Friday, February 27, 2009

Fabric Friday

Its week two of my window shopping experiment!!! I'm sure you all will be thrilled to hear that I successfully did not buy any of my fabric picks from last week. Personally, I am rather disgruntled by this fact. I still want that Charleston Turquoise!

This week I did my shopping at this fabulous Etsy store. I love about 95% of what they have. Seriously, fabulous taste in fabric and very reasonably priced. Bunches of sales going on too...but as the saying goes, you can go broke saving money. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said that to me, I could buy a lot of fabric! And this is what I'd buy...

I'm a big sucker for stripes, and especially stripes with a little funk to them. I honestly can't remember the last time I made a quilt without some sort of stripe in it...its kinda my thing. I've been really drawn to this Melissa Averinos fabric since I first discovered it a few weeks back (I know, I'm a bit behind the pitch on this one). Its weird...really weird, but there's something about it. I really can't stop looking at it. Sometimes I swear the dang stuff moves it has so much life to it.
Pick number two is my favorite of the week. It's by Patricia Bravo from her French Riviera Collection. The scrolls are really lovely and its just a fun and lively print. The best thing about it though is that it has so much depth to it. That's not always so easy to find in fabric, but this is just a fantastic example. Plus, its teal-ish. How could I pass it up?

My last pick is a little different, but very, very cool. Its good old Alexander Henry at his graphic goodness best. I like fabrics that have a lot of versatility to them. I like my fabrics to be usable in big pieces and small pieces. I like fabrics that can look completely different depending on how you fussy-cut them. This one is so it! It's versatility personified.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The "Be Prepared" Bag

My absolutely favorite things to sew are quilts, hands down, but lately I've been finding it frustrating. My sewing machine (which in the interests of propriety shall remain unnamed) is fairly capable of sewing a straight line...most of the time. Trying to free motion quilt, however, is completely out of the question. This means that I can never really finish things. I have to wait to quilt my tops until I go visit my mom and can use her machine. I HATE not finishing things!

This weekend, therefore, I decided to take a break from my giant log cabin quilt and make something else. I used my Alexander Henry pin up fabric that I've been hoarding and made this start to finish...behold the "Be Prepared" bag!!!

On the whole, I'm really thrilled with the way this came out. I didn't follow a specific pattern, so I really got to make it precisely to my specifications. The straps are a tad longer than they need to be, and the lining would work better if it was a bit smaller, but other than that, I'm completely satisfied. I have another piece of canvas in my stash, so I'm going to make another tote and tweak this pattern a bit. With a few tiny changes, I think the bag could be even better! Then, after I have everything all worked out, I hope to put together a tutorial. As long as I went to all the effort of figuring out how to make it, I may as well share... :)

Forgive my crummy photography. The bag is actually much cuter in person, but for the life of me, I can't get it to translate to film. Boo.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Because I Don't Say "Yay" Often Enough

I just checked my list of tags and noticed that I have 4 posts tagged as "Vent" and only one tagged as "Yay". That's not so great...I should have at least as many good things as bad things to report. I think I'll work on changing that.

So how's this for a GIGANTIC yay? I am now the proud owner of two yard of the always fabulous Erin Michael paint by number birds in teal. Seriously, I'm thrilled, I have been looking for this fabric for a very long time now. A week or so ago, I heard a rumor that a particular fabric store had some left on the bolt. I called immediately and explained to the woman what I wanted. She promised to look and give me a call back. I heard back from the woman (her name is Maggie) a few hours later. The shop was out, BUT she thought she had some in her personal stash. Maggie sent me this beautiful fabric from her own collection for free. She only asked that I reimburse her for shipping. She said that she was happy that someone would use it, since she had more fabric than she could use in a lifetime. I am so touched by Maggie's kindness and generosity. She had no way of knowing that I would send her money for shipping...she simply did a nice thing for a complete stranger out of the goodness of her heart.

Seriously Maggie...lots of good karma coming your way...your aura is purple :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fabric Friday

So I'm starting something new today. At the beginning of the month I put myself on a soft-fabric buying freeze. My stash bin is almost full, I have a lot of fabric to work with, I don't need to buy more right now. As all quilters know, however, that sure as shooting doesn't mean that I don't want to buy more fabric. I REALLY want to buy more. Have you seen Good Folks? So gorgeous! And what about the fabrics that are rapidly disappearing? I really want more Katie Jump Rope (even though I have some that I haven't used yet) before its gone for good.

So, in a hopefully-not-futile attempt to circumvent my shopping, I'm going to pick three pieces of fabric every week that I love and post about them here. That way I'll get to go window-shopping (so to speak) and hopefully I won't have as much of an urge to buy. I'm not sure I have much faith in this method, but lets try it anyways. It will be fun!

