Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Back to Sewing

Guess what? I am actually sewing again! After a month of not sewing it feels kind of strange. I'm having some issues keeping my rolling chair from rolling now that the floor is tile. I am definitely planning on recarpeting my sewing room someday.

I started back to piecing the project that I was working on when all the carpet drama started. I finished another 16 or so blocks, but still have a dozen or so to make.

We have a new addition to the house.

This is Wyatt. A new puppy to keep our older dog company after losing her littermate. The puppy actually belongs to DD#3, but since she lives with us, there is a puppy in the house.

A new puppy brings about challenges I hadn't considered. I needed to pin-baste Grand Illusion, and that's a challenge with a puppy who thinks batting is a huge toy. Thankfully, DD#3 took him out for the day, and I did get my pin-basting done.

I did a bit more organizing in the sewing room. I decided to put my smaller minibolts in plastic drawers to keep the dust off. Target has the drawers in purple, which I thought was fun. These drawers aren't full, and not all of them have minibolts in them.

DH and I took a day trip and ended up in some old mining towns. I took this photo of a floor of a saloon in a very old building. It's still a saloon in half the building, and the other half is an antique store. I saw some great vintage sewing machines, and some great and not-so so-great quilts. I hate seeing cheap Chinese garbage being touted as antique hand made quilts, but I did see that in a couple shops. I also saw some really lovely old quilts.

I started quilting on Grand Illusion today. This is my first attempt at this quilting pattern. I've done a similar pattern once before, but that was a couple years ago. I still consider myself a beginner at free motion quilting, but I'll never get better without trying new things. For me, figuring out how to travel where I need to go is the hardest thing about a new design.

So, a little of this, a little of that, and life marches on!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Random Thoughts

Today is a red letter day for me! Why? Because I just cut the last of my scraps into usable pieces! I finished the blue yesterday, and I thought about stopping there, but I remembered I found some more scraps while moving everything to take up the carpeting in the sewing room. I also hadn't dealt with the leftover fabric from Grand Illusion. If I didn't deal with those, I'd be starting this whole mess again!

I gathered up the fabrics in question, Grand Illusion leftovers on the left, scooter scrub top scraps on the right.

After going through the leftover Grand Illusion fabrics, I decided these could go on the small minibolts, and not be cut up. Some of the silvery grays weren't that large, but I have a silver/purple wedding quilt to make soon, so I saved them. My basic rule of thumb is I'll keep it whole if it's over 12", cut into strips if it's less. A six inch piece can yield one each of a 1.5, 2, and 2.5 inch strip. If it's 9.5 inches you can snag a 3.5" strip too. I'm usually good about dealing with quilt leftovers, and my strips drawers are pretty full to prove it. It's garment scraps that trip me up.

I thought a lot about how I let that many scraps build up, and I decided it was bound to happen. For a few years, I was making scrub tops for DH's co-workers. I was still homeschooling at the time, and had several kids still living at home. Dealing with scraps just wasn't a priority, because there wasnt any time to do it.

Why didn't I deal with it sooner? Because I was enjoying getting to play with quilting fabrics instead of novelty fabrics. I had tried tackling the scrub scraps before, I just never got through them and finished, so they kept adding up.

I've decided I'm OK with how I got in the mess, and I'm very happy I'm done dealing with the mess. I had a lot of random thoughts while spending a month cutting scraps. Here are a few.

1) Yes, I have enough selvages to make a selvage quilt now, or maybe five selvage quilts!

2) Speaking of selvages, someone should make a paper doll style selvage quilt just from the parts of selvages that say 'not intended for children's sleepwear'. Has that been done already?

3) Getting out of the quilt cave can be a good thing. My sewing room was unusable for a while. I was cutting scraps while sitting at the kitchen table. Being in the main living area all the time reminded me of other things that needed to be done. I reorganized a lot of the kitchen in the past month, cooked more, cleaned more. I haven't sewn a stitch in a month, but I got a lot more done than just cutting scraps.

4) Why is rust so hard to put in a color family? Is it a brown, an orange, or maybe even red???

5) Sometimes the predominant color in a fabric is not the background color. I have some Universal Studio monster fabric with a blue background. If you step away about six feet, it absolutely reads as a black, not the slate blue background.

6) With so many scraps, do I feel guilty about having so much other fabric? Nope. I need those tone on tones and other stuff to make these scraps work.

