Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why wait?

Do you ever, inexplicably, put off finishing a project, and when you get back to it, you can't imagine why you didn't just finish before?  That was me today, finally putting the borders on this pieced Dresden.  I already had the pieced border pieced - why didn't I finish this before?  I bet it took less than half an hour!

This will be my next hand quilting project.  I want to use a variegated crochet thread and do some big stitch quilting on the black.  Should be quick and easy.  Unless, of course, I put it down again...

Oh, and my Ohio Star selvedge quilt?  Scrapped!  Instead, I made the two Ohio Star blocks into an over-the-shoulder tote bag, and was happy to have finished in time for the Challenge Quilt reveal at the guild meeting today.  Oh, what beauties people made!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quilt selfie

Sunday and Monday are my days off.  I was SO TEMPTED to go back to the shop to sew on the treadle some more - it's just that fun! - but I didn't.  Instead, I worked up my plan for summer camp at the shop, worked on some samples, and started a baby quilt.

One week of summer camp will be making a small silhouette quilt.  The silhouette doesn't have to be of a person, but that's what I started with for my first sample.  The framing seems a bit heavy to me, so I'll probably cut it back a bit, but here's what I've got so far.

OK, so I know these are usually done in B&W, but I just don't see the world that way.  Besides, I've been looking for a use for that green fabric - I just love it.  And the background is a patchwork of neutrals, kinda like my own background.  I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but the strip down the center has sewing notions on it - cool!
As for the baby quilt, I've got a major quilting crush on Deanna at  The treadle quilt is based on her Fading Charms quilt.  This baby quilt is her Twinkle Baby quilt.  I love finding uses for all my pre-cut scraps!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Window Quilting

I spent most of my day making a dozen crayon rolls, waiting on customers, and helping two of the guys I recruited to Washington and Lee University sew nylon drawstring backpacks to take to the gym.
They brought these kits with them and I helped them assemble.
But every chance I got, I went to the window to work on my first treadle quilt.  I am using the Fading Charms quilt as inspiration, but of course, true to form, I am modifying it a bit.  Here's what's hanging in the window for the weekend.  It was hard to walk away at closing time today; I could have stayed there sewing until dark!  I am loving treadle sewing!!!
It is hard taking a photo of something in a window.  What's the trick?

Friday, April 4, 2014

My first quilt on a treadle machine!

I bought a Franklin treadle machine at an auction years ago, and it has just been hanging out at my house waiting for a new belt, some oil and some TLC.  I brought it into the shop on Wednesday, and on Thursday, one of my instructors said, "Hey, want me to get that going for you?"

Well, YEAH!!

She reconnected the existing belt, showed me where to oil it, how the vibrating shuttle operates, and got me going.  I also have a 1929 Singer treadle here that she got going, too.  AWESOME!!!

Here I am playing with it yesterday:

Then, today, I put it up in my display window and started making a scrap quilt with it.  Genius!  I get to sew with wonderful natural light, PLUS I can see all the comings and goings on Main Street.  And you should have seen the people stopping to watch on the sidewalk (and then coming in to ask questions and shop)!  This is going to be FUN, FUN, FUN!  It is so mesmerizing to use, and the stitch is beautiful!  I'm telling myself that it also counts as exercise.  :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Not enough time

There just isn't enough time to do all that I want to do!  My sister and nephew are visiting for a few days before they drive my mom back up to New Hampshire.  I want to spend time with them.

The next session of the SEW Cool Afterschool Program starts soon, and I need to make class samples for all the projects.  The theme is "Picnic in the Park", and we'll be making a water bottle carrier, a sun hat, a placemat roll with cutlery pockets, and a picnic quilt.  Since the sun finally made an appearance, I made the sun hat sample first.  It's reversible - denim on one side, quilting cotton on the other.

I want to finish the Ohio Star challenge for our quilt guild.  We have to make a small (114" in circumference or less) quilt that incorporates the Ohio Star block.  I've been wanting to play with selvages, and my idea was to spell out OHIO using Ohio Star blocks as the two Os.  I don't think it really works - maybe if I remove the brown borders from the H and the I.

