Wednesday, January 25, 2017

some munki munki

it's been a month since christmas.
anyone have their next one planned or started yet?
certainly not me.

i was going through photos and found this shot from christmas morning. can you tell we were up really late christmas eve?

this is relevant to a sewing blog because of the pjs i'm wearing. when i was getting "jingle jammies" (christmas pajamas) for everyone else, i came across some munki munki sock monkey pjs for me. my heather ross loving heart couldn't resist even though they are probably not fully age appropriate. the mr thought they were cute so i suppose i can still pull it off.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

love all around

so much going on in the world this weekend, right here in my own country, particularly. and i have to admit i'm baffled by some of it. but this is the statement i'm making right here, this giant quilt block. this is the flag i'm flying today and always: love all around.

political stuff is still shooting around well after the votes are in and the decision was made, the president elect announced. i've watched with sinking heart for so many reasons, but mostly over the way people are behaving. i've seen countless posts the share views the polar opposite of mine and i've just let it be. there is a time to engage in healthy, open opinion sharing, and there is a time to just let others voice their ideas without needing to respond with more than a listening ear. and hearing, seeking to understand, is so very important in all cases.

i knew inauguration day was hard for many people for a variety of reasons. i know what it's like to be scared and depressed when a new president is sworn in. so yesterday i was feeling all kinds of things for all the people around me, all the people on all the sides.

that's when i saw laura's "love all around" block and was introduced to may chappell's block campaign that so perfectly harmonized with what i was feeling at the core of all this mess.

i happened to have the better part of the whole day and evening available to me since my husband was away for the night. my scheme was to knock out tons of quilting. i had my "star of the circus" quilt to finish and wanted to get going on my "swoon supreme" quilt, too. but when i saw may's block and read her words, i dropped everything and spent hours making this one giant quilt block. i needed to make something that told people how i felt, that especially told the people who have different views how i feel toward them.

and i just happened to have several pink shades of kona cotton on hand, which i'd been intending to use in a large star quilt anyway. sure, the color layout was different than my original design, but the actual pattern was identical. also, i've been considering making a quilt for my aunt lynn, who is battling breast cancer. what better quilt than one with pink hearts that also sort of resemble pink ribbons, that was named "love all around"? i was sold.

i chose four shades of pink to make the four hearts meeting in the middle, arranged in a setting of love going round and round endlessly. four different pinks, but still all pink. different but the same. four hearts in four different directions but all meeting in the middle, all finding space for each other.

the whole afternoon as i worked on that quilt, i thought of why i was making it and what it meant to me, what it represented. i finally finished the block around sunset, too late to get a nice photo. but i wanted my message to get out there, so i photographed it in the worst possible setting (on the floor, at night, in artificial lighting) and put my post out there on instagram. it was a terrible representation of the block from an aesthetic point of view, but it allowed me to make my point.

here's what i wrote:

I sat quietly by through the ugly, upsetting political scene of recent times, holding my peace; not liking, not commenting, just observing. But today I saw @maychappell 's #LoveAllAroundBlock campaign and had to speak. 

I had to speak so badly that I spent my rare and precious free sewing time making this giant 48" block. And I'm posting an ugly nighttime photo, too, because I couldn't wait for better light tomorrow once my block was done. 

I am not sorry to see Obama go, I was not with her, nor am I an excited and celebrating Trump fan. But I do know and care about people in all those camps, and I am so tired of the divisiveness and fingerpointing and garbage. 

Love All Around is a political statement I am willing to, no, NEED to make. 

And by Love I mean kindness, compassion, tolerance, willingness to listen, crossing of lines, holding of hands, finding of similarities to build on. 

I love how May said, "If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Or maybe keep thinking and find something nice to say!" #MoreOfThisPlease Read her thoughtful post and find her block tutorial on the blog linked in her profile. #PoliticalQuilts #QuiltsAreLoveMadeTangible

and for the record, i'm not a feminist and i'm not marching anywhere this weekend, either. but if i was marching somewhere, this would be my flag and my message above all others: Love All Around.

i made the block in the exact same way i made my big star hst top. like i said, the method is identical, only the number and layout of colors are shifted. it's also slightly different from may's block design in that i didn't use accent hsts in the corners. but it's my version of her block that fits my needs.

i was moving at an accelerated pace while trying to pay attention to accuracy. however, once i started squaring up my blocks, i found i'd still managed to distort things just a bit. so i gave up squaring after 3 blocks. why bother if some were barely oversized and others barely under, anyway?

maybe that's why a few of my points didn't match up once pieced. unfortunately, the center points where the 4 heart shapes meet is not precise. but i think there's a certain appropriateness to that. even when we try our best to meet with love, things aren't perfect. and that's okay. when you step back, it all looks good and works out well. love can overlook such imperfections in the face of all the beauty.

i got the block for the center of the quilt top made. now i just need to add the borders and i have a complete flimsy. my last big hst went together so quickly that i expect this one will be done in no time, also. then i have to piece a backing. so far, the printed fabrics on the right are my picks. i'll need another bright pink or two to round them out.

then my aunt will have a quilt to wrap herself in, with Love All Around her.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

good habits

sewing isn't all just sitting at the machine and zipping fabrics through.

there are maintenance chores to be done on a sewing machine to keep it in good running order and little clean ups constantly needed to maintain a creative space one can actually move around in.

i have developed at least one good machine maintenance habit: i clean out the lint regularly.

i don't change needles often enough or oil the machine as much as i probably should, but i do have a habit of swiping out all the lint each time i change the bobbin. i keep the lint brush close by and use it whenever i have the bobbin case open.

what are your best and worse habits?
how do you make them part of your sewing routine?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

having options or how to manage project ADD

i have project fidelity problems.
also know as project ADD.

