my sewing start

first quilt collage

I'm pretty new to sewing. I just really got started a little over a year ago. We had just moved, I wasn't working and needed a creative outlet. Before that, I had been an interior designer. Think of it as quilting with walls. I loved the challenge of space planning - it is a puzzle - what is the best way to fit those rooms in a defined space. Then, there was the finishing. Playing with textures and colors and light to create an environment was so. much. fun. (The day to day drudgery of all work was there of course, but the creative part of my brain was always working. I would literally have dreams in AutoCAD). 

Well, we moved. I no longer had that outlet and really was going a bit stir crazy. Then, when working on our guest bedroom, I really had my eye on a patchwork quilt from Pottery Barn. It would look lovely, the colors would be perfect and yada yada yada. Reality check: it's accompanying $300 price tag. 

That's when I got into sewing. Sure, it probably ended up costing about as much to make one, but I know it's good quality and I enjoyed making it. It got those lost creative juices flowing again. And then, I couldn't stop. I really never thought I would be the sewing type - but the combination of fabrics, the placement puzzles, the color, the textures - I just couldn't get enough. 

I now dream in fabric

I'm linking this post up to Sew Thinky Thursday at Mommy's Nap Time

#scrappy trip progress

I've been making progress on my scrappy trip along quilt. I have one more row of 6 to complete before I can finish it. I've enjoyed making this one so far. It's fast and fun and anything goes!

scrappy trip

I plan on lining it with some flannel to make a cozy winter quilt to snuggle under. I can't wait until it's done!

last weekend

hiking
This weekend we took the pup out for his first hike. He loooved it. The weather was gray and the clouds were low. It had rained earlier in the day, so the air and ground were moist. It almost seemed like we were back on the east coast and made the mountains in Red Rock Canyon all the more interesting. The clouds were moving so quickly that the scenery kept changing, revealing a different view every few minutes.
hiking hiking
We did an easier, soft trail to see how Fleury did. It had a few rocks along the path but he climbed them like a pro. There was also a swampy area near the creek and ohmygoodness did he have a good time there. He was literally running and jumping in circles all over the bent grass. Crazy puppy. hiking
All in all, it was a great first hike for the pup and of course, the hubs and I enjoy hiking a lot, so there will be many more in our future!

a ::little:: stashing

Oh, this Christmas, I got the most fantastic gifts...

Lots and lots of fabric came my way, and then I spent my Christmas money on even more fabric! (And yes, I'm making a quilt with scraps, figure me out..I can't explain).

I got Cherry Christmas from my mama:

loot
She also got me a bias tape maker and those little Clover binding clips. I had wanted to try them out (heard about them at my quilt guild) but gosh they are expensive. So I felt pretty lucky to be gifted them!

Chicopee bundles from my mama-in-law:

loot

And, you know, some more essentials (linen!) and clearance stuff from my LQS:

loot

I know exactly what I want to do with the Cherry Christmas and Chicopee collections and already bought that patterns to start. Can't wait to cut into them!!!

Did you get any sewing related gifts for Christmas?

on productivity in the new year

I feel I've been rather productive so far this year (don't pay attention to the fact that my new year's post is coming in late January...). Sure, I have no finishes to mention, and the house project list is rather long, but still, I feel like I'm getting the hang of raising a puppy and managing my time.

I've learned to make the most of those precious puppy nap times - shower, cleaning, laundry, eating breakfast all happen during those peaceful moments. And sewing. Every minute counts because when he wakes, every moment is spent on the go. go go go go go.

I'm really hoping that this year will be productive in quilts. I have purchased a few patterns and a bit of fabric (what an understatement, haha) and already have ideas floating in my head for oh so many quilts, but because I love lists:

Top 10 Quilts I'd like to make/finish in 2013

1. Handstitched class quilt (WIP)
2. Retro Flowers quilt (WIP)
3. Vintage Holiday quilt
4. French Braid quilt
5. Feather quilt
6. Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt (WIP)
7. Surprise Baby quilt
8. "Out to Sea" quilt
9. Harry Potter quilt (this one's for my sister)
10. Surprise Log Cabin quilt (WIP)


Maybe, if I'm really productive, I'll finish all these and not just collect the tops (shame, shame), although I sometimes do just enjoy the process and take my good, sweet time. And you know how it goes, sometimes you see something you have to make right now (scrappy trip anyone?) and all planning goes out the window....


patience, my dear

retro fabrics

So, finally, I have felt confident enough to venture into the land of curves. I bought the pattern for the Retro Flowers quilt last summer in hopes of tackling it at some point. I had debated what fabrics to make it with and you know when you get fabric and it sort of tells you what it wants to be? Well, that's what happened with the Chicopee bundle I got for Christmas. I pulled my favorite prints and I ended up noticing how well all of it looked with my black yarn dyed essex linen and I was sold.

retro fabric decisions

Well, sort of. There was a small debate on background color that I asked my husband's opinion on (natural versus black essex linen). His response: "Well, which one do you like the most? Because that's the one I like the most." Wise man, that one. Unhelpful, but wise.

I read through the entire pattern first as I had never before worked with a legit pattern. I can see why people pay for them though. It makes cutting and piecing and even pressing pretty easy and you don't really have to figure anything out. I get it. 

petal

But the curves. The curves and that darned stretchy, shifty linen I love so much. It's a good thing I didn't have anything else to think about because geez, the curves are tiny! I had done a similar technique when I had done the NYB block last year, but boy, these are small compared to that and it makes it all the more challenging. It took me a whole puppy nap time to get one petal done. I can already tell that I'm going to love this when it's complete, but it may be a while until that point with the speed I'm going. yikes.

It's quite a difference from the crazy fast piecing of the scrappy trip blocks. I think it will be good for me to work on these together, to contrast each other.

