Dr Seuss baby quilt

I was sooooooo excited to finish this quilt – the first quilt I’ve actually finished in 2014, I apparently forgot to post it. Wooooooow … This one was ridiculously easy, but for some reason it took me freakin’ forever to do the binding. The entire quilt could easily be done in a single weekend, but I managed to drag it out for more than three months, because that’s how I roll.

Cat in the Hat baby quilt

Yes, that IS my son holding up the quilt while sitting in bed, because he was too lazy to stand up and hold it up for me. Fortunately, he has ridiculously long arms, so it worked. And I don’t have to apologize for his funny faces he makes while holding quilts as I take photos. LOL

This week, though I’m on vacation, I have yet to spend any real quality time in the studio. However, that should all change today, as my only plans for the day involve sewing, although I suspect that at some point, I will end up leaving the house; isn’t that what always happens? But my focus today isn’t another quilt – it’s t-shirts! I am tired of the baggy, ill-fitting t-shirts that are just not really my style that I keep finding in stores these days. I’m certainly no seamstress, and alterations terrify me, but I am really not impressed with the RTW clothing I’m finding lately. The t-shirt pattern I’ve chosen seems to be a fairly easy one, that has some fitting already. I’m sort of hoping I can get two of these shirts made, if not today, definitely this week.

If this goes well, I may be ordering tons of knit fabric to make some t-shirts. I have lots of ideas, including some embroidery and other embellishments. :-)

Confessions of a Quiltaholic

I am a stasher. Yes, that’s a little like a hoarder. I buy fabric even when I have no definite plans for it, to be used at some “future time.” I’ve done this since I first started quilting about 10 years ago, and I can’t see myself stopping now. Last month, I added more than twenty yards to my stash. Some of the fabrics, I’ve been coveting for MONTHS. I fell in love with one piece in particular, the first time I saw it, but I was practicing “restraint.” I don’t know why, really, but I thought I should limit my fabric purchasing. Silly girl! Don’t you know you can’t forget a fabric love? Well, I know that now, so when I headed to that shop for something else, I had my fingers crossed that they might still have some. They did!

I have more pairs of scissors than one girl should be allowed to have (last count, 10), and more rotary cutters than I could ever use (eight). I have one Craftsman tool chest drawer half filled with thread, and boxes of thread on my storage shelf.

I currently have six machines – the Janome 8900, a Brother PC-8500, a Viking #1+ (that is technically my mom’s machine, but … ) and a Brother SQ-9050 I bought from Walmart a few years ago. I also have a White serger They all get used. I added a new machine in March, the Brother DreamCreator VM5100, which is seeing a LOT of use. I love it already.

I have two cutting tables – one for actual cutting, and one I use for various other things – pinning quilts, sorting fabrics, and other quilty type things.

I have one sewing cabinet where the DreamCreator hangs out, and a small Ikea table for the Janome. I’m considering buying a new cabinet next year …

My studio is actually part of my master bedroom. Since the master is H U G E, it isn’t crowded or in any way difficult to work or sleep in. However, I still dream of a dedicated studio that’s at least the size of my current bedroom. Right now, I have a king size bed, a dresser, two end tables, a love seat, a 40″ tv with stand, an ironing board, a set of Elfa wire drawers, a Horn of America 3180 cabinet, a Craftsman tool chest, and a set of nine cubbies in the room. I could put another 3180 cabinet and set up the second cutting table in the room and still have space to move around and not feel too crowded.

I keep trying to convince my husband that we should move our bed into the spare bedroom and let me use the master as the studio. He’s reluctantly agreed, but I really think that’s something I will wait to do once my son is out on his own in a few years.

I sew more days than I don’t, even if it’s just to do a couple of small things. I would sew more, but I like spending time with my husband and he likes being in the living room where he’s more comfortable. I tried to get him to let me move my studio downstairs and he didn’t like that idea either. And truthfully, as loudly as he has the surround sound sometimes, I’m not sure I would want to be down here either.