7) With all the yardage I have, should I bother spending the time dealing with these scraps? Absolutely, because variety is what makes quilts interesting to me.

Those are a few of the things I've thought about in my month of scrap cutting. I'm really content right now. I took the time to deal with the scraps that were weighing me down. I'm excited about getting back to sewing and using them. Probably the most important thing is I think I'm feeling a little more balanced. By spending so much time in the main part of the house, I got a fresh perspective on things. That's a good thing!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day Gift

DH and I spied this treadle about six weeks ago at an antique mall. I resisted the first go around. We went back to see if it was still there last week, and I resisted again. This week DH decided this treadle was my Valentine's gift, so now it's mine :-)

I've done a bit of research since the first time I found this machine, but I have not found another cabinet like this one. The cabinet is made of some really thick solid wood. The big wheel connected to the foot pedal is bolted to the wood, no upright iirons

The machine is a Husqvarna 12 series machine. I love the green color. It has a round bobbin, so easy stuff there.

The foot pedal comes up and locks in place. I'm thinking I could place my project box right in the cabinet when I'm not working on it.

Here is the foot pedal dropped down. I need to order a belt for this treadle before I can use it, and I think I'm going to try one of the belts made of tubing instead of leather.

I've started working on the blue scraps. This is my tote of blue scraps, not a huge tote, but more than any of the other colors. I will be so glad to have this huge backlog of scraps dealt with and ready to use.

In one way, I'll be sad to get back to sewing. One of our dogs was very sick, and we had to put her down this week. That dog was my sewing buddy, and she always stayed in the sewing room with me when I sewed. I will miss her, she was a great dog. Our other dog, who was her littermate, seems lost without her.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

When It Absolutely, Positively, Has to Be There...Four Months Later!

Here is my four month old granddaughter, Miss A, finally getting to check out the quilt I made for her! I mailed it four months ago, but due to a postal strike in South Africa, she just received it. I am thankful she finally got it, I was pretty worried after this much time has passed. I wish my three grandkids in South Africa were closer, I'd love to hold her, and I've never seen the middle one in real life either. I'm thankful for the internet, it at least lets me have regular updates, and we skype occassionally.

I finished the orange scraps today! I've decided to go ahead and tackle the blues, after a couple days off. I think I'm actually going to make it through this backlog of scraps!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Orange You Done With Those Scraps Yet?

Here are my oranges, next in line to be cut, but not yet processed, so nope, not done yet!

Pink and purple are done. I didn't have many of either of those.

Brown and yellow are finished too!

It seemed like it took forever to cut the blacks, turns out I had more black than neutrals. Nevertheless, the blacks are finished too.

I hope to get all the orange scraps cut tomorrow, and then I need to clean up my cutting mess in the kitchen, so I can do DH's birthday dinner on Sunday. On Monday, I'll have to decide if I'm going to tackle the tote of blue scraps, or actually sew something. Right now, I'm leaning towards tackling the blue and just getting all the way finished with scraps. I have found a few more scraps that were hiding as I've been putting my sewing room back together. Some I've already processed, but a few I'm saving to process in the middle of the blues, just to give myself a break from the blue.

One thing I've been reminded of as I go through my scraps, is that my stash does not reflect my taste. The process of quilting I do for myself. I enjoy the process of creating. The quilts, although I may really like them, I usually give away. Since I'm usually making something for someone else, my stash more closely reflects the tastes of those I love than it does mine. I have the most blue fabric, thus the most blue scraps. I hate blue. I love autumn colors, of which I have few. A lot of my stash was given to me, or leftovers of a business I tried, or purchased from thrift stores. All of those things leave me with fabrics that may not be to my taste.

You know what I've decided? I've decided I am very blessed to have a stash that reflects others. I can cheerfully make a blue quilt, or do a color combination I despise for someone who loves it. Having so many fabrics that I would never have chosen for myself has broadened my creativity, opened my eyes to possibilities I couldn't have seen with a limited "me" pallette.

I've just about got my sewing room back to rights after pulling up the carpet. I've been organizing some things around the house too. We've gotten rid of a couple of big items, and so changes are happening around that. I think I've already made three donations to charities that run thrift stores this year. Now if I can just keep decluttering! I still haven't tackled the twins toys, that will really take some effort! I need to psych myself up for that!