Showing posts with label Hand Sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hand Sewing. Show all posts

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Marathon Quilt: Month Eleven


Eleven months ago when I started on my Marathon Quilt I thought I would be a little further along than I am. But I'm not complaining. Well, maybe I was. I laid the project out this morning on top of our king sized bed to add some scope to the project and I was lamenting its current size in my head when my husband came in the room and commented that he couldn't believe how big it's grown since I started working on it last May. It's all about perspective. And I apologize for the crappy lighting. It's gloomy by the beach today.


I carry this project with me practically everywhere I go, just in case I find myself in a place with a little idle time on my hands. It's slow work. Methodical work. Most days I love the work. But I'll admit there are some days I would rather be working on something else. And I'm learning to listen to my instincts. This isn't a race. There is no deadline. It's just for me.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Marathon Quilt: Month Ten

Ten months have passed since I started on my City Weekend Marathon Quilt. This month I didn't make as much progress as I had hoped. Honestly, I lost a little steam in February but I'm hoping that I can recover my momentum in March. 


I also realize that I'm not using the fastest method to make this quilt. I'm using a ladder (or slip) stitch instead of a whipstitch to assemble the pieces together. I am sure this is absolutely the wrong method, but it's been working for me best because of the curves. I'm also okay with the slower pace that ladder stitching causes. There is no rush to finish, although I might have been a little antsy in February because I'm already percolating on and idea for my next hand-done quilt. 


March is longer than February, so let's hope I have more progress to show next month! Oh, and be sure to stop by tomorrow when I start the Virtual QuiltCon Quilt Show for everyone who couldn't make it to Austin.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

QuiltCon Day One Recap


Oh, I don't even know where to begin with documenting the whole QuiltCon experience. I am still basking in the afterglow, and trying to catch up on some sleep. It was amazing and I am already planning for the next one in 2015. I think to do it justice I might have to break my recap up day by day to avoid sensory overload. I also have a plan to share a virtual quilt show for anyone who wasn't able to make it to QuiltCon so everyone is able to experience all the wonderful quilts featured there. 


I flew in on Wednesday night and my flight was delayed so I got in very, very late and didn't get much sleep. I had a plan to wake up early on Thursday morning to get to the show and the vendor floor early, but, instead, I took my time getting there, partially out of fatigue and partially out of a little fear. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was a little intimidated walking in on my own, not knowing anyone. 

The pile 'o crap that I accumulated while at QuiltCon. It's a mixture of swag, class materials and new purchases.

First off, upon registering I was presented with an amazing swag bag. I didn't even know where to start. And it was heavy. And I had to tote it around with me, along with my personal bag with my supplies for class all over the vendor floor. I had a couple hours before my first workshop so I headed to the vendor floor to check out some of the booths and the quilt show. 

My quilt hanging in the show.
The vendor floor was small enough for one to easily navigate in a couple hours. Hopefully next time, there will be even more vendors and more interactive booths. I must admit, the first thing I did was search out my quilt in the show. It was one of those pinch me moments and then, true to my nature, I started picking it apart in my head. I need to stop doing that. But, nevertheless, it was exciting to see it hanging with so many amazing quilts. 




My first workshop was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. I started with "Every Last Stitch" with Anna Maria Horner. Since I have a passion for handwork, I thought a hand sewing class with AMH would be perfect. And I would do anything just to be in the same room with her. She is so amazing and gracious. She just exudes loveliness at all times. She started the class by showing us some of her hand work and talking a little about her hand quilting and embroidery theories. 


We were each given a stack of Field Study fat quarters, batting, some gorgeous backing fabric, a needle and a set of AMH's pearle cotton floss - enough material to make a small quilt. All of us in the class decided to make a whole cloth pillow, rather than a pieced project, to practice our hand quilting. She then split us into small groups and circulated the room teaching us her basic hand quilting technique. Initially I thought there might be more stitches practiced and demoed but I wasn't disappointed because I know that I need work to perfect my hand quilting so I get even stitches. 




Sadly, I didn't get as far as actually getting to practice the technique she taught us because I ended up spending too much time chatting. It was awesome to find myself in a class surrounded by some of my online friends that I had never met in person before. I got to sit next to my friend Elaine, who I met through a swaps and is in a couple VQBs with me. We've been chatting for a while now, and even though she lives relatively close to me, we had never met. We totally hit it off and barely stopped talking the whole class. Then, much to my surprise, Courtney, who is also in a VQB with Elaine and I, was also in our class. And even more surprising, there were three Holly(ie)s in the class including my old co-swap mama. Not only did I get to meet old friends, I got to make some new ones. 