This week I did my "window shopping" at the Sew Mama Sew store. My first pick is this adorable circus print from Anna Griffin's Riley line (The picture of this one is pretty crappy. Its remarkably hard to find good images of it online). I love how playful it is. Its a perfect focus fabric for a kid's quilt. Plus, it would be a great fabric to use for stash busting. It has so many colors that all the complementary fabrics could be easily pulled in from lots of different lines already in your stash!

Pick number two is my favorite of the bunch this week. Its an Alexander Henry print called Charleston Turquoise. I want it sooooo much. Teal is my favorite color, and I can think of half a dozen ways to use this beauty. My favorite part about it though is the movement in the fabric. I love the curls and the lines moving in different directions. Its vibrant and fun and would look fabulous in big or small pieces.

My third pick--as an homage to my mother--is a sale fabric. Sales just make everything better! This is a Jessica Jones design for Michael Miller Fabrics, and I'm just in love. Its printed on canvas and I have visions of tote bags dancing through my head. Its cute and chic and modern and urban and yet still folksy and whimsical. It would make a perfect market bag!!

So there we weekly window shopping. I still want to buy stuff though...:(

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Don't Procrastinate, I Reschedule!

I've had procrastination on the brain recently. My sister was talking to me about it a while ago, and really, as a college student, procrastination is ever present. In fact, its practically a way of life. Over the last four years, I've pulled my fair share of all-nighters, I have almost never done my laundry before running out of clean underwear, and at this point in time, no, I haven't done my taxes yet (don't nag Mom, I'll get to it).

I used to think that this was a bad thing, and ok sometimes the laundry thing can prove problematic, but isn't some procrastination healthy? Couldn't you argue that procrastination by another name is flexibility? My point is, things change, priorities are fluid. If something isn't as pressing as something else, we schedule it for a later date when it is the top priority. Sometimes watching a TV show and helping my overstressed brain to chill is a higher priority than working on class readings. Some would call that procrastinating. I call it smart and healthy. I deal with my highest priorities first, and believe me, my mental health is numero uno.

So, I really just wanted to talk about procrastination, but since its a craft blog, lets provide some crafty examples. Yes, by all means, lets. Months ago I posted about some great new Heather Bailey Freshcut fabric that I had plans to make into a log cabin quilt. I just got around to cutting that yesterday, and I haven't even sewn the first stitch. Do I feel guilty about that? Actually a little, but priorities changed. Instead of making this quilt, I finished the quilts I was making as graduation gifts and I sewed several scrap quilts. I'm happy with that, and now I can get to this one!

And speaking of scrap quilts, here's a look at the scrappy snowball quilt I was making. It took me a week to do that last 45 minutes of work on it (procrastination/rescheduling at work), but now I have the top all done. I'm actually kinda meh about this one. It has a bit too much white for my tastes. I like more color in my quilts. I think I'll like it more when I get it quilted though. My very last remaining bits of these fabrics will be used for binding, so getting that extra bit of color in will really help I think.

The thing that I like best about it is that it reminds me of one of those optical illusion drawings. If you look at the quilt one way, I see the diamonds, and if I look at it the other way, I see squares with triangles in the corner. I stared at it for a realy long time. Yeah...I'm just that bizarre.

So what do you see? Diamonds or squares? The young beauty or the hag? Can you see them both at the same time? That's a sure way to go cross-eyed...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Until the Violence Stops

I'm really sick and I need to go to bed, but this is something that needs to be said first. Today, February 14, is V-Day. Valentine's Day, yes, but also, a worldwide day dedicated to the movement to end violence against girls and women. The statistics are staggering and sickening.

  • Every 2 minutes, here in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted.
  • One out of every six women in America has been the victim of a rape or attempted rape.
  • Boys who witness their father's committing spousal abuse are ten times more likely to engage in it themselves than boys from non-abusive households.
  • Every 15 seconds, a woman in America is battered, usually by her partner.
  • The WHO estimates that between 100 and 140 million women globally have been the victims of female genital mutilation.
  • And then we come to the Democratic Republic of Congo where tens of thousands of women are systematically and repeatedly raped EACH YEAR.

The list goes on and on. Read about it, think about it, and do something about it. Until the violence stops.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

After my previous rather lengthy hiatus, I have resolved to be better about blogging regularly. Dear friends, I have reformed, turned over a new leaf, made a change for the least for right now! Consequently, even though I don't have a finished product to show you, or really anything much of interest to report, I am subjecting treating you all to an update.

Things are progressing well with my scrappy snowball quilt. This weekend I sewed all the individual blocks together, trimmed and ironed them. Then, this afternoon, I sewed the blocks into six rows of six. It was fast work. I'll have the entire top finished within another hour whenever I have a chance to sit down with it next.

Now, I was going to leave the post as that above, but as I was typing it, I decided that it was just too short. If I'm going to go to the effort of posting, I may as well make it a good one...right? Plus, I was listening to Warren Zevon on my swanky new iHome that Santa gave me, and I became inspired. Poor, poor, pitiful me...have you seen my quilting setup? Its bad...feel sorry for me.

