Wednesday, August 20, 2014

happy binding

 it's the rare occasion that i try to make the pattern in my bindings match up. this was not one of those times. however, as i was ironing out the strips after joining them, i couldn't help be pleasantly pleased and just a little tickled when i noticed how perfectly some of the strips lined up. pretty, aren't they? hurray for happy sewing moments when something spontaneously goes right rather than awry!

 and now this adorable heather bailey "lottie dot" (which is really more like a concave square) is ready to bind up the florida baby quilt (as yet unnamed). i love this dot and was so disappointed that she didn't make it in the orange from this collection, too. "lottie dot" from "lottie dah" came in purple, olive, charcoal, and cream, but not that luscious tangerine orange. so sad. it would have made a great binding, too.

since this is a baby quilt, i went for machine binding again. following my last happy accident, i purposefully made this binding at 3" rather than 2.5", which works out beautifully for me for machine binding. previously, i used a piece of clear scotch tape to mark where i should be attaching the binding but somewhere along the way since then, someone else mentioned they use washi tape. (sure wish i could remember who to credit!) the washi is easier to see and a lot cuter, too.

 the one little mistake i did make this time around, besides wandering off course in a few places, is i attached the binding to the wrong side. i attached it to the back, which means i'm folding over and finishing off on the front. with handbinding, this doesn't make a difference to me. but when machine binding, the first side has more potential room for showing error, so i'd like the errors to be on the back, rather than the front. not too big a deal, but it's a "note to self" preference for next time.

actually, i probably should have used a thread that blended rather than contrasted. that was just laziness of not wanting to change threads. again, not that big a deal. just a "note to self."

 otherwise, this is a pretty, happy binding that makes me smile!

there is still a smidgen of quilting to go (backwards, i know), because i had to finish unpicking that ugly quilting on the pink strip. i got tired of waiting on the unpicking and completed the binding first. now to correct that quilting. when that's done, i'll have a finish on my hands! and a great story to share.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

19 and counting

my epp has been languishing away in a lonely corner for most of the spring and summer, but i've worked at it a few times during d2's volleyball games in the last few weeks. i have lots of other opportunities to work on it coming up, so i pulled out all the finished blocks to see where i stand with the project. i have a combination of approximately 19 wheels - approximately because some are full wheels, some half, and others already joined. add in the one i sent liz for her birthday and that means i made 20 blocks since i started last summer.

as d1 so kindly pointed out, at this rate of production, it will take me 5 years to complete the 100 blocks i am aiming for with this quilt. not such a happy thought. but i was pleasantly surpirsed that my total was as high as it was. last time i checked, i only had about a dozen made. working at it here and there, i managed to make 7 more blocks without realizing it. i should do that more often.

today i was cutting some fabrics i bought to add in several months ago. as i was cutting triangles, i took this photo to remind myself in the future that the perfect measurements for the triangles are as follows: 2.25" strips, cut at the 1.5"/#2 line. this makes up pieces just exactly as i like them.

now let's see how many more wheels i can churn out before summer is over.

Friday, August 8, 2014

photos that just won't

 so, i know a thing or two about photography. i really do. i have a good camera and a fantastic lens. i use natural light whenever possible and often wait until i can get it to photograph something. i know how to shoot in manual. i adjust my white balance and exposure compensation all the time. i know what aperture means and which way to go when i want more light or depth of field. yeah, i know all that stuff. i aim to take pleasing photos "in camera" and don't edit hardly ever, at all. this works pretty well for me most of the time.

however, i am having a hard time with the latest fabrics i've been using. despite the natural light and adjustments, they just don't look good. whenever i take a detail shot, i end up with what looks like a terrible flash photograph. just look at the ugly pictures i got when shooting in the lovely location above:

white balance - shade; too yellow

white balance - sunlight; slightly grey

white balance - sunlight, exposure adjusted +1 for more light; washed out and colors too bright
 and what happens on the design wall is even worse. i really do try to square myself with what i'm shooting, but it's difficult in the room with the table in the middle of everything taking up all the space. i stand behind it or on it when necessary.