After class I met up with some of my good friends Liberty, Liz and Melissa we went back to our hotel to drop off our loot before I went to meet up with another online friend of mine for dinner. The dear, sweet Robyn, who I have known online for a long time, invited me to a wonderful dinner with a lot of fellow bloggers and even some fabric designers. There I finally got to meet Krista, another online friend, who is so kind and talented. Plus, I made some new acquaintances like Rashida, Penny, Monica, Melody, Kristin, Lizzy... the list goes on. 


After dinner a bunch of us from the LAMQG met up in the atrium of our hotel for a good, old-fashioned stitch 'n bitch. We even gained some more friends along the way. But we ended up getting busted around 10:30 PM and were told by security we needed to shut it down. Seriously, I'm running with the bad crowd! ;) So a couple of us moved up to our room for a little more chatting before calling it a night. Jam packed, I say, but not a dull moment.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Marathon Quilt: Month Nine


It's a couple days late, but I promised a nine month check in on the Marathon Quilt. (I almost could have had a baby in the amount of time I've already put into this quilt!) I was traveling a lot for work in January, so that meant a lot of time on airplanes with time to hand sew. And I got a lot done, but I was a complete idiot when I was laying out pieces so the work I accomplished didn't necessarily help me properly this month. 


I've been laying out pieces for my rings and then stringing them together in order so I can just work semi-brainlessly when I'm traveling. Well, you know me and my blonde moments. I do have them quite often it seems. In my haste, as I was laying out the pieces for the next five blocks I ended up laying out extra in between rows. I didn't notice my error until I was almost all the way finished with them, so when I started piecing them with the centers I started to notice that my rings weren't flowing right. I know, it's scrappy so it shouldn't bother me, but it does. I was able to fudge a couple of them, and I know I'll be the only one who will ever notice the inconsistencies, but ugh! So I have a few leftover rounds that I know will find homes later, but I just couldn't bring myself to pick them a part. Instead, I just made new ones. 


So, there are more homeless pieces this month. After that pile had dwindled to almost nothing. But I'm excited that I have pretty much used all of the little ring pieces that I pre-pieced so long ago. Now, I'm working from scraps and enjoying the basting in between the sewing. And I did get five new blocks pieced... almost. Even though they're not joined to the main body of the quilt yet. This little project keeps growing every month. I'm not anticipating much growth this month, though you may see me working on it a bit at QuiltCon. Less than two weeks away! I am so excited!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Marathon Quilt: Month Eight


It's been a little silent around here because the husband and I took a little trip over the holidays. I had ten days off from work so we headed up to Alaska. Neither of us had been and we got an amazing last-minute deal so we just went north. We had an agenda for the trip, which is totally unlike us, but the weather thwarted almost all of our plans. It was unseasonably warm while we were there, but we still had a blast. I did had a cold that I couldn't seem to shake the entire trip so I spent most of the days sleeping in, skiing half day and then retiring back to the room to rest before dinner. 


I did manage to get some sewing done during my rest periods. So, I actually made a lot of headway on my Marathon Quilt. Last month I only had 9 blocks fully completely, but only six of those blocks were actually sewn together. I went to town on making blocks during the plane rides and rest time in the hotel. In fact, I now have 15 blocks completed AND they're all joined together. 


Unfortunately this cold lingered and turned nasty as soon as I got home on New Years so today is actually the first day I was able to drag myself out of bed. I felt like I really needed to make an appearance at work this morning because on Sunday I'm back on another plane and will be gone on business for the next ten days. Ugh. I really hope I can shake this thing and fast.


While lying in bed the past couple days I did also manage to plan out the next four blocks (block 5 is complete spare for the middle). I'm planning to take this project with me on my business trip, so I anticipate making even more headway this month. Slowly but surely it's coming along. And Mercedes was very interested in my little photo shoot this morning. She kept trying to eat the pieces. Silly chicken. Happy New Year to all of you and yours!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

She Made Swap


After I had made the decision to cut back on swaps and bees, I had already committed to a few. One of those, the Modern She Made Swap, is wrapping up right now, so I can check one off the list. I jumped on board the Modern She Made Swap back in September when I thought that I would actually be in town for the majority of the Fall. Thankfully, I did find enough time to participate and make a (hopefully) thoughtful package for my partner. I just didn't have as much time to post pictures of my progress and comment on others photos as I would have liked. 



