Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My April Post

I will be back to active blogging and sewing, I promise!  The house project(s) are moving along well but that means there is little time for playing with fabric.  One of my goals before selling our home was to finish up as many WIP's as possible under the theory that it would be less to pack (really, the proverbial needle in the haystack but it sounded like a good excuse to quilt!).  You might remember this post about my last Star Wars quilt.  It is now finished and on the way to a little guy who has had more than his share of medical issues.  Hopefully this will bring a smile!

 I also made a (tiny) dent in my fabric stash with this pink purse for a very special three year old.  I gave her one of my Vermont Teddy Bears and gave her a little purse too!

Another minor detail against the backdrop of a major move, but I wound all my floss!  I found this wonderful tutorial for using a power drill to save the wrist and improve consistency.  Using plastic bobbins is essential.  Now isn't that lovely?  I need to find some fun cross stitch projects now!

Finally, this is what my new sewing room looked like last week.  My sewing machine will be in the corner of those two windows.  The stairs you see outside the windows are being removed so I will have a clear view to the lake.  
And as if we didn't have enough going on, we planned a trip to Hawaii almost a year ago before we had made the big decision to move.  It seems just a little crazy that we are leaving with all these projects going on but a break from the stress of it all will be just fine!

I will likely not be blogging until I return from Hawaii but I will certainly be sharing on Instagram!  Thanks for your patience!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Some Sewing Between House Projects

My goodness there are a lot of decisions that need to be made when renovating a home.  Fortunately we are working with great people on this project who have been very helpful in presenting streamlined options and driving decisions in the order needed.  The new sewing room (so excited!) color has been chosen.
 This is Benjamin Moore opal essence, a light minty green.  To me this is a happy but not overpowering color.  What do you think?   We've been playing around with the room layout with this very sophisticated tool.

There are going to be two rows of three recessed light cans.    With the right bulbs and the two double windows, this should be enough light.

The process of emptying out our home of 23 years is a huge project and I think we are pretty neat and organized people!  But all the boys' stuff, handmade furniture we have inherited, perfectly functional kitchen stuff that is not being used, cute baby things, school pictures and so on all need to go somewhere.  Certainly, I will get to the point that I will pitch things in the trash, but right now we are trying to find the right home for everything (including the right charities to donate to).  Just a little stressful...to say the least.

I decided I needed to force a little sewing time in the schedule  to relieve some of that stress.  One day I cut some squares of fabric that seemed springy to me.  I picked up a set of Bloc-Loc rulers at Quilt Con.  A little simple HST sewing sounds quite nice.

I'm also trying to spend a little time quilting some of the older quilt tops.  This one is the oldest, indeed it is the first quilt top I ever made (blogged here) and the piecing is atrocious but it has sentimental meaning to me so it is going to be finished.  I've decided to practice my FMQ'ing and am breaking the quilt up into large blocks with a different quilting pattern in each block and in a border surrounding each section.

The quilting is disappearing on the front and is almost not visible as well on the back so a perfect quilt choice for messing up!!

In the mean time we are watching the snow melt (slowly) and planning how to do a Easter egg hunt in the snow.

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday - The Sewing Room

I have a number of sewing projects at various stages of progress but without a doubt my most important WIP right now is the design of my new sewing room.  As I shared in this post, we are renovating our New Hampshire house on the lake to make it work as our primary, full-time home.   One of the "must haves" was a room for sewing.

The room is approximately 13 feet by 11.5 feet.  Not huge but more than I have now.
This is my current sewing room (and a post with more pictures).
My goals for the new room include:

  • Space for a design wall.  
  • Excellent lighting
  • Space for my sit-down quilting machine
  • Bookcases for storage
  • A counter height cutting area on wheels

I have created a Pinterest board and am inspired by so many beautiful sewing rooms.

Lighting for the room is a near term decision.  Full spectrum light bulbs seem to be the recommendation for simulating natural light.  There is a perpendicular set of windows that will allow for a view of the lake from the sewing machine.

I am looking at cork flooring.  It should be good for the legs, soft and sound absorbing.  Although I understand I may need protectors under the machines and chair to prevent permanent indentations.
My current room sewing room has a lot of Ikea furniture that works well.  I think this Ikea hack will work well for a cutting space, perhaps with wheels to be able to move it from the center of the room to up against the design wall.
I feel so fortunate to be able to design my sewing room.  I'd appreciate any advice you have!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My First QuiltCon

This was my first time attending QuiltCon but will not be my last.  I would summarize the event in one word:  inspiration.  I fear my structured, orderly accountant's mind needs to really relax before I  could possibly design such amazing, creative, "unstructured" quilts. Nor will I ever be able to matchstick quilt or custom quilt with the detail or flourish of the quilts on display.  BUT I am absolutely inspired to think differently and keep trying!
 By now I'm sure you have seen many pictures of the quilts.  Sew Mama Sew has a very complete post with pictures and credits.  A particular focus area right now for me is quilting therefore I took a lot of close up pictures.  These are just a few samples:
As you read in my last post, this trip was a combined quilting adventure and vacation with my husband (as part of our 50 State Challenge).  Therefore, I planned my days carefully to balance taking classes, attending lectures, walking through the quilt show and the vendor space and touring Austin.
I attended a class on color values taught by Cheryl Arkinson.  I started out with this pile of scraps from home and my first pass at light, medium and dark:
 and ended up with this:

Cheryl had many specific tips to assist in the differentiation of value.  I will definitely add to this top in the future.

