving up my money... Recession? What?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Waiting for the sun to come out

Hello! So this is my first post on this blog. I started another blog on a different site, but am finding blogspot a little easier to handle. I'm eager to post pictures of quilts I have recently made and some projects I currently have going on, but using a flash indoors at night doesn't quite capture the colors in the right way. Anyway, I'm really excited to be blogging, especially since the highlight of my day is checking out updates on all the blogs that I follow. I can't say that I'll be able to update quite so often as others, but I hope this will help me be motivated to finish up some unfinished projects and share some ideas with others too.