Plus, I have so much knitting I want to get done - I'm not sure it was such a good idea learning to knit and crochet; I feel like I am pulled in so many creative directions now!  I spent an entire morning last week making a bunch of citrus blossoms and leaves to decorate a bar branch that I put in my shop window.

My mom did find time to finish her first quilt while here, an 80" x 80" denim and flannel rag quilt.  Isn't it lovely?  She did the whole thing, start to finish, in just 6 days!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Slow day = Sew day

Despite the fact that the calendar read March 24 yesterday, it snowed ALL DAY LONG.  My kids had no school.  Many people chose to stay inside.  It was a slow day at the shop.

That didn't hurt my feelings one bit!  I used the slow time to chat with the knitters who showed up to stitch together (it would take more than a snowstorm to keep them away from a Knit Together Tuesday!), and I made a quilted wine tote for my brother for his birthday.  These things are seriously addicting to make!

Tomorrow, my mom is going with me to the wine shop to find a wine to go inside.  This might be my go-to gift for my wine-drinking friends this year!  I made one for my sister, too, using the same fabric I used for her double potholders that I made her for Christmas.

When I came home, dinner was ready (I love my crockpot!), so after eating, I settled down to watch a few episodes of Parenthood (I'm on Season 2), while I worked on my latest toothbrush rug.  That class continues to be one of the most popular at the shop.

Today, I'll be working on my knitting needle case, and then teaching the kiddos how to make their tote bags during the after school program.  It should be a good day!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Erin's got a brand new bag!

While my mom is visiting, she is making her first quilt - a denim and flannel rag quilt.

While she was monopolizing the sewing machine today, I hung some sheets out to dry for the first time this year - beautiful day!

Apparently, the winter was rough on my clothespins and their bag.  Time for a new bag.

I picked out some fabric that I felt certain would never make it into a quilt, and came up with a quick and easy lined bag.

I think I'll modify this a bit and make some more - I have plenty of friends who hang their clothes on the line who might like a nifty new bag.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A day of sewing at The Stitchin' Post!

Not every day at the shop** brings in lots of money, but every day is fun!  Yesterday, one of my new friends came over to sew with me at the shop.  We both have sets of interchangeable knitting needles that came in awful plastic cases, and we are making fabric cases for them, mostly following the guidance of this tutorial.  However, those of you who know me know that I never work on just one project at a time!  While my friend was meticulously cutting her fabric (she's new to rotary cutters), I worked on making a class sample for the SEW Cool After School Program.

I'm so thrilled with the way my tote bag turned out!  Doesn't it just scream, "SPRING!"  We just finished a project with boxed corners, so I boxed these corners, too, so they'd get more practice.  The appliqued "e" (for Erin!) is so we can cover buttonhole/blanket stitch on the machine.  We've used the technique for making the straps and the loop closure many times before, so that's just more practice.  And by golly, before they leave me, they're going to know how to sew on a button by hand!

This bag is reinforced with fusible fleece to give it body.  I LOVE using fusible fleece!
Inside, we go over how to make a lined pocket.  They were pretty excited when they saw the sample yesterday, and set to work selecting their fabrics.  The only drawback to starting a new project with 7 kids is the way the shop looks when they are done selecting fabrics...

Here they are with the Dopp Kits they finished yesterday (one girl was out sick).  This project featured inserting zippers, as well as an introduction to boxing corners.  Let's just say that the seam rippers got LOTS of use!  But they all finished and were tickled with the result, so what more can I ask for?
The Dopp Kits are lined, have structure from the fusible fleece we used, and include a zipper and a tab at each end of the zipper

My other sewing project yesterday was for my Guild challenge quilt.  We got the assignment months ago, but I just started this week because I wasn't inspired until now.  Even now, I'm not sure my vision is going to pan out.  We have to make a quilt using Ohio Star, and it can't be more than 144" in circumference. 
 I've been wanting to work more with selvages, so that was my starting place.  In my head, it would be cool if I spelled out Ohio Star with selvage blocks, using two Ohio Stars for the "O"s.  Like I said, I'm not sure if my vision will work, though; not sure if the stars will actually read as Os.  If I have to explain the quilt to people, what's the point.  We'll see.  And we'll see, soon, too, because the challenge quilt is due at the next meeting the second week of April!

