Dry Spell

So every summer I end up with a dry spell in my knitting. I thought this summer I could avoid that by sewing instead but it seems that August may just be an entire craft black hole. :) I was able to knock out my quilt top for Craftmas in July and it’s currently sitting downstairs by the TV waiting for me to hand sew down the binding. I decided to do it that way because I didn’t want my thread to show on the red bit of the candy cane binding and that way I’d have something I could do while hanging out with the boy. Sometimes he feels a bit like a sewing widower. hehe

I am currently psyching myself up for some new knitting projects and carrying easy WIPs around with me whenever we travel but nothing is getting done. :) Sometimes it’s just good to embrace the crafty drought and rest assured that it’s highly unlikely to be extended. September, you are earmarked for crafty greatness – dogapalooza allowing.

I did stare at my spinning wheel for 3-4 episodes of Haven on Sunday night but alas, I did not write down which bag of fiber I was spinning from!!! when I took my hiatus from TdF. I know better, I really do, and then I do these things again and again. I *think* I may remember which one I was working from and may just allow the weight of the spun singles on the bobbin added to the weight left in the two bags to dictate which bag I end up spinning for the rest of the bobbin. I kind of can’t wait to see this yarn when it’s done!

How’s your summer crafting going? On par, with your usual or are you also facing a dry spell?

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Craftmas in July

Mary Heather posted over on her blog a week or two ago about a plan she cooked up with Sarah, and Christina of Ravelry. They’re going to work on holiday projects in July so by the holidays they’ll have awesome homemade decor. Since I’ve been on such a quilting tear lately this immediately sounded like a great idea. Then of course I remembered the Tour de Fleece starts July 5 so it looks like I’ll be splitting time between these two challenges. My husband is used to picking up the household chore slack in July by now. haha. :)

I have some awesome Christmas print FQ bundles that I want to turn into a quilt. The ultimate goal being to have a quilt for each season. :) Right now, I am just stuck. I can’t decide what color I want my sashing/borders to be to go with this print. I was trying to stay away from white because it just seems that’s the modern world’s default go to sashing color. haha. :) But for these prints, it may be the right color so as to not over power the other bright and cheerful colors!

What color for the sashing?

Any other color ideas?

I am also having trouble deciding from all of the quilt patterns I have queued up. I am thinking about Framed or Swell from Simply Retro, Trellis Crossroads from Modern Bee, or Pow-Wow from Cluck Cluck Sew. I really wish the quilting world had a Ravelry so I could make a nice little queue out of all the beautiful patterns I see on instagram and pinterest.

The rest of this week is all about knitting while I spend some time with family over the holiday. However, come Sunday, it’ll be all sewing and spinning around here with the occasional bit of knitting when I am out and about in the world.

Do you have plans to partake in Craftmas in July? What are you making?

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Sideboard Protectors

Back in 2010, after Chris and I got married, we bought a lovely Amish built sideboard for our dining room with some of the money we were gifted for our wedding.

Sideboard

Sideboard

In November, my mom and I did our Christmas shopping trip on Veteran’s day and swung by Sew to Speak where I picked out fabric to make protectors for the sideboard shelves. Ideally, these would help protect the shelves from all the shifting back and forth of the serving pieces and pots we have stored in there. Since I had just begun quilting around that time I was going to use these protectors to practice different types of quilting before diving in to larger quilts. So I worked out the math, bought all the fabric and batting, and it sat in my closet for ages.

Meanwhile, I sewed up a few quilts for our home and for friends’ babies. Finally, last October when I was home sick from work one day, I cut out the pieces and the batting so I could begin sewing any moment. You can see them in the foreground along with another quilt that I have been working on this year.

All cut up

All cut up

For some reason I still just worried about messing up the quilting (which is a bit ridiculous at this point) and they sat around the office. So you can probably guess what one of the first projects was that I grabbed when I got that sewing machine to test drive for the weekend. I came home and immediately quilted the protectors, figured out that I no longer liked the binding plan I originally made and cut out new binding. I attached the bindings with the machine so I could test out some of the new stitches on this machine. The binding change worked out pretty well for the drawer and long shelf protectors because I had plenty of scraps leftover in the backing prints. However, the 6 smaller shelf protectors are still waiting on binding because I don’t have enough of the backing print to bind them and I can’t decide what I want to use instead. I absolutely love the pillow-y look I got on these protectors by stitching along the pattern lines.

Ready for their binding. As soon as I figure out what that is. Ran out of the fabric I was going to use. #quilting

Waiting for their binding.

Yesterday, we put the dining room back together after steam cleaning the carpets and I got some shots of the protectors in place. Now I just need to figure out how to bind the smaller shelf protectors and I can finally cross this project off my to do list and call it done. :)

Drawer protectors - front and back

Drawer protectors – front and back

drawer protectors

drawer protectors

Sideboard - drawers

Sideboard – drawers

I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I learned a few things along the way so they ended up being the learning tool I hoped they would be. :) My machine’s applique stitch looks really neat on bindings. Also, I didn’t have enough spray baste on the longer shelf protectors and the fabric shifted on me. This is something I’ll need to watch for when I am quilting long stretches of fabric. I had a bit of trouble when I was cutting out the fabrics trying to interpret my notes from so long ago, to figure out what it was I was planning to do. I’m trying to be better now about writing out more detailed notes to myself. Although, I learned recently that this only helps if you actually read the notes… haha. :)

Sideboard protectors - long shelves

Sideboard protectors – long shelves

Sideboard - long shelf

Sideboard – long shelves

Sideboard center cabinet

Sideboard center cabinet

Do you have any languishing projects that you’ve recently finished or that you want to knock out this year? 

