Friday, September 21, 2012

Crackle Start

Lately, this is what I have been working on: a Crackle quilt (pattern by Aneela Hooey, found here) using a layer cake by Lucy's Crab Shack.  I chose the Lucy's Crab Shack line because I liked it and thought it had a fair amount of light and dark fabrics that might provide suitable contrast for the pattern.  I like the way it looks so far and I am (surprisingly) enjoying the reptitive process of making the blocks.

This weekend is exciting for the Boston Modern Quilt Guild.  We are having our meeting tomorrow with none other than Angela Walters!  I am so excited - she is known for her amazing free motion quilting and I really love her work.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Urban Clutch

I was inspired by this month's "Craft Book Month" theme over at Crafts Buds to make something from a book I received for my birthday a few months ago.  I love this book: Bags: The Modern Classics by Sue Kim.  It has so many simple patterns for nice bags, wristlets, totes, etc.  A lot of the shapes inside are quite simple; it might be easy enough for a seasoned bag maker to figure them out on one's own - but for me, if there's a pattern available, I would much rather take advantage of someone else's hard work.

I chose to make the clutch on the cover.  I would die for a half yard of that Echino leopard spot (!) - it's a gorgeous clutch, but since I don't have that print, I went ahead and used some of my Lark stash.  I love the ikat print - I thought I would hate it when I saw it online, but it's actually my favorite print from that collection. 
 ANYWAY- this project could easily be done in an evening if you had no interruptions - it's a very simple bag.  I enjoyed making it and I am pleased with the results!
I love craft books - the inspiration and eye candy is so fun to browse.  I usually check out craft books from the library before I even consider purchasing them.  I am very picky about what craft books I actually own because I want to actually use them and not just clutter a bookshelf.  In fact, I have done a project out of almost all of the crafty books I own.  I love a lot of the newer quilt books that have been coming out lately - but I prefer the ones that just have patterns for actual quilts.  I think it's kind of an annoying trend that quilt books often have odd projects - like a quilted cuckoo clock and how many quilted laptop/e-reader patterns does the world need?!  There, that's my rant for today.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Improvisational Wall Hanging

This past week, I have been working on framing and adding to the "Beauty is You" panel that I had received for my birthday.  Improvisational piecing is fun but not as easy as I had remembered.  Maybe I found it more difficult because I was working from stash instead of scraps....
 Speaking of stash, lately I have been mourning the relocation of my sewing supplies.  It all used to live across the room from my son's bed, but the baby is going to have to sleep in there soon and all of the fabric had to come OUT. 
 Most of it is here, a cubby in the master bedroom, a space most likely meant for a TV.  I feel like a brat whining about my first world problem - but this setup is totally cramping my sewing mojo.  It's nearly impossible to find anything.  I like to pick and choose from my stacks when I am starting a project- that's one of the most fun parts about creating for me. 
The lack of space, the desire to stick to a budget (I have been lately, I promise!), having the 2nd child and having less time - these are all issues that have made me start questioning my approach to my hobbies of sewing and quilting.  These are some of the issues/questions I have been pondering:
  • What are my goals with my sewing?  I am not sure if it is to learn new skills, to challenge myself, use up stash, to have gifts on hand for loved ones, to receive recognition, etc....  of course I do it because I love and enjoy it, but there is more to it than that.
  • What kind of quilter am I?  What is my style?  I most aspire to be like Sarah Fielke - I love how she combines the most random fabric combinations and seems to make effortless masterpieces.  But there are lots of times when sewing a bunch of charm squares together is quite satisfying too. 
  • How important is it to finish up UFO's?  With time being so limited now, should I really dedicate myself to projects I don't care about?
  • Should I consider making items to sell?  It would be nice to put some money back into sewing and I think it would feel good to help our family save for a house, etc.  But sometimes I check out Etsy and see people selling gorgeous baby quilts for a mere $100 or less, and I back away from the idea (are these people even covering the cost of materials?!)
  • Why is it so important to make quick/easy items?  Sometimes I want to tackle something more challenging, a project that would be completed over a long period of time.  Like a giant spider-web quilt, or maybe something from Denyse Schmidt's new book.....  But then I get scared of simply not having the space or the patience for something so big when life with 2 little ones is so crazy.
  • What fabrics can I live without?  I will admit to a hoarding tendency when it comes to fabric - some of the modern fabrics are just so gorgeous and unique, I have a hard time telling myself "no."
Can anyone relate?  Am I the only one who thinks about these things? 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

UFO progress

I forgot to post a picture of the awesome tag I bought at Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver.  What do you think?  Would you put these on any handmade items you gave to friends or family?
This weekend I decided to tackle a pretty old UFO.  A while ago, I had the crazy intention of making an entirely hand-pieced hexagon quilt and frame them in charcoal grey.  It wasn't long before I realized that it was very time-consuming, but I didn't hardly love the look of it.  I made myself finish 7 "flowers" and had the idea to applique it onto a large piece of fabric. 
 It would've come out neater if I had hand-sewed all of the flowers to each other and then appliqued it to the background fabric but I just didn't want to put even more time into the project.  I am happy with my results despite my initial lack of enthusiasm for the whole project.  Once this is quilted and bound, it will be a nice gift to have on hand for someone special. 
I still have quite a few completed hexagonal flowers without grey borders that I have a plans for, stay tuned!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Back from Colorado

 I just returned from an exhausting but fun trip to Colorado to visit some family and friends.  My mom came along and I brought my six month old daughter.  I hadn't realized how badly I really needed a break from the daily routine - so refreshing to have some "time off."  We did a little site-seeing, visited friends and family, ate out a lot (hello Cafe Rio! x3!), and enjoyed the constant sunshine. 

I hadn't seen my brother in law and his wife since my wedding, so a stop to their house in the Springs was a must.  They have a son about 6 months younger than Gregory, so I decided to whip up a big-boy bed quilt for him.  I had made him a sock monkey themed stroller blanket when he was first born, so it was kind of cool that I "unconsciously" chose a monkey theme for this blanket:
 All of the fabrics came from stash, and I did an improv-style backing.  I am very happy with the way it came out.  For the front, I love the use of blenders that aren't all dots.  The monkey print from Ann Kelle is to die for. 
 I bound the quilt in a Jennifer Paganelli dot - a perfect basic.  I did a new-to-me free motion squiggle design.  The quilt measures 54 x 63.
I also made a stop on Ft. Carson to visit one of my first freshman year roommates, Melinda.  She has three little ones, so of course, I pulled out my favorite stand-by children's gift: peg bears. 
 You know the fabric obsession runs deep when you seek out local fabric stores when you are traveling.  A few places had the whole range of Chicopee and I saw some Out to Sea and Field Study (the three collections calling my name lately!) but I decided to grab things that weren't so readily available online.  I am thrilled with the Sarah Jane family tree panel, and I am really tickled to have the other three in the top row- I especially have wanted some of those foxes for forever!  The cuckoo clock print is a lot of fun too. 
I could be wrong, but I kind of think that sewing and quilting is bigger out West.  There seem to be more shops and a lot of them offer long-arm rental (something pretty rare in my area).  I was pretty excited to come across a great sale at one store - lots of good basics, Amy Butler Love, and Meadowsweet at 50% off.  Stores around here seem to have bolts on their shelves for ages and never lower the price.....  Can you tell I am a little sad to be back?