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 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!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tucker's Bed

Allow me to introduce you to the newest member of our family:
Tucker is a four month old boxer mix adopted by my son and DIL.  Tucker was one of a plane load of very fortunate pups who were flown up from a shelter in Texas one cold January day to be adopted in New Hampshire.  He is adorable, as you can see.  

As part of my goal to work down the sewing supplies before the move,  I used two bags of batting scraps and a bag of poly fill to make a little bed for Mr. Tucker.
He immediately knew the bed was for him!  I think he likes it!

And even though we are all very bored with talking about the snow here north of Boston, it is lovely.

We are expecting another blizzard this weekend.  I can get through another few days of shoveling just thinking about Texas next week.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lots Going On But Not Much Sewing

There are some renovations needed to our lake house to make it work as our primary home.  We were told two weeks ago that construction was ready to begin in February and we needed to essentially empty the house.  OK.  We can do this.
 We took a break from the packing for a very important football game.  We all love those Patriots!

In the mean time, perhaps you've heard about the amount of snow we've been hit with here in the Northeast.  This is what happens when I start shoveling from the top of the stairs and my husband starts shoveling from the bottom.  A nice curvy effect.

Between shoveling, a two week old cold that will not go away and packing I have managed to start another quilt project.  One of my first fabric purchases was a layer cake of Birch Bark Lodge by Holly Taylor.   I sometimes struggle finding uses for pre-cuts so I am thrilled to have a plan for this bundle.
In two weeks we will be leaving for Texas.  I better start thinking about QuiltCon!  So excited!

I hope your week is going well!

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