  i tried to get a shot of part of the quilt on the design wall in natural afternoon light. it looks like a nasty indoor flash photo to me. is it that the intense colors in this quilt are difficult to photograph or is it me? the reds, in particular, are always off. and i either get slightly grey photos with not enough light in the whites or nice bright whites but the other colors are too intense and/or washed out.

here's the setting where i'm shooting the design wall photos, all natural light only:

white balance - shade; too yellow
 btw, my walls are a buttery yellow color, best captured on the left behind the ironing board in the above photo.

white balance - daylight; greyish, especially in the whites.

white balance - daylight, adjust exposure +1 for more light; washed out and colors are lurid
i know all our screens won't be synced, so this may come across differently from where you sit, but maybe you see what i'm talking about. any suggestions?

fyi - i shoot with a canon 60d body,and canon ef 24-70mm 2.8 apt ultrasonic L series zoom lens.

Monday, August 4, 2014

basket o' quilts

 last summer, i had three quilts happily living in our family room, there for anything (reasonable) the children wanted to use them for. my method of storage for them was to drape them over a couch arm. it worked well at the time. fast forward to early this summer and i have 5 quilts who reside in the family room. the old arm-hanging method wasn't working so well anymore.

so i found a basket at target that rounds them all up nicely - and quite literally seeing as it's a tube-shaped basket and i roll the quilts to put them in there. this is a smith and hawkins basket that matches the large baskets i have housing kids' shoes and sports balls in our central hallway. i like that the basket matches but is unique in it's shape.

until becky gets busy with her mad woodworking skills and makes me a quilt ladder (pretty please?) like the one she just made for herself, we'll be using the basket for quilt storage 'round here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

my crew - 2014 update

in addition to being a hobby sewer, i'm a mother of seven and wife of one. i've been dragging my kids right along side me in this sewing/crafting adventure begun late 2010.

on-line, we guard our children's identities and privacy closely, so although i feature their projects along with my own work, i will not show their sweet faces or use their darling names, as much as i love both. our last name is completely taboo.

also top-secret is our location. let's just say we're blessed to live in the good ole' USA, in one of the hotter regions. naturally, that could be one of several states, some of which i have also lived in during my lifetime.

if we are fortunate enough to know you, pretty please do not reveal or refer to any of this information on this blog.

still, all the paranoia aside, here's a look at the family.

daughter #1, sixteen years old
started her first quilt this year as part of an english project. still waiting on the top to be completed now that her english paper has been written and recieved it's A. lately has been making hairbows for fun. "mom, it's okay that i used your scraps for my bows, right? i just used these strip pieces." actually, no. you need to ask first, hon. but i'm glad you're making something!

son #1, fourteen

can work my machine, has crazy-big ideas (like the patchwork bags he made his littlest sisters at christmas in 2011), and tries a bit of everything. not a committed sewer, but very artistic and always has a creative project of one sort or another going on: baking, paper airplanes, mini weapons, holiday decorations, drawing. he's great for consulting when i need opinions, likes a math quilt challenge, and won't leave my rotary blade alone if there are scraps to be sliced and diced.

daughter #2, twelve
got her own sewing machine for christmas 2012 and makes projects all the time. this year she made two four-square baby quilts for a church fundraiser for camp.

son #2, ten
is mostly just waiting for mom to finish his quilt. "mom, is it done yet?" i can't remember the last time he sewed anything but he does love my quilts and helps hold them for photos occasionally. most of his creative energy is invested in disappearing when it's time for schoolwork and in masterbuilding with legos. on any given day there is usually a soccer ball in my sewing space kicked there courtesy of s2.

daughter #3, eight
loves to read sewing books and is always asking to start something. if only my time could keep up with her inspiration! she is most recently working on a small felt applique scene in an embroidery hoop.

daughter #4, six
is mom's bestest little quilting buddy, my most constant companion in the sewing room. her official jobs are snipping threads, removing basting pins, and cleaning my machine's exterior with the lint brush. she's made her own kitty softie and a mini quilt to go with it.

daughter #5, three!
thinks any quilting tool belongs to her, not me. loves to play with pins, scraps, and rulers. decorates the design wall with her own scrap creations for me all the time. still walks all over any wips on the floor. "helps" me sew by sitting in my lap and placing her hands on mine as i guide fabric.