I attended a lectures by Meg Cox (quilt photography), one by Angela Walters (quilting negative space) and Victoria Findlay Wolfe (I've forgotten the specific name but it was awesome).   I learned something from each one.  In order:

  • Really, you don't like to see my husband's fingers and feet holding quilts in pictures?   I'll work on that.  Sorry.
  • Thank you for apparently not noticing all the mistakes in my quilting that I anguish over when my nose is inches from the quilt.   
  • I hope to someday be as brave as Victoria Findlay Wolfe and take scissors to a completed quilt top and rebuild it.  She is brave and ruthless when it comes to her work!

I did just a little fabric shopping.  Honestly, the swag that was in the bag given to each attendee was impressive.  I would have been happy if that was all I left QuiltCon with.
I will be in the front of the line when the Cotton and Steel holiday line, Tinsel, is available.  Love, love, love this!

In summary, the quilts were impressive.  The environment was fun and supportive.  The vendors were ready to take my money.  I look forward to future shows!

I hope to find some time to sew over the next few days.  Lots going on with the move, I promise an update soon!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

State #30 - Texas

Hi!  Did you miss me? I have lots to chat about that won't  fit into one post.  My husband and I just returned from visiting our 30th state in the U.S.  The project map now looks like this:
 Yes, we crossed off a state, visited a couple of interesting cities and attended QuiltCon!  We left  frigid, very snowy Boston early in the morning.

How lovely to arrive in sunny, snow-less Austin.

We arrived a day early and I planned my QuiltCon strategy so that we could fit in some time to visit a little of Austin.   Seeing these banners, I thought there might be a cross-stitch conference taking place in Austin also (come on, I know some of you attending QC thought the same!).

South by Southwest is a huge annual event that my son has attended so he was able to provide us some insight on the city.  Downtown Austin is very compact and walkable.  Our first afternoon in the warmth of Texas was spent in the South Congress Avenue area filled with restaurants and funky shops and sights.

Visiting the Texas State capital complex provided a history refresher of this enormous state that was once a country for a few years.

Did I tell you that it was my husband's idea to go to QuiltCon even though the first day was his birthday?  Yes, on his birthday I spent the entire day in an amazing quilt class (more on that in my next post) while he walked around the city checking out book stores, libraries, walking paths, the ginormous Whole Foods store, historical buildings and pet shelters.  We did do cocktails on 6th Street after and I had made reservations at Eddie V's for dinner and live music.  So, I'm not such an awful wife to completely ignore the day!

Interesting, fun city.  True to it's motto "Keep Austin Weird."  Renting a car, we drove south to San Antonio for a couple of days.  This is a huge city (by Texas or any other measure).  Our hotel balcony had a lovely view of the Riverwalk.

San Antonio, at least the Riverwalk area downtown, lives up to its reputation as a great place to visit. We enjoyed the riverboat ride, ate Tex-Mex, drank margaritas, toured the Alamo, took long walks along the side of the river, visited historical churches and watched the Academy Awards from our (free upgrade!) suite.

What a perfect way to end our visit to Texas with amazing live music in the Austin terminal.  This is Delaney Gibson and she is terrific!

20 more states to go!  Where to next?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ready for QuiltCon

I decided that a new tote would be necessary for QuiltCon.  Consistent with my goal of making our future move easier by working down my sewing supplies, I dug into my scraps and fat quarters for fabric.
I added a little red (marsala?) for interest.  A few crossed kayak blocks seemed appropriate.  I used this paper pieced pattern.
 On the back I just did some fast scrap assembly.
This is my first time attempting a recessed zipper.  I used this tutorial as general guidance.  The bag feels sturdier with the zipper and the interfaced zipper casing.

Lots of pockets inside for the phone, pens and other essentials.  I will be taking this on the plane instead of my usual boring (but very functional) black leather LLBean tote bag.

And how about a matching pouch for all the class supplies?

Yes, another wide open pouch from Anna of Noodlehead.
I really love that Carolyn Friedlander crosshatch fabric at the bottom of the bags.

I've cut all the fabric for my classes.

Now I just need to figure out what to wear and pack considering we are leaving 0 degree weather, heading town to Texas where the weather will be sunny and rainy with the temperature modulating between mid-70's and right above freezing.  Hey, but no complaints from me!
If you see me in Austin, please stop and say hello!

Have a wonderful week!

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