There’s lots more I could confess, but a woman can’t give away all her secrets! Well, not all at one time, anyway. ;-)

Studio Frustrations

Yesterday, I was working on my Wishes Block of the Month for March (yeah, I’m a little behind). As I was rotary cutting fabric, I had a little accident and … well … it’s not pretty. I did a pretty good number on my left pointer, I guess because I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve never done that before, and it’s a hard lesson to learn – even a “dull”-ish rotary blade is damn sharp! That meant that I had to stop work to get it cleaned up and bandaged, and then it was throbbing with pain. But after dinner, I decided to go back up and work on the block some more. That probably wasn’t my best idea.

I got all my pieces cut without further incident, and started sewing them together. I guess I still wasn’t paying really close attention, because I didn’t get all the pieces sewn together correctly. This is one of those blocks where you sew squares and rectangles together and then have to trim them to make half square triangle pieces. I got all four of these units put together, trimmed them, and ironed before I realized that I had sewn from the wrong corner. All those pieces were a wasted effort! Ugh! So I went back and recut them (obviously since they’d been trimmed they were of no use to me now) and marked and sewed, and cut the first one … it was sewn together wrong! This time, the fabric was sewn together WRONG sides together instead of RIGHT sides together. OMG!! Two of the squares were salvageable, one was correct and another one – WRONG. At that point, I just turned off the machine and got up and walked away. I was furious with myself for not paying better attention. /sigh

Today, I’ll go back and finish the block but it was a day for the history books. I’ve not been that frustrated about quilting in YEARS. I guess maybe my mind wasn’t really on what I was doing? But lesson learned – I really need to pay better attention to what I’m doing in the studio, and keep my mind on task.

March Update

It’s been a crazy month in the studio. First off, I bought a new machine, a Brother DreamCreator VM 5100 which I named George. He’s a beauty. I’m really happy with the stitch quality, and the extra space in the harp is just so great. That makes two machines that I now have with a harp that’s at least 11″ and I doubt that I can ever go back to a “regular” sized machine because they all seem so small.

Secondly, I am still working on the Green Eggs & Ham quilt, and there is progress. The top is completely put together, the quilt is sandwiched and I started the “quilting” late last week. I’m using George to put stars on the quilt, both in the blocks and on the sashing.

Star Overload

Quilting detail

Green Eggs and Hame 1

 

I’ve also started another quilt, one that cannot currently be discussed because it’s a gift for someone. I wasn’t really pleased with it at first, but I’ve worked out a better plan for it, so I’ll get that going this evening.

The great thing about having George and Ricco (my Janome 8900) is that I can have George putting stars on the GE&H quilt and I can piece on Ricco. I’m VERY happy with this set up, though Ricco needs to go into the shop for a cleaning. When that happens, I’ll use either the Viking #1+ or one of the other Brother machines I have. See, having multiple machines is a great thing, and progress doesn’t stop when one has to go to the shop!

George

In March, I was able to add a new member to my family. I am so excited to introduce George, a Brother DreamCreator VM5100.

 

Brother VM 5100 Dream Creator

Brother VM 5100 Dream Creator

I am soooooo happy to have an embroidery machine back on the active list, I could just dance. I have been putting him through his paces, so I’ll be posting a full review at some point in the future. For now, my initial impressions are that I love this machine! It sews beautifully, and the embroidery is awesome.

 

A full day in studio

It has been ages since I’ve spent an entire day in the studio, but that’s exactly what I did yesterday. The menfolk were gone from the house, helping Chris’s brother move, so I decided to ignore the housework and spend some time working on the Dr Seuss quilt for my friend Julie.

Green Eggs and Ham Fabric

I woke up yesterday morning thinking about the quilt, so after grabbing some caffeine, I went straight back up to my room to get started – I had a vision and I couldn’t let it slip away from me. I had spent some time the day before cutting apart one set of panels and I’d sashed a few of them with 2.5″ Dr Seuss fabric strips. I finished all of that set of panels in the same manner – 2.5″ Dr Seuss printed fabric sashing, then I cut apart a second set of panels and sashed them using a Kona solid fabric in grass green. After that was done, I put everything up on the design wall to check layout.

