Thursday, February 27, 2014

First World Problems

A spot opened up for me to attend the Front Range Modern guild retreat this weekend.  I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity.  I think it will be a great way to get to know the other guild members, it will feel like a "break" after such a stressful move, and I get to sew non-stop for a whole weekend!  The only problem I have is this: I have no idea what to bring to work on.

In 2011, I went to my first BMQG retreat and I worked on this:

I had a baby in 2012 and missed the retreat.  In 2013, I conquered my nemesis: my oldest and most frustrating UFO:

In my opinion, retreat sewing is awesome for doing a project that you wouldn't finish at home: the clamshells were so time consuming and frustrating but I was able to persevere thanks to encouragement and distracting conversation with guild friends.  

I am in a good spot right now with my sewing in having a very blank slate ahead of me: I have very few UFO's and I have lots of fabric that I love, just waiting for me to finally cut into it.

I also believe that it is important to choose a retreat project carefully.  I don't want to bring too much stuff.  I don't want to monopolize a design wall or an iron.  I don't want to bring a project that requires a difficult technique that will make me feel frustrated, I need to bring something I am comfortable with.

I am slowly working on the Feathers quilt and you can see my progress below.  I think I will bring this project but I don't think it will be my primary focus- the way that I am approaching it's completion is difficult because I am not making identical block after identical block- I am trying to create a gradation of color that will make every block different- so I will constantly need to cut, press, and cut some more with minimal time at the sewing machine.

The Jacob's Ladder quilt from Blue Elephant Stitches has been on my "to do" list for a while now but I am not excited about the prospect of making 196 HST units.  I bought some "Thangles" at a LQS but bought the wrong size, I went back to buy the right size and they were out of stock.  Another LQS tried to help me but I was out of luck there too.  I ordered some online but I am quite sure they won't come in time for the retreat.

Last night I spent over an hour in my sewing room and on the computer looking at patterns, blogs, Pinterest, and my fabric stash.  The sewing room is kind of a mess now.

I am intrigued with the idea of doing another quilt with bright colors and black/white fabrics.  I am contemplating something like this Liberty Love quilt or maybe a Penny Patch with Flower Sugar as the main focus.  My only hesitation is that these patterns are easy and I have been itching for more of a challenge.

I know the BMQG retreat is coming soon- any ideas from my friends in MA?  If you've ever been to a retreat, what strategy have you used in planning your projects?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Projects

Yesterday my mom and sister left and I spent the day with my children, alone, for the first time in several weeks.  The kids were great and we had a good day but I was a little down.  I am feeling much better today and have decided that a new sewing challenge might be a good distraction for me.  I am going to tackle the Allison Glass Feathers pattern.  It's something very different for me: it's mostly paper pieced, I am using all solids, and it's on the smaller side (55 x 66).  

I am in the process of printing the templates onto the foundation paper- but I am having trouble with my printer "eating" each printed paper- it's a 50/50 chance on whether the template will come out usable.  I have tried feeding a sheet one at a time, placing regular printer paper behind the foundation, and putting several foundation sheets in the tray.  Any tips, dear readers?  Is it just my crappy printer's fault?

Thanks to everyone for sharing my joy in the new sewing room.  I have another quilt-related feature of our new home that I am really excited about: a quilt hanging wall.  My husband attached a heavy-duty curtain rod to one of the main walls in our front living room and we found rings with clips that hang the quilt.  It adds a lot of depth and drama to our home and I am sure my husband is excited about the simplicity it will add to our lives when I need a picture of a quilt.  I chose to hang this African Heart quilt first because it is my most favorite quilt I have made.  I plan to rotate a new quilt in every month or so.  Someone asked me if I was worried about light damage to my quilts: I don't think it's any worse than using the quilt on a bed (especially in sunny Colorado) and I firmly believe that quilts are meant to be used in spite of any damage/use they eventually acquire.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We're here!

Hello friends!  I am in our new home in Colorado and slowly settling in to a whole new life with my family.  The last month or so has been so stressful and busy, I am glad that I am finally in a position to start establishing a routine for both myself and my kids.  The scenery is pretty different here: this is a picture of Pike's Peak and you can also see the Garden of the Gods in the bottom right corner:

Some "scenery" is a little tacky:

We've had some visitors in our backyard:

I have already setup my sewing room and I honestly feel like I need to pinch myself because I can hardly believe it's real.  I should have taken a picture at my previous setup in Massachusetts but I was literally sewing in our kitchen and placing a small ironing board on top of the high chair tray.

My design wall is on the right side of the room:

Towards the front of the room is an ironing station and there is a roomy closet next to the sewing desk that I have filled with fabric.  Does all of my fabric fit in there?  I plead the fifth.

I have plans for decorating my sewing room, so you will hear more about this in the future.

In Billerica, I was literally within a .5 mile of a Joann's store.  Here in Colorado Springs, there is only one giant Joann's and I am a five minute drive from it. SCORE!

I have already attended a Front Range Modern Guild meeting.  I was surprised at myself for how nervous I felt attending but it wasn't so bad. I found the group to be very warm and welcoming.  Here is a picture of Stephanie R. showing a quilt she made, an original design.  She's from Lowell, MA :)

I was SO nervous about this cross-country move and really wondered if we were making the right decision.  The "problem" with my husband is that he's so dang happy wherever he is and with whatever he's doing that we've loved wherever we've been together and made the best of every situation- he's the poster child for the saying, "Bloom where you're planted."  So even though we had some struggles in Massachusetts, I was very happy there.  But through this whole process, I have drawn comfort by knowing that even though a lot of things would change with the move, a lot of things were going to stay the same.  My faith and family are constant.  I am so happy to share this adventure with these little buggers:

and this guy:

And I am happy that I can continue to pursue my passion for sewing.  I have been reading blogs now and then through all of this chaos and it literally has been a major stress-reliever and helped to remind me of what I love and will return to once things settle down.  Speaking of which, shortly, I will be working on a tutorial for my bow pillows and if anyone would like to be a pattern tester/reviewer for me, I would really appreciate it!  Just make a comment on this post.  (The tutorial will be a freebie on Ann Kelle's site soon!).

Thanks for reading this mostly non-sewing related post.  I will be back soon with two completed quilts to share.