Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Magic Mojo

I think my sewing mojo is back, firmly in place.  First, the little projects I did last blog helped, then, as part of my Program directing at Great Lakes Heritage Quilters, we had two "Workshop UFO Sewing Days" Friday and Saturday.  Sewing all day long both days (except for a good deal of talking & visiting) was great fun & got me moving again.  I completed all but one of the needed arcs form my Wagon Wheel quilt.  that last set of arcs will be easy to kick out, then I will be on to piecing them together into the blocks.  That is a fabulous quilt pattern & seeing fabric & color choices of others making the same quilt was great fun.

As two days in a row of sewing most of the day weren't enough, Sunday I sewed some more.  I previously posted a baby quilt I was making for my daughter's friend, who had her first baby, a boy nicknamed 'Bertie', born earlier in December.  Some pattern issues, some quilting dyslexia, and I decided to make her another, which ends up being an additional quilt.  Small, 25X31, it's ideal for strollers or car seats.  I just 'winged it' & used strips from my scrapbox and green 'grunge' fabric for the background.  I love, love, LOVE it.  It quilted up quickly, using a simple, wavy lines method that softens its linear quality.
The two quilts are now boxed up & will be dropped at UPS today for their destination in Boise Idaho.  Daughter Katie says she is SO excited for her dear friend from her wonderful Writer's Workshop days and beyond, still good friends, to get the quilts for her baby.  Here are both of Bertie's  quilts:
As I've said before, and think most quilters would agree---baby quilts are the BEST.  So fun to make, small, do-able, instant (almost) gratification.  And after all of the fun of the choosing fabrics, design, piecing, quilting & binding, it then gets to be used for a BABY!

Sunday I also joined Instagram and the 'Economy Block quilt-Along' .  One of my 'modern friends', Vicky is doing it and her blocks are AMAZING--she really inspires me.  Her fabric choices are awesome & I would love to have them in my stash.  I think we need to fabric shop together!  I followed Red Pepper Quilt's instructions & am making the blocks at 5" finished.  Vicky's are larger (maybe 8"?)  to accommodate some of her novelty fabrics & they look great.  Her quilt will definitely go faster than mine.  Here is what I have so far, and a close-up of a few.  Novelty fabrics in the center, red for inside triangles & aqua fabrics for the block backgrounds.   I guess I should have made one more before photographing to have an evenly filled rectangle, but oh well!!
I love Rita Hodge's work, Red Pepper Quilts.  It's very colorful & fresh & she also has some great tutorials.  I'm a little torn about my blocks, as I love hers which is very scrappy & colorful,  but I decided to do mine with a more limited color palette.  But I plan on not using any of the aqua fabrics for the outer triangle mores than once.  We'll see....... I did start to add some other red fabrics (besides the solid) to make things more interesting.  I figure if I change my mind & want to go multi prints/colors, there's still time to do that.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I'm trying to get my 'sewing mojo' back.  I think that before I go in the sewing room, I think of all the projects that NEED to be finished, deadlines etc, and that can stop me from going into 'the room'.  Instead, a little more computer time, a load of laundry or straighten out a closet.  Just kidding!  Didn't straighten out a close--just thought about it!

Sometimes we need to go in & have fun, not work on something from the 'to-do' list.  A small project, or a new block.  I always like NEW projects the best anyway.  When it comes time to assemble, add borders, make a backing, FIGURE OUT HOW TO QUILT IT, I'm not as ambitious, not joyful.  Yes, I love to have finished quilts, it's great.  But at heart, I'm a "piecer".  There.  I've said it.  I feel better now.

BUT.  I have done a couple of things in January.  My pillow covers in the living room were looking a little shabby.  Wool, very cute, round pennies on, but the wool was getting pilty.  My living room was just repainted (professionally!!), so that ups the ante.  Things need to look nice.  So here are my recovered pillows, sitting in one of my wing chairs.  One goes in one wing chair (sideways, not upright like this) and one goes in the other.  This is where DH and I sit & sip coffee, read the paper and feed Iris little bits of buttered cinnamon raisin toast on the weekends.  Yes, Iris LOVES raisin toast!  We think it's the butter she craves, but she gets excited as soon as she hears the toaster come up.  Rubs against my legs (as DH is the one making the toast), then she gets her yummy treats. Then she tidies up, as cats do, God bless them!  You can also see my new colors here--most walls are this gray-ed blue (you can't see how gray it is here), white trim and one accent wall in a cocoa brown.  But pictures, quilts etc. have not yet gone back up, so the walls are bare.  Hate making those first holes in freshly done walls, but will love when those art decision are made & things are again 'decorated'.

Then, my friend Suzanne suggested my mojo could maybe be helped by making this mammoth pin cushion slash sewing aid for next to my machine.  She had made one and thought it was 'the bomb', or some other Suzanne-ism. So I finished that up today.  I used a combo of fiberfill and also a bag of crushed walnut shells, as I like these things to have some weight, to sit nicely and be a little heavy.... I think Pat Sloan shared it from this blog here.

 It has pockets on all four sides, two a little taller than the other and you can put in the things you want handy that may fall on the floor otherwise.  Seam ripper, scizzors, ruler, chalk marker, snips etc, plus LOTS of room on top for pins, pins, pins!!

Then, I had started a baby quilt before Christmas for my daughter's friend.  Got it quilted last week, but not thrilled with the quilting.  Now that you mention it, the pattern itself was a PITA (pain in the a**).  Don't you just hate it when people write patterns, put them out there as tutorials or you find them in Moda Bakeshop, and they have errors......Grrrrr!  This one did.  Sometime after I printed it & put it away in my notebook of patterns, it was corrected after the fact.  I had no idea.  I only knew as I was assembling it that something wasn't right.........Then.  Quilting.  If it's been awhile since I 'quilted' and by that I refer to the part that is the machine quilting, I sit and stare.  I have to get out my books.  I look at my collection of samples.  Maybe I doodle.  Then I have to doodle with fabric and sewing machine.  Urgh.....Such a process!!  It's not just in my mind,  handy,  when I need it.  I have to do all these things to get into the mindset!  Not my favorite part.  But hopefully, this little baby and his mom won't mind.  Hopefully they will actually enjoy having it and use it.  A lot.  And hopefully she won't KNOW a quilter who will pick it up & stare.....wondering....'what was she thinking'......