Thursday, February 4, 2016

a Completely Honest Sewing Room post

So, this last weekend I was all excited about the fabric I had received from Connecting Threads that I just had to sit down and make some Disappearing Hourglass blocks.  About one and a half blocks into it, John walks in the room and says, "What are you doing?"  Uhhhhhhhh.... (goes my brain) "Sewing?"  I answer, wondering where this is going.  He looks around my sewing space (about 10' x 8' room that is PACKED with stuff, mostly in piles) and says to me, "When was the last time you sat down and made a list of what you haven't finished?  If you want to feel better about your organization and time spent quilting, you may want to look into it" and then turns and walks out.  Subtle, but effective that man is.  You may be picking up that we had been having conversations about never feeling like things get finished.  But look at all the things I've done in the last couple weeks!
 
https://auribuzz.wordpress.com/
Aurifil BOM-click on photo to visit the website

I laid out a Valentine's herringbone table runner, which is now wrapped up in that towel and under my cutting table


Two more Snapshots QAL blocks done, only 4 to go!

The National Rifle Association is hosting a banquet with a theme of Guns and Roses and I plan to donate this to their auction.  The banquet is on the 13th of February, 11 days away.

My tumbler-leader/ender project is making great strides!  I even added more pieces to my darks and lights.  This will eventually be a REALLY busy and fun quilt.  My tumblers are 2.5"...
 
So here's the skinny:
 
I made a list of how many projects I have tops of, or piles of fabric for, or that are even partly quilted and just need to be finished, and I have filled the 20 lines on my sheet!  That's just the ones I can remember!!!  Holy Cow!  I truly thought I was doing better than that, I thought I was closer to 10.  You know what though?  This is a good thing, as I obviously have enough projects to keep me busy for a couple months then I can set up achievable milestones for myself.  I am going through my sheet and prioritizing the projects (such as Susie's birthday present which I had wanted done at least in her birthday month, urg, too late now) and am writing down target dates to finish them by in a little calendar my grandma gave me for Christmas.  My plan is to whittle my list down to 10 before starting a new project.  I believe it to be achievable because all my projects are at different stages in the quilting process and so if I get tired of one stage, I can switch to another WIP but still be working on this list.
 
Here's the rest of my open honesty today, behold my stuffed sewing space!
 
View from the seat at the sewing machine.

This is what is directly behind me, the Macy's bag is where I put my cut-offs of fabric.  This is my cutting table... it's hard to be efficient in this mess.

The hardest thing is that my little haven is so overwhelming when you walk in, that John doesn't often venture in to visit. I adore my husband, and want to be around him as much as possible, but he won't stick around when I'm sewing.  The cat's barely come in here too, how bad is that?  I think they are afraid of being buried.
 
I have come to the conclusion that John is very much in the right, and I need to restructure myself, and my room (obviously...) so that I can feel GREAT about sewing for others, and for myself.  I love this hobby, and am limited on space, so some things will need to change if I want to keep this up.  Thank you for letting me share these thoughts with you today, do you have any ideas that might help me along?  Or do I just need to buckle down and make things happen?  I appreciate any assistance I can get :)
 
~Brandy
 
By the way, here's what started all this in motion:
 
 
 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mid-January update

Ah-choo!  Okay, right now, be thankful you're on that side of the screen my friends, because whatever ails me does NOT need to be in your house.  Poor John, he's getting as much sleep as I am with these sneezy-coughing fits.  I thought this stuff was supposed to leave after about a week?  But really, 3 weeks is pushing it...  Well, I hope you are all healthy and making progress on your quilting projects.  I am having a case of Oh look a butterfly!
 
No forward progress happening on my table runner, I ended up starting on the birthday quilt for my niece Susie who turned 5 yesterday.  I have the top finished and am working on the jeans for the backing.  I believe I have deconstructed 8 pairs of jeans, and I probably only needed 4 or so, but why not get ahead a little, right?
Some of the "parts" of the quilt
 
Thomas playing with the little strings, I had a rough time getting him out from under the top.
 

The block is Burgoyne Surrounded, I didn't follow any directions just drew it out and figured the measurements on my graph paper.
The multicolored fabric is from the Christmas exchange we had at our guild last month, where I received that fabric, a notepad that says "Brilliant Ideas", plus a really neat cross-stitch that someone made in 2015 but they didn't sign it.  It's a picture of a lady hand-quilting in a rocking chair and will grace my sewing area, as soon as I clean up.
 
