Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Long time, no see. Life gets in the way again. It’s hard to juggle everything as a wife, mother, and full-time worker. With a family farm to help support and a creative brain that gets a little crazy dreaming of and starting (but not always finishing) projects.
Lately, I’ve been struggling. I feel like I am somehow, someday going to have a home-based creative business, but I haven’t figured out exactly what it will be – an online shop for quilts and other handmade goods, a booth in an antique mall featuring quilts and reloved furniture, a brick and mortar quilt shop? I don’t know. And I don’t know when. But I feel the call and lure, and I have a feeling somehow I need to move towards that. Lately I feel like I’ve been living in a mist, and I don’t know what the right step is, or if it’s even something I should start working on now. Maybe it’s destined for a later season in life. I’m just . . . confused, unsettled, unsure.
And this blog, I love it, I love having the record of things I’ve made and accomplished. It helps to look at it when I’m feeling frustrated. But I have the same hazy vision of what it could and/or should be. I just don’t know.
I wrote in my journal that “I kind of wish God would just open that door wide and blow me away with it so I know exactly what I’m supposed to do, but maybe he is and I’m missing it?” Can you tell I have issues with anxiety? And control?
Anyways, I thought maybe I’m not the only one. And everything I read on blog branding, etc. says to be you and authentic.
So this is me. Being authentic. Letting you know some of the thoughts and struggles that whirl around in my brain.
Oregon Trail looking West at Scott's Bluff, Nebraska
All that to say, I’m here. I’ve been doing all summer but not posting. I feel like I’m struggling through the murk of what I should/want to be doing.
I've got a few posts lurking in draft form, a newly finished quilt (and a not-so-newly finished quilt), and some other things to share, so I'm going to try and ease back in. I’m hoping that getting back in the saddle will help me find my way. All I can do is muddle forward, right?
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Meet another recent finish – the Vanilla Swirls quilt.
Double Star Creams. I started the quilt intending to use it on our bed. I’d read somewhere that you should make a white quilt as your first quilt for your trousseau. Obviously I’m a big history dork. But that was back before I figured out some quilty things – my seam allowances were off, and the set-in seams weren’t easy. So after some horrendous blocks and some okay blocks, it sat. For years.
I made up several more blocks, decided I just needed to finish it, sorted through and picked the best blocks, and promptly turned it into a sweet, traditional, white quilt. And for once, a great name popped in my head, turning Double Star Creams into Vanilla Swirls.
I went on a basting binge one weekend and basted this quilt plus three other baby quilts I had waiting in the WIP pile. It sat as I tackled the easier quilting on the other quilts. I had three different ideas – baptist fans, straight lines surrounding the stars, or swirls. I really loved the idea of the lines behind the stars. I could see it in my mind, and it was a great effect. But, since the quilt is a swirl quilt, I wanted to evoke that feeling. My hang-up was mostly in that I’d never quilted swirls before. And if you know me at all, I may look like I’ve got it together on the outside, but inside I’m a great big chicken. *cluck, cluck*
I’d watched YouTube videos, sketched, and read tutorials. I propped up my Angela Walters book beside my machine and just started. And it wasn’t too bad. Lots of stopping to figure out where I was going or which way the next swirl should go, but not bad. And I think the end result works. It’s a soft, allover pattern that goes with the soft, cream colors. I’m very pleased. It almost makes me wish I had a baby and a sweet nursery to decorate. Or an airy, all-white room where I could drape it over a chair to use during cool evenings.
My newest quilt finish, and the first since February – the Ranch Hand Baby Quilt.
The fabrics are leftovers from the Sparkle Punch baby quilt made for my nephew – but without the Star Wars fabric. I loved the color combo so much and had a bunch of extra squares, so I made up a simple patchwork quilt. You may have seen progress pictures on Instagram.
The quilt measures 36”x36”. I backed it in this almost-vintage Alexander Henry print (from my mom’s stash, purchased when I was little) featuring cow hands and made the binding from the last bits of two of the feature fabrics.