i just can't stick to one project from start to finish without switching it up. part of this is because i like variety in my creative life. part of this stems from having a limited amount of time to play with my quilting, also known as splishing and splashing with my stash.

if i do get some time, i'm not going to spend it slugging away at something my heart isn't into at the moment.

this is my hobby, after all.
my play time.
i want to have fun while i'm at it.

occasionally i can be a good girl and stick to something just for the sake of getting it completed. more often than not, i go with what i feel at the moment. since my sewing is not obligatory, i don't feel the need to do otherwise.

hence the fabric floor party going on above: fabric stuffs in various stages of quilt process assembly all over the place just outside my blue sewing room doors.

i like to have a number of projects going at once that are all in different phases of the process. that way i can decide what to work on depending on what part of quilt making i feel like tackling when i have time.

yes, i like my options.

at the moment, my main projects are:

quilting queue:

quilting penny patch 2.0 (which i already gifted in it's unfinished state to my mom for christmas. this is an unintentional family tradition, started by her many years ago. it's just the way my family does things. try to make something for a holiday gift and give it anyway if it's not done. finishes will come later.)

you can kind of see the quilting in the photo and kind of not. currently, in the new year, i mark off one 4sq x 4sq grid at a time. i try to do one of these a day, or at least a couple a week. i've nearly completed 8 of the 14 rows, which means i'm 4/7ths finished with the quilting. a couple more weeks at my current rate will see it done.

since april, when i found out my mom has stage 4 colon cancer, (about a week or two after my husband's accident) and i decided to gift this quilt to her, this has been my priority project. but as hard as i tried, i couldn't make myself do only this. my time was so infrequent and sometimes i couldn't face the fmq. interspersing it with other projects is actually helping me get it done more quickly because i'm enjoying my quilt life more, which means i get up early to quilt more often.

 this beauty has been folded up on the couch just outside my sewing room since april, also. i was doing one row a day right after the accident just as a few quiet moments of therapy at the beginning of my day while my husband was still in the hospital. i was loving it, but set it aside once penny patch 2.0 took priority. a few days ago i decided to add it to the mix, just for fun. one row of those modern loops every now and then doesn't take much time at all.

today i was doing my one row of loops and ran out of bobbin thread right where my finger is pointing - about two loops from the end of the row! ugh. thread burying two stops and starts just for two loops. maybe i'll just leave this row as is.

piecing queue:

my big star hst quilt (here and here), at the back of the top photo.
it still needs the neutral borders put around the star and then the flimsy is done.

i'm also prepairing for putting the backing together, hence the large swaths of fabric laid all over the floor.

A photo posted by @hydeeannsews on

d3's christmas quilt flimsy is done, it needs a backing also. that's the green piece in the top photo. the top is under my star quilt pieces, which is pretty accurate for where it falls in priority: on the bottom. the stars really have to align if i'm going to give sewing time to kid projects right now. i do try to be a good mommy and fit those in once in a while.

this next project is in a couple stages, so it can be a piecing thing or it falls in the

cutting queue:

my gypsy child hst quilt
(here and here)

there's still this lovely pile of pairings to be cut into 3.5" squares, hsts to chain piece, or hsts to be trimmed after pressing.

i get to just take my pick.

this is my plate of the completed hsts so far.

i need 21 sets like these. with 7 finished, there are plenty more to work at.
(darn. i did mean to crop that dark corner out of the photo.)

so that's what i'm hopping and skipping around in these days.
and as much as i like to go by the spontaneity of what feels like fun at the moment, i do have a method for adding responsibility in the mix.

first, i decide if i feel like some clean up needs to be done in the studio. fabric folding or whatnot. sometimes that happens. if the room is clean enough, i choose to either do cutting/trimming chores or sit at the machine.

when i'm going to sit down to the machine, these ladies keep my moving around.

let me explain.

once apon a time, i hated changing threads or feet for projects and mostly just worked through whatever needed doing until a change was required. now i don't mind a bit the few seconds it takes to swap out feet or thread. mostly i still let the bobbin dictate what i do by working on a project until the bobbin runs out. that's my signal to move on. i keep my machine projects rotating by the bobbin and it really mixes things up for me, satisfying my taste for variety.

by the way, that pink thing holding the bobbin and spool together is the june tailor thread mate spool and bobbin pin. it doesn't actually fit the aurifil spool snugly, it's sized for standard spools. but it does help them stay in place well enough to keep my threads together.

the grey thread (aurifil 5021) is for the big star hst quilt.

the blush pink thread (aurifil 2415) is for quilting the loops on the triangle quilt.

the white thread (aurifil also) is for quilting penny patch 2.0 or piecing the gypsy hsts.
note the two bobbins here. i got to a section stopping point on quilting and saw the bobbin was pretty low, so i simply removed it and set it aside for piecing at another time, and put a full bobbin in place when i started quilting again. no way was i going to start quilting with only that much thread on the bobbin because it would require a stop (and burying threads) quite soon. piecing with it wouldn't be such a big deal.

in addition to the bobbin, i have a set amount of each project i will work on at a time: a row of loop quilting, a 4sq  x 4sq section of orange peel quilting, a set of hst pairs. i make myself either change projects or go do something else when i reach the end of a project's designated allotment. this keeps me from sitting at the machine too long (bad for the body) and from getting lost in the quilt studio when i have other things to do.

winter break has given me a nice chance to pick up quilting again. i hope it continues when our regular schedule resumes next week. if i can just get myself up a little earlier in the morning, i like to work for a small amount of time on whatever project the bobbins dictate.

how do you decide what to work on?
do you have a rotation method or just decide what you feel like?