I finished my block lotto block the day after guild.  That is the fastest I have ever made a block, and I'm excited for the new way we are doing the lotto.  Mary changed it up so instead of one person winning all the blocks brought in, if we bring a block we can bring a fat quarter and then the winner gets a pile of fat quarters and the blocks will go to our children's charity group.  You can see the full design of the quilt Mary came up with on her blog post.  I think the idea is that people are more likely to make the blocks in the hopes of winning fabric, and bonus, we will have blocks to work with at our Sew-Ins!
 
 
I also made the Aurifil block for this month, which can be found here.  I did not follow Heather's directions... I have issues with fabric prints not matching up so I figured out how to make it work so I didn't have to worry about it.  Next time I'll even pay attention to how I'm sewing the blocks together!  I still really enjoy how it turned out though.  And I'm very excited that the color-way they are encouraging this year is blue and white, my favorite!
 
 
My kitty share this post is not the happiest, the week after Christmas they got to visit the doctor for their annual check up.  Our biggest learning experience is that we need to take those two for car rides more often, so I don't get this look again:
Belle has the most pitiful "mew" when she is sad, and the 10 minute drive was HORRID for John and I.  However, they are both perfectly healthy and that is what counts in the end!  Belle has gained a pound, is up to 7.5, and Thomas has gained 4 pounds, up to 14.  Dr. Fazzari says if he keeps gaining like that we'll have to figure out a different eating arrangement for them, but that since he has such a big frame his weight is healthy.  Same with Belle's little frame.  So, besides the emotional strain on their owners the vet visit went well.
 
Oh, and since I've been so into changing other people's quilt patterns to suit my own needs I thought following this pattern writing series will be right up my alley.  Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is good at explaining steps clearly, and I've seen a number of the ladies who will be pitching in ideas along the way, and they are also great.  I am very much looking forward to what I will learn from them.
 
 
 
Now, it's time for us to take a nap, even if it is 4:30pm...
~Brandy

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve 2015

I have been doing pretty well organizing myself the last few days, and have made some good progress on the table runner.  It's actually at a point that I can baste and quilt it, but now I need space to tape it down for the basting.  Which involves cleaning off a table... we will see if that happens this morning.
 
The top of the French Braid table runner completed.  Loving how striking the colors are.

This is how I pass the time until the Seahawks play.  Also, check out my NEW JERSEY!!

I pieced the back with the strips cut off the sides of the runner when I squared it up.  I would like to make a larger version of this, again, very striking.
I also found in my organizing my Mini Stitch that I had started summer 2015 and got that pulled together for a completed top.
The pattern was fun to work with, it's also mini sized so assumes you know what you're doing basically.  Not many instructions.  You can find Mini Stitch and more mini patterns at Fig Tree & Co's website here.

This is going to make the best wall hanging, I am very excited to have it ready to quilt.  I picked colors that make me happy and will stay interesting to me.  Some of them will also bring back some memories, but as I haven't made a lot of quilts most of this fabric is just from my stash.

And I completed mom's Christmas present the day after, but it sure turned out nice!  And she is very excited to have a sewing project bag of her own, she has really been picking the sewing back up lately (I may be causing some of that...), even made 12 Seahawks hotpads for Christmas gifts, and 4 pillowcases!


This fabric is so pretty, I got it at the shop in Bonner's Ferry when we went to Montana.  I keep hoping to find it in blue for myself.
Another chance to practice my FMQ, I did not mark this feather, just made it happen, and filled in the gaps with pebbles..
I am learning the best way to install my tags is to wait until I'm finished and sew it on the seam afterwards.  I redid this one 3 times before I figured that out!
 
I have to laugh at myself, I have made this project bag at least 7 times, and I make it differently every time.  I have been making notes on the last 2, and taking pictures, I'm hoping to pull it all together into a tutorial for you all.  And to help myself be more precise and timely in the construction.  What is taking the most time (and I'm pretty sure I said this before) is the quilting.  I keep using these bags as my practice pieces for free-motion quilting techniques, so instead of it taking me 5 minutes to quilt it I end up taking closer to an hour.   The bag assembly itself is only taking ~30 minutes. Quilting is my hobby though, I'm not in this to make things REALLY fast.  I am trying to enjoy the act of MAKING.  And lately, I've just been very thankful to have the time to sew at all.

And without further ado, I'm off to take advantage of the bit of time before I go to work!  Make the most of every minute, the year is nearly done!

Happy New Year everyone, here's to strong finishes and exciting new beginnings!
~Brandy

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts