Friday, October 21, 2011

small steps and stitches

remember this colorful little lady, "out on a limb"? she's been sitting in my baby bassinet, which is in the nursery corner of my bedroom, patiently waiting for me to get back around to her. so sad. i'd truly love to finish her off this very afternoon. but i'd rather not put myself into labor 8 weeks early, so she continues to wait for me, quietly but cheerfully beckoning to me every time i pass by or cast an eye in her direction.

last friday jill came over to sew with me again. i had no 4sq to edge and was at a loss as to what i was going to do with my sewing time. pincushions crossed my mind, but were rather unappealing. then i noticed "limb" in the bassinet and decided to get all that unpicking done. my husband had taken all the kids to the zoo and i was alone, enjoying the quiet of the morning, waiting for jill to come. so i took out my neglected quilt, hung her up on the end of my bed, and sat on the couch just looking at her for a good half hour, observing how the different fabrics interplayed with each other and deciding what i might have done differently. overall she's pretty loud, but i do adore so many of the individual fabrics in her.

when i use this pattern again, i will definitely add white strips in periodically to help the eye rest and emphasize certain aspects of the quilt. i'm excited to give it a go the second time around and put together an actual pattern/tutorial when i do it. all in good time, though.

before i can even finish off quilting her, i must undo the damage i've already done.
here you can kind of see how tiny some of the stitches got and how inconsistent the sizing was. ugh! i really just need to go ahead and invest in the walking foot that is made for my current machine rather than keep trying to use the one that went to my singer. some of those stitches are so tiny i couldn't even fit my seam ripper through them and have been using my hooked snips instead. after about an hour of painstakingly cutting every third stitch or so, i found a much better method involving a combo approach with some cutting on the front and some on the back, then pulling threads out. can't really describe it well, but it was a huge improvement over my previous method.

while i sat meditating on the quilt, i also noticed another blooper i'd made that had escaped me up to this point. can you see it?
i totally skipped a seam on the brown polka dot strip! after a moment of panic thinking i'd thrown off the whole quilting pattern, i realized it was going to be a simple matter of just sewing that one line in. whew!

i did as much or more talking than i actually did seam ripping, but jill and i had a very enjoyable morning of quilting. she's getting much closer to finishing her quilt off, too. i'm loving this mini "bee" we have going. it's almost becoming a regular habit for us. which reminds me i need to invite her over for next friday!

so here's to slowing down and doing small, seemingly insignificant tasks. they allow me time to think (or chat with a friend) while my hands are busy. can't say i grudge having to do all that unpicking because of that reason and because i'm learning from my mistakes as i go. and ultimately, i couldn't finish this quilt without first undoing those mistakes, so this was a productive and necessary use of my time.

glad to be one step closer to getting her done!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

quilt book winner

it's been more than ten days and only one person commented on quilting, but what the heck. becky you get the book anyway! so please send me your address to my email (under the mouse on the left sidebar). can't wait to see what unique quilts you turn out under jane's inspiration.

and, please, no one tell jane i only had one entry. that is mostly a reflection of my readership size and interest, NOT jane or her wonderful book. because if more of her fans had known i was offering that book, i would have been swamped with entries. too bad for them, lucky for becky.

4sq no. 9

i managed to finish off the next 4sq for my really cute friend, becca. i started the blanket stitching on it at the beginning of october while watching general conference, but hadn't picked it up for about a week. however, when i found out becca would be bringing dinner over to us tonight, i started stitching like mad to finish it off so i could give it to her while she was here. i nearly made it in time, doing the last few stitches while she waited. i took some quick and sloppy photos before i was done. too bad i don't have better shots because this is one of my favorite blankets so far, made with heather bailey fabrics. gee, i sure adore those heather bailey fabrics!

like i said, really terrible photo. the blanket's all wrinkled and poorly hung, not to mention my kids' toys in the shot. you'd never know i had just started to take a really wonderful on-line photography course. these shots are in no way a reflection of ashley ann's terrific snapshop class! i was just majorly pressed for time.

i picked a pink for the edging, but am not sure i'm happy with my choice. there were about 5 pinks in the fabrics, and the pink floral print was more purply/lipsticky colored (how's that for technical and accurate color description) than the pinks in the sunflower and primrose tile prints. but i really wanted pink because i liked the way it contrasted with the cute green and white flannel i found at joann. red was another choice from all three floral prints, but i thought it was too christmasy on the the green flannel. i could have gone with a nice yellow, too, but opted for more contrast. so much thought into one detail that didn't even turn out perfectly!

so becca finally got her baby's blanket and i got an absolutely delicious mexican chicken soup for dinner. it wasn't meant to be a trade, but i'm sure happy with my end. since i'm on bedrest, the relief society (women's organization) in my church ward (congregation) has been voluntarliy bringing in dinner to us twice a week. we would have survived without the meals, but it has been a nice relief for my husband to not have to think about or prep meals on those nights. and we've had some seriously good meals! i'm grateful for the service and thoughtfulness of all the ladies who have contributed. and especially glad becca signed up to bring dinner tonight because her soup was amazing, i got a chance to see and chat with her, and finally turned over the baby blanket. her baby's almost 4 months old already and i've had the fabric since march. feels good to have completed it! thanks again, becca. (and everyone else, too.)

two to four more weeks to go! then i either have a baby or get to get out of bed until she comes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

new page

for anyone interested, i added a "my crew" page to the blog. it's an introduction to the family, highlighting all my little crafters. the tab to access it is at the top of the blog sandwiched in between the "about" and "my spot" tabs. enjoy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

sewing evolution

it's fall break here and sewing teacher, kelly hendrickson, had day classes open during the week. both my older girls went yesterday, returning with completed reversible bags (started last session) and pajama pants. i was sew impressed!

 i like the fabrics both of them picked out, especially the green on my older daughter. when she put her pants on last night, she said, "these look like real pajama pants!" i told her they are real. likely she meant they are just like her store-bought ones. both girls are at a second session today. i think they'll either be working on a rag quilt or skirt. can't wait to see what they do!

daughter #2's bag, side A

side B

when photographing her bag this morning, she said to me, "i don't know why i put these two fabrics together! they don't really match." well, that's what i was thinking when i saw her bag, but i didn't say anything. she's learning and the more i let them explore and try on their own without interference and much guidance from me, the more i see their taste and discernment developing. i make casual (usually) suggestions when i'm involved in what they're doing, but ultimately it's up to them.

daughter #1's bag, side A

side B

while photographing this bag, d#1 said, "these are boxed corners. have you ever made them?" i admitted i hadn't yet. she then proceeded to explain to me how you make a boxed corner. awesome! i love that she knows something/did something i haven't yet.

it's been over a year now since i introduced crafting and sewing into our homeschool/family life in a concerted manner. at first i thought they weren't really catching on or that interested, and i felt slightly disappointed and frustrated. but i'm finding that the more experience they gain and by just having supplies available to them, they really are catching on, getting more interested. it's been satisfying and rewarding to watch. quite often now they'll get out their sewing boxes and tackle an idea independently or just get out idea books and browse for inspiration.

it's made me realize that they didn't have to jump into sewing whole-heartedly right from the beginning in order to like it or become life-time sewers. i'm reminded about what i know regarding so many of their learning pursuits:
1.  supply encouragement
2. give some instruction
3. model/demonstrate the desired behavior
4.  make supplies available
5.  give them time
6. be patient
7.  get out of their way!

i think the sewing classes have been helpful, but certainly not necessary to this process. a parent could provide their own classes at home. however, i think it's also good for the children to have a non-parent instructor if possible. maybe an available grandparent, neighbor, or friend could be a great teacher. there is more than one way to skin the sewing cat, so to speak.

ultimately, find what works for your family and enjoy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

4 sq blanket no. 8

while listening to general conference today, i finished off no. 8, my second boy blanket.

this was for daughter #2's primary (sunday school) teacher and i let her select the fabrics as well as sew the top.

we used a brown polka dot on blue ground flannel for the backing and i did the blanket stitch in a brown that matched the brown stripe in the stripey square. whenever there are multiple shades of a color in the blanket i have a hard time selecting which one to use, but it usually works out just fine since there are already so many colors and shades involved anyway. i used to be a strict color/shade matcher. not anymore.

while i finished the blanket, daughter #2 sewed her sock monkey's arms and ears on. too bad she can't locate the tail. tomorrow she'll add the muzzle and i'll blanket stitch no.9 while we watch the sunday sessions of general conference for inspiration and nourishment of the soul variety.