I had a little fun with the photo shoot, digging out the rocking horse and dragging it to the edge of the hay field. Pretty sure my neighbors think I’m nuts.
Ranch Hand is listed for sale in my shop.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Today I’m sharing my first finishes of the year (from back in January) – two Rowan Tee hoodies. The pattern is by TitchyThreads, and just like the Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern, I love this one. It has a bunch of options, but I made these the same way. I think it’s a great basic tee pattern with plenty of possibilities depending on your goal.
I made two hoodies with long sleeves and hemmed sleeves and body and topstitched just about every chance I got – shoulder seams, armhole seams, hood seams, neck seam. It really made things look nice.
The girl’s hoodie is a size 8 and is made from some Oliver + S knit I’ve had in the stash for a while. (Yep, I have some girly fabrics even though I have two boys – sometimes it’s too hard to resist!) I have no girls to try it out on, but I’ve heard it fits the recipient.
The boy’s hoodie is a size 6. The black knit is from a size 2XL t-shirt, and the Star Wars fabric is a quilting cotton. I got my Sam to try it on (he’s a size 5 right now) and got nervous because it barely fit over his big head and didn’t seem that much too big on him – and he’s a skinny mini. (Total sidebar - how cute is he?) I kind of wanted to keep it for him. But it was destined for a cousin. Luckily, it appears the hoodie fits said cousin well since he is skinny.
One note about the woven Star Wars fabric – I think next time I combine the knit and woven, I might make the neckhole a touch bigger, just because the woven doesn’t stretch with the knit and it was hard to get over Sam’s head. I don’t think it’s the pattern since he has this problem with store-bought hoodies as well, but it’s a thought if you want to go the combination route.
These were my last (sewn) belated Christmas presents, so I was glad to have them off my back. But I do love the pattern and have plans and fabric for a Planes version for Sam. And now I want to make another Star Wars version for my boys since that one turned out so cute.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
If you’ve kept up, I kind of disappeared after Christmas. The dang sew-jo just went pfffft and was gone. But, I’ve been slowly revving it back up during the last couple weeks. One of the things that has helped me recover it was quilting and binding my Gypsy Wife quilt! It's been a year since I started (the QAL started last February), and I can pretty much say I enjoyed the entire process. It's a rare project that doesn't get to the "hate" part of the love-hate-love cycle.
At first I was waffling on how to quilt it. Originally, horizontal lines. Then, fancy quilting because I could. Then, what type of fancy quilting, maybe simple was best. Then, and I thought this was the winner, ditch quilt the blocks and horizontal lines on the background strips. That was it. And then I started quilting.
The very first line I sewed right over the block (that I was supposed to ditch/outline stitch). Whoops. Oh well, that decision was made, and it just meant the quilt was quilted faster. I am not one to rip out unless it’s really bad.
It was quilted over a weekend, marking with a hera marker (pretty sweet), and the binding took a week. I decided to hand bind in case I enter it in the fair. I’ve been machine binding everything lately, and it is so much faster (if not quite as pretty from the back). The hand binding has been exceptionally slow, and revealing in that I really do need to find a thimble that works for me. I've tried several different kinds, but I guess I need to try a few more.Love the decision to go with low-volume strips. This quilt makes me so happy! The dark plum binding does not photograph true at all (it's really not brownish). This next photo probably shows it the closest (also in the raccoon block and a couple others).
Anyways, back to the subject at hand, my beautimous quilt! I love her! She is wild and crazy, and I’m so glad to have my own couch quilt. The star block is probably my favorite, although I love that rainbowtized HST block beside it as well.
My husband thinks the Amy Butler backing print is “old lady”. That just goes to show what he knows. Pattern matching is a pain, but it turned out great.
She's already been snuggled on the couch and makes that sad hand-me-down so much brighter!
Thanks to Michelle for starting the QAL last year!