I must admit that I was a little confounded at first when I got my partner. She was way wide open and seemed to be happy with anything and ultimately I just wanted to please her at the end of the day. So I did some stalking and carefully watched how she would respond to pictures other people posted in the swap and I finally decided on a (mostly) solid Mini Quilt for her. I knew she loves solids and the theme of this swap was "Triangles" so I made her a herringbone mini, that ultimately was hard for me to part with because I loved it for myself.


I also made her a matching little fabric basket, that you've all seen before. And I included some batik fat quarters to go along with it, since she admitted to having a *secret* adoration for batiks. I haven't heard back yet, which worries me because she should have her package by now. I hope she loves it. 



Then, I received a fabulous mini quilt from Heidi. I just adore it. And I can't wait to hang it in my studio. She captured my love of modern, clean lines, hand stitching and low volume fabrics perfectly. She says it was a stretch for her, but I think it came to her naturally. 


She included a matching pin cushion and some Kate Spain (favorite) fabric scraps for me in the package as well. Lucky me! I love good mail days like this!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Marathon Quilt: Month Seven

Thank you so much for the support I've been getting from a lot of you over the past few days. It really means a lot to me. I've always used my sewing as not only a way to express myself artistically, but also as therapy to help me work through things in my personal and professional life. I've often explained my craft to people who don't get it that it's the one outlet I've found in my life that allows me to completely unplug from the rest of the world. When I'm in front of my machine I have to concentrate on the task at hand or else I start to make mistakes. It forces me to focus on one thing, not many things at the same time like I have to do in the rest of my life. 


This weekend my husband and I went up to San Francisco for a couple nights for a Holiday work dinner for him. Our flight was delayed getting up there so I had several hours in the airport to work on my marathon quilt. I didn't post a six month update, and that's because I really didn't have anything to show for it. I made little to no progress on the quilt during October, but I was able to make quite a bit of progress this month. Now, seven months into the quilt, I have nearly 12 blocks completed. And I pieced six of the completed blocks together, which was a little challenge. Woo Hoo!


I often get asked how big I'm making this quilt. When I started I had visions of a King Sized monster for our bed, but now my answer has changed. And it's simple. I don't know. I don't know how big this quilt wil end up being, all I know is that when it's the right size, I'll stop. I realize now, having it on our bed really won't be practical. Our dog loves to get up on the bed with his messy paws and I don't want it ruined. But I do want it used because, ultimately that's the main purpose of making a quilt. 


So, I'm seven months in, with no end in sight. But that's okay. I'm in no rush, and I'm still not sick of it. I still find myself with a deep desire to work on it all the time, even though it often gets marginalized because there are so many "Have To" projects on my list. Hopefully, the husband and I will be taking another road trip over the holidays, so that means more time for hand sewing. Yippee!

Friday, October 19, 2012



So you know that amazing package I received from Whitney in the Pretty Little Pouch Swap last month? Well, I got to return the favor because she was actually my secret partner too. Fancy that! Unfortunately I don't think I was able to do nearly as good a job on her package as she did on mine. There was no way to top it. 


As I was stalking Whitney I quickly learned that mermaids made her swoon, so when I saw the new Sarah Jane "Out to Sea" line I quickly snatched it up for her. Then I had a hard time cutting it up since it was so super cute. And I guess that's where I was getting hung up. I had this nagging feeling that the pouch was too simple, especially after the awesomeness I received from her. 


But I couldn't resist. I kept it simple and let the fabric speak for itself, choosing to embellish rather than piece. Originally I was going to make her a bento box bag but she specifically requested a zipper closure so I switched things up and used a pattern from an old issue of Stitch Magazine, with some modifications.


I embroidered starfish and kelp onto one side of the pouch and then designed and pieced a sailing ship to appliqué on the other side of the bag. 



I also fussy cut the side panels to capture my favorite mermaids at play.