Dr Seuss on Design Wall

 

Then I started sewing the panels and rows together.

Two rows of Dr Seuss Quilt

 

So far, I’m really pleased with this quilt. At first, I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the green sashing, but I think it is perfect. I love how it gives the eye a place to rest from all the busy-ness of the Dr Seuss fabric, and I think once it’s done, it’s going to look really great.

It’s been years since I spent a full day in the studio, and not once did I worry about the housework that wasn’t getting done, or what Chris was doing, or whether or not I should be doing something else. It was absolutely fantabulous, and I have decided that at least once a month I’m going to schedule a day to spend in the studio. If the guys want to leave the house or whatever, that will make it even easier. But if they stay here, I’m still going to spend the day in the studio. I was impressed with how much I got done yesterday, and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy spending the day quilting. 

I will get more done on the quilt today; I’m hoping to get the top put together even though I need to go in search of some fabric to act as a thin-ish interior border. It would be wonderful to get this quilt to the point where I can actually start on the quilting in the next week.

Starting Work on a Wardrobe

Last night I made a muslin fitting for a pair of pants I’m going to make myself. I am fairly pleased with the fit, though I’ll make a couple of minor adjustments. However, I did realize when I was working on the muslin fitting that it’s a bit of a waste of time, because I truly do use a thin muslin for the fitting piece. If I were to use a cotton piece of fabric instead, I could wear the fitting piece around the house – the fit wouldn’t have to be perfect – particularly since this particular fabric suggested cotton as one of the fabrics that could be used. Since I regularly buy Kona cottons by the bolt, I should be able to find something in my closet that will work for future fittings where I want to use cotton.

Anyway, I should be able to get the pants made today, as they are very simple, elastic waist with no pockets. After that is done, I’m going to try my hand at making a shirt with a zipper down the back. I’ve never actually made anything with a zipper before, so this should be interesting. Of course, I’ll need to do a fitting for that one as well, and since it is also made of cotton, I am planning to use a bit of my Kona cotton to make it. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get two shirts out of this deal! I’m thinking about using some of my PFD (prepared for dying) fabric so that if it comes out well, I can dye it to suit whatever I decide I want it to be. Of course, in that case, I should probably wash the fabric in hot water first, so that there is less chance of shrinkage should I dye the finished piece later (one of the steps in dyeing fabric is to rinse in hot water until the water runs clear).

Also on the sewing front, in just three weeks I’ll be able to get a new sewing machine, which will do embroidery. I am planning to buy myself some t-shirts for the summer (really, buying t-shirts is generally much cheaper than making them yourself) and do some embroidery on them to spruce them up a bit. I thought I had a moth problem in my closet a few months ago, but the other day I realized that the only affected clothing are my t-shirts and all at the bottom – none of my other natural fiber clothing has holes! I think that the problem isn’t moths, but rather my jeans! I have noticed that the closure of my jeans pokes out and I think that’s what’s killing my t-shirts. Of course, this means that nearly all my t-shirts are pretty well ruined now, and I’m not really happy about that, because I practically live in the things when I’m not at the office (and sometimes even then). I think that wearing an undershirt will solve the problem, but usually I tuck in undershirts … so THAT means the only way to stop the damage is to tuck in my t-shirts. I CAN tuck them in, but I never do because … well, I’m fat. And fat girls don’t look good with tucked-in shirts, but we don’t look that hot with 10 little holes in the bottom of our shirts either. So I guess this is just one more reason I need to lose weight. /sigh We’ll add that to the way I look and feel about myself, the potential health problems, and the fact that clothing is so much more expensive when you’re overweight.

Anyway, I’m hoping this is the start of a new phase in my sewing experience – clothing. I guess maybe it’s more of a revival since I have done some garment sewing in the past? I’ve never done a lot of garment sewing like my mom did, but it’s time. Stick around and see if I a) can lose some weight; and b) actually make some decent clothing.