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Creativebug – Log Cabin class

Back in April many of my friends were taking the Line Drawing Class with Lisa Congdon on creativebug. I really wanted to participate but I knew with the work travel I had lined up and some other household projects that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Then in May I was reminded again about creativebug during the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day. I saw a post for Susan Beal’s Log Cabin Quilting class and instantly fell in love with the baby quilt. After a bit of research into how creativebug works I signed up for a year subscription. There are many classes that I want to take and I feel like I can accomplish them all in a year’s time. If there are any of them that I want to keep forever I can buy them a la carte if I decide to not renew my subscription. They really are adding new classes all the time. I have vague memories of checking them out last June and their current course catalog has many more classes.

I really enjoyed the class and found Susan’s manner refreshing and helpful in reminding me that everything doesn’t have to be perfect to look great. I know I’ve mentioned before that I got scared off sewing when I learned about squaring up fabric. I am not saying you shouldn’t do it, but it’s nice to be reminded that the world will not end, nor will your quilt crumble into strands because your cut is slightly off. She was very informative and I feel like I learned a lot. I’m excited about the projects I made from the Log Cabin Quilting class. I knocked out three pillows that will grace our sofa in the freshly painted living room (once I get to the store and actually buy some pillow forms!).

Log Cabin Pillows - fronts

The little detail on the back for the envelope enclosure makes me smile. :)

Log Cabin Pillows - backs

I also made a baby blanket. I have a lot of prints and colors going on in this blanket, a few more than the original quilt so it has a bit of a different look. I think you can still see the design pretty easily. The top and back are pieced, Now I need to make the time to baste and quilt it. :)

Log cabin baby blanket - top

Log cabin baby blanket - pieced back

I’ve also started on a lap quilt version of the bably quilt for a friend. It’s all super hush hush but you can see this picture of the prints that I helpfully made B&W. :)

It's a secret quilt! dun dun dun!

I’m also looking forward to making Susan’s Modern Crosses Quilt that hangs in the background for the entire class. I even have some fabric picked out for the crosses. :)

Next up on my list of creative bug classes to take are definitely the Line Drawing course by Lisa Congdon and then the Pattern Drafting courses by Cal Patch. I have Cal’s book Design-It-Yourself Clothes and I think the creativebug courses will be the perfect companion piece while I work through the book.

Have you taken any great classes lately? Do you have any creativebug classes that you would recommend?

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New Sewing Machine – Janome 8900

I took a class on Free Motion Quilting in March and had a heck of a time with the tension on my machine – a Brother XR-60 that I purchased in 2004. We figured out that my bobbin case had some damage to it which was probably causing the bottom thread tension issues. I was able to source the part at a sewing machine shop up the road but I also started looking at new machines. I told myself a year or two ago that if I started quilting more and made oh I dunno 8-10 quilts then I could graduate to a newer and fancier sewing machine.

On Saturdays I would pop in to some of the local shops and check out their machines. Then as NQA approached I got more serious (hoping to find a good deal at NQA) and I took a Tuesday off to visit the couple shops that are harder for me to get to on the weekend. I spent at least an hour at most shops and well over 2.5 hrs at the shop I ended up buying from. I made quilt sandwiches to test out FMQ, took bits from an old bridesmaid dress, and cut up jean shorts of my husband’s to test out how the machines sewed on all the different materials. Because I’d last purchased a machine at Wally World for about $100 this was a new adventure in completely uncharted territory. I was mostly looking for a machine with a slightly bigger throat, – the easier to quilt with my dear! – a free arm for garment sewing, the ability to FMQ, and the automatic needle down feature seemed like a useful perk. I ended up with all those things AND a lot more. I’ve also found a shop close to home that are wonderfully supportive, very very happy to have stumbled upon them. :)

The Saturday before mother’s day I popped in to Westerville Sew’N Save to double check a price from them after test driving the Vikings sold within Jo-Ann’s (I really liked these machines and they reminded me of the Pfaffs who apparently makes them).  They said they could tell I was a very competent sewist who needed more time on the machines to make an informed decision and then they sent me home that evening with a machine to test drive for the weekend!!!

I was so excited that I told Chris we didn’t have to do any of the other house projects I had planned for the weekend and practically floated home to dig out several of my sewing WIPs, some that had been languishing for nearly 3 years! I spent the rest of the day sewing and all the next morning before we went to hang with my in laws for mother’s day (my mother was on a lovely vacation at the time) and then I came back home and sewed. I did NOT call off work on Monday to stay home and sew (as much as I wanted to!). I also sewed all Monday evening and Tuesday morning. After work on Tuesday I took the test machine back and came home with the next model up. :D

I also may have joined instagram just before I bought my machine so you can see all of my weekend of test sewing documented in my feed. It felt great to finally knock out some of those languishing projects. It’s funny how getting a new tool can really reinvigorate a craft. It seems what I really needed was a machine that just made nice stitches – which my old machine did reasonably well but lately they just hadn’t been as nice no matter what I did. I’ve been sewing on average for a couple hours every day since I brought my new machine home. My mind is exploding with quilt projects I want to make and clothes I want to sew to wear right now! Hopefully, I’ll have lots of great FOs to show as the summer goes on.

What have you been working on lately? Have you recently acquired a new machine or tool that has helped reinvigorate a past time for you?

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