Sadly, I had started piecing a smaller pouch to go inside, but I was given 36 hours notice to be on a plane for work, and knew I wouldn't return home before the shipping deadline so it did not make it into the package. I did, however, fill the bag with lots of other little goodies, including a mermaid embroidered tea towel and a pocket hoop for her sewing space storage.




I wish I could live up to the greatness she sent me, but in the end I opted to let the fabric speak for itself. I loved having Whitney as a partner - both ways! She totally rocks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quilt Marathon: Month Five

It's been an exhausting whirlwind, let me tell you, but I am finally back at home. And I can't tell you just how good it feels to say that. I'm going to be playing catch-up on posts for the next week, likely. I had pictures ready to go before I hit the road but had no time to blog. I was literally averaging 3 hours of sleep a night, 7 days a week the whole time I was gone. The hours I wasn't sleeping, I was working so there wasn't even a moment to watch TV or read for a half hour, let alone sew. Well, I did get some hand sewing in on airplanes and in airports and I managed about 15 minutes on a toy machine - but more about that later. I am still exhausted and trying to catch up on sleep but I also want to catch up on blogging too. I know I'm very tardy with this update, but I did, actually shoot these photos on the morning of the 4th. So while my blog post might be late, the update on my marathon quilt is quit accurate. Let's just pretend it's the 4th, m'kay?


I have to admit that during the month of September I really felt like I was getting into a rhythm with this quilt. I seemed to have more time to dedicate to the process and I really felt like I was making some progress. And that's not to say that I haven't, just when I hit the 4th I realized I hadn't made quite as much progress as I intended. I think part of that is because I expected I would have a significant amount of free time in the evenings to work on it while I was on the road. Since I was originally expecting to be on the road for only a week I didn't pack my machine, so this was going to be the only project on my plate. Well, things changed. I bought a toy machine (more about that later) and my time was increasingly filled with more and more work. 


Another problem I have encountered, and I chalk this up to operator error, is in the planning. The beauty of this piece is that it's scrappy, but if you know anything about me I like order in the midst of chaos. So I am trying to control the chaos. But it's also teaching me a valuable lesson about letting go and allowing the fabrics to flow as they may. And I think that's important for me. This quilt is really helping me grow. So, as I plan out each block, following the order I laid out early on, I am finding myself having to play with which way I structure the rings since I chose to work with an odd numbered amount of different fabrics for in the rings. Which is fun, but sometimes after it all comes together I realize I don't like the path I took. Sometimes I go with it and sometimes I don't. When I don't, I end up with homeless pieces. But I know that eventually they will find a place to reside. Then, other times, I have made an unnecessary ring, forgetting where the rings meld together. I just look at it as less work for later. 


I have a feeling that October is going to be another slow month, as it seems that most of my free time will be spent either on planes (where I will sew if I'm not sleeping) or working on bee blocks and swaps that need to be finished. I'm just looking forward to November and the LAMQG Retreat where I promise myself I will take time to do hand work while I'm there so I can enjoy time with my friends even more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

PLP5 Received!


I had quite a surprise in my mailbox! My package from my secret partner arrived from the Pretty Little Pouch Swap. I was so not expecting it so early, but I couldn't be more thrilled with the package that Whitney sent me. I have had such a streak of excellent luck in swaps lately, and this one was no exception. She absolutely achieved perfection for me.


Whitney created this gorgeous and large (woot!) pouch for me incorporating my favorite colors, fabrics and styles. Seriously she threw a little of all of my favorites in there. Starting with the gorgeous teal linen. I am a sucker for linen. And the color palate she chose with the gorgeous aquas and greens... it's so me. And you know how I swoon for hand stitching!



But the greatest surprise was the other side of the pouch where she smartly designed an awesome appliqué jeep to incorporate my love of travel into the back. Eek! I am in love. I don't even think she knows that my husband and I have a deep, dark dream of one day buying a Land Rover and driving from Cape Town to Cairo. I mean, this couldn't be more perfect for me!



Inside the big bag were some awesome goodies, like thread, buttons, notecards (which I always need), fabric scraps and a magnetic box, plus another little handmade pouch to match the big one.



The little handmade pouch is just as special as the big one and it's the perfect size to hold thread, needles, scissors or other little tools.


She filled that one too, with some Burt's Bees Lip Balm always comes in handy and some gum. And to think she was nervous about this one. Seriously, it's beyond amazing and perfect. So, thank you, Whitney. I love everything. From the bottom of my heart!