Once I get one whole flower done, to make sure I'm settled on my background color, I'll start cutting out everything and chain piece the majority of it. Seems like it might go a bit faster that way. Faster, but still slow.

#scrappytrip

I'm sure if you quilt and read blogs, I'm sure you've heard of this informal quilt along - the scrappy trip around the world.

Well, once I got all cleaned up and had organized my scraps, I felt like I could really put a dent into them with this quilt and you know, join in the scrappy fun.

I loooove scrap quilts, especially square patchwork. I think it's the imperfect, casual look of it that just makes them so cozy. And creating something like this makes me feel like this is how quilts were made before perfectly coordinated designer collections, just using up what you have - the uglies, the remnants, the pretty leftovers from projects past - and making something beautiful and unique with them.
#scrappytrip WIP
And not to be deceiving, but these blocks are almost too easy to make (tutorial here). I had sewn together 8 blocks in just two puppy nap times. At this rate, by week's end I'll have a new quilt top to add to the growing stack of tops in need of basting...(oh, basting, how i dread thee). The best part about such a scrappy quilt, the squares are so small at 2" that even those ugly fabrics find a home. The larger picture is what your eye focuses on, not the itty bitty bits of fabrics.

I love the progress I've made so far, but I hope to make 25 or maybe more of these, depending how many scraps I end up having.

i did it.

Well, I did it.sewing space, organized
I cleaned up this huge mess of a space and also did some organizing which has me ohsoexcited to tackle some projects with my new Christmas loot (deets coming soon on that - sooo pretty!).

First, just getting the floor/desk/shelves cleaned off was a bit of a project. Placing all the fabrics on the comic boards and sorting them was quite a task. I ended up arranging them differently than before. I had previously sorted all fabrics by color, but I ended up sort of doing a three step system this time around. Most fabrics ended up sorted by color again (with multi colored fabrics together), taking up the top two cubbies. But collections I planned to use together, I placed together down on the bottom left cubby. I also stacked my solids together. I initially had them placed with their color groups, but I actually was sort of shocked by how many solids I had once I really got to sorting them out. Before, I thought I had just a few colors and a bit of neutrals. Turns out I have quite a little stash of solids going, so that made me quite happy.

sewing space, organized

I also organized the bins below my computer, replacing the one that had been holding my fabric scraps with my WIPs. The others hold yarn and other, non quilting fabrics. I also purchased some cheap-o plastic drawers to put in the open closet. They now hold all those scraps, sorted by size and color as well as a drawer for interfacing and one for batting scraps. I still have quite the pile of scraps to sort and cut and put away, but I made a decent dent, and for that I'm happy. The rest will get dealt with during puppy nap times. I thought about letting him hang out in here now that we're cleaned up, but his desire for everything wool won out and he snatched a ball of yarn and went whizzing out of the room, strings of yarn trailing behind him. We'll work on sewing room manners slowly, but for now, he's banished unless under strict supervision.

sewing space, organized

I'd love to write a bit more, but I've gotta go run the shenanigans out of this crazy puppy.

my helper

fleury i smell socks

Puppy loves helping with laundry. Here he is looking for socks, I'm sure. Just to make sure I didn't miss any.

He's keeping me busy and on my toes, without much time for anything else, but he's such a smart cookie. He's learning commands faster than I can learn to teach them and causing puppy mischief in the meantime. With lots of hilarious moments. Like this one, when I swore he rolled his eyes at me when I told him to get off the washer.

a new year's clean up

Over the holidays, my sewing room became an absolute disaster. It was the present wrapping station. The box storage room. The catch all really since it is the only room downstairs besides the laundry and bath that has a door. We had been keeping basically everything that we didn't want the pup getting into in this room, so it has become a crazy mess.

sewing room - before
I know I need to tackle my scraps before they get to the point of no return. I also want to place my fabric stacked vertically so that it will be easier to access (since of course, currently, I need on the one on the bottom....always). Hanging some tools on the wall and making the space more inviting by adding a few decorations would be a nice bonus as well.

sewing room - before
Of course, this was all something I wanted to get done, especially before I started to work on some WIPs and some new projects I have in the works, but making time to tackle a task like this wasn't too high on the priority list.



That is, not until puppy figured out how to open doors and developed a taste for fabric...now, it's more of a necessity than a luxury. I'd love to have him come into the sewing room more often with me (so I can teach him proper sewing room manners....the first of which is: no eating mama's fabric. the second: stay away from the yarn.) but currently, it's just too messy.

Over at Threadbias, they have thrown out a challenge to clean up our sewing spaces by January 11th. It's going to be tough, but I'm hoping to do it, even if I still am working a little on getting scraps organized.I'll pop in then to give a quick update on how I've done and post some after pictures! Wish me luck!

*Anyone know how to edit video orientation?

2012 in review

This year was pretty big (and busy) in our household. We bought our very first home and added a furry member to our family.

We hosted Thanksgiving for a crowd. My sister came to visit - twice! And I taught her to sew! And do yoga! And help in the kitchen! (And if you knew my sister, you would understand why these all required exclamation points!)

I took up sewing and finished two quilts and a variety of other projects. And like any quilter, started a few projects that are still a work in progress. I made some new friends and went on my first quilting retreat.

I worked on my yoga practice. We made cheese.

I went to California for the first time and saw the Pacific ocean. We hand picked citrus and visited the San Diego zoo. We went on a trip to Texas and I went to my first Ice House. When we weren't traveling far, we stayed close and explored the mountains surrounding our city - from Mt Charleston to Red Rock Canyon.

I'm sure 2013 will bring even more adventures and fun. Here's to the memories of a year passed and to what the future holds in 2013! Cheers!