Now, I must be off to visit the quilt shop in town.  She just moved locations and re-opened this week, and I've been dying to see the changes.  Plus, I have a Sip & Stitch Wine Tote Workshop this Friday night at the shop, and while I have lots of wine themed fabrics to make the totes, I don't have many coordinating fabrics for the participants to use for the linings and bindings.  Should be fun, though!  I'm providing the materials and hors d'oeurves, and the students are bringing their own wine.  Have I mentioned yet that I LOVE my new job???
This wine tote is for my sister.  I used this chicken fabric to make double potholders for her for Christmas - I love this fabric!  She's coming down from NH at the end of the month, and I plan to give it to her with a FULL bottle of wine in it! I modified this tutorial for my workshop.
This is my class sample.  Again, the fabrics scream SPRING to me.  The idea behind the Wine Tote is that you can safely and stylishly carry your wine to your next dinner party, picnic or BYOB restaurant.  I doubt you'll be surprised to learn that I used Fusible Fleece in the construction of these totes.  :)  I've gone through an entire bolt in the last few months!
**The Shop refers to The Stitchin' Post, LLC, the business I started in August 2013 when I quit my job in college admissions (which I loved) to pursue my passion for quilting.  I've since discovered a love for knitting and crochet - I learned how to knit and crochet at classes at my own shop - so my quilting time has been curtailed a bit.  If you are ever driving through SW Virginia, I do hope you'll stop in to say hello. (like Doreen and Becky did - so cool!!!)  And if you use Facebook, my shop page is where most of my online presence is these days.  I don't find as much time to blog, but I do find time to post on the shop FB page every day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Giving it all away

I've found a little bit of time to sew lately, mostly making samples for classes at the shop.  The nice thing about those is that once the class I am advertising is over, I am free to give those samples away.

A friend who has been going through a tough time was the recipient of a Dresden Plate pillow
Instead of buying pillow forms (expensive!), I buy jumbo pillows from Walmart for less than $5, cut them in half, and sew them back together as two rectangular pillow forms.
I love an envelope back pillow so you can wash the cover.
and I am donating this little doll-sized quilt (or wallhanging) to a fundraiser at a local middle school.
I wanted to add the same motif from the outside strips to the inside strips, but my stencil was too big and I'm not talented enough to redraft at a different size.
Here's a close-up of the hand quilting, big stitch style with variegated crochet cotton.  I also machine stitched in the ditch along each of the vertical rows.
I have a rag quilt workshop coming up soon, and need to make a class sample.  I wonder who will be the recipient of THAT class sample?  Maybe I'll actually keep something for myself.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Million Different Directions

I'm supposed to be working on class samples right now, and I'm about to, but I am determined to get back to my regular blog posts.  I love blogging!  It is really frustrating me that I haven't been making/finding the time for it.

Instead, I've been knitting...
I was given 8 oz of reclaimed 100% cashmere, and wanted to make something fun and easy.  This Ruffled Scarf pattern lets me practice my short rows and wrap and turn, and the yarn is so soft to work with!
 and getting back into Block Lotto...
This month we are making 7"x14" purple (or gray or brown) and white chevron blocks
 and working on class samples for a Dresden Plate Possibilities class I want to teach.

This is the scrappy pieced block, obviously.  I'll also have a stack and whack/kaleidoscope version and a more traditional version.  We'll be making pillows while they learn how to use the ruler and piece the blocks. 
Oh, and I'm still learning how to run a business, trying to be the best and most present mom and wife I can be, and discovering the joys of Downton Abbey and Doc Martin!  I've been running in a million different directions at once, but boy, life is fun these days!