This is my desk in my door where some losers do their homework. Not I...this is where I sew. I measured...its about 42 inches by 24 inches. The attractive green plant on the right is my spider plant Bartholomew. My sewing machine's name can't be printed here. I'm trying to keep this family friendly and there are way to many four-letter words in its name. Can you tell I want a new machine? I do. More than air to breath.

This picture is of the rickety old ironing board and cruddy iron that reside in our house laundry room. It is seriously scary every time I iron. I'm afraid that the dang board is going to collapse on me. The iron is also a little scary. The temperature control is BAAAAADDD. I always iron on the back of my fabric, because I'm afraid it will singe my blocks. (See snowballs in progress too)

So there you go...just like I told you:

Poor, poor, pitiful me. Poor, poor, pitiful me.

Crafting in a dorm is no cup of tea...lord have mercy on me.

WOE is me!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Stashing: The Dark Secret Under My Bed

Sew, Mama, Sew! is doing a feature on stashes this week. I love to look at pictures of other quilter's stashes (I'm a stash stalker) so I thought I would reciprocate and share my meager holdings.

What do you usually sew?

I almost exclusively sew quilts right now. Occasionally bags, but that's about it.

When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. If you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)

If I'm buying a bunch of coordinating pieces from a line, I buy half-yards. Single pieces of things that I like but don't have a particular plan for I buy either a half-yard or more often a full yard. Focus fabrics that I might build a quilt around I buy two yards.

Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?

Usually I impulsively see something that I want and then try to decide how I would use it before I buy. I don't always have a plan, but I try to have some inkling of what I could use it for.

Are you a pre-washer? If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it?


Do you iron it?


How do you store your fabric?

Right now I'm living in a dorm, so I've restricted my stash to one tub that fits under my bed. Sorting isn't so much an issue, but I do keep things neatly folded and in a stack and I try to keep projects grouped together.

Do you have any special folding techniques? How do you sort it?

See above. Because space is an issue, I just fold things how they fit. I try to keep things grouped by project, but that's about all the sorting a tub will allow.

What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?

Buy stuff? Hah, no...just kidding. My stash isn't developed or well-rounded, so I can't offer too much insight. I just buy what I like. That's the best way to make sure you are happy and inspired in crafting! I am also doing a fat quarter swap here though. Join in...the more the merrier!!!

When do you say enough is enough?

When the bin is full, then its enough. I don't have room for more than that right now.

Do you have a current favorite print in your stash? Let’s see it!

Ah! Its torture trying to pick a favorite. I have so many! Right now, I think I'm most excited about these two though. I have some pieces of Erin Michael's Lush line (the deer, oh the deer) that I'm thrilled with. I also bought this completely frivolous piece of Alexander Henry pinup fabric. I think I'll use that in a tote bag.

What’s your definition of the perfect stash?

I think the perfect stash is one that inspires you. I know that looking through my tub, refolding the fabrics and just looking at them always gets the creative juices going! No matter how big or how small your collection is, that should be its purpose.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Long post...

So...mucho apologies my few but faithful blog readers. Its been a while. I have come to the conclusion that writing a blog is like going to the gym. If you skip a day, its that much harder to pick it up the next. I guess I really shouldn't be that surprised at my two month blog vacation though...considering my spacey gym attendance.

The good news, however, is that no post doesn't necessarily indicate no sewing. I've been quite busy. I finished by graduation gifts (binding and all) wrapping up a LONG project. I made six quilts to give away all together. Yay me!

I also finished up my first quilt in project "scraps are our friends." Yes, that's right...I am beginning to change my scrap-wasting ways. I had a lot of yardage left over from my belle quilt, so instead of shoving them in the depths of my closet and cutting into something new, I forced myself to use 'em up! It was an interesting process. I knew that I wanted to experiment with making my own design and I knew that I needed to keep it fairly small because of fabric constraints. With those restrictions in mind, I dove in feet first. Notice that I didn't say head first, because believe me there was no planning involved. I made a big mess and ripped out TONS of seams. TONS. After trial and tribulation, however, I have to say that I came up with a quilt that I love.

The finished quilt is pretty small. I made it about a yard square, which I thought would be a good stroller/car seat size. Big enough to cover baby well, but not so long that the ends would be in danger of dragging. Designwise, I used traditional blocks spaced between solid squares of my focus fabric. For the sashing, I used white linen. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and I have to say, I had a really mixed reaction to it. I love the different texture, and the way it breaks up the looks great. On the other hand though, I struggled with construction. I don't think my seams are as neat, and the dang stuff just does not want to iron flat. I really had to steam the heck out of it. I'll definately use it again, but not for every project. It would raise my blood pressure too much.

Up next is another "scraps are our friends" installment. I am using my final belle remnants (praise the lord) and then I will be done!!!!! Not that I don't like the fabric, but I have so many new things that I want to start six...OMG.