Monday, May 27, 2013

An older Project (as promised)

I finished 4 bags for my etsy shop!! I've been working on them for the past few days and I'm pretty excited.  I just finished them, though, so no good pictures yet.  I've got some plans to make a few more items before I start up the shop.  Just to make it more exciting to browse through from the beginning.  The whole process has been really fun for me, thinking of names, how to package things, what to make, shipping/return policies, banners/logos to have on my page, tags for my bags (yay rhyming!), I feel really businessy.  Even when I'm at home in my pj's at 5 when my husband gets home from work. 

This is the adorable baby quilt I made for my adorable niece (the first one born since I was married).  She was also born in July.  Don't worry, this was actually given to her shortly after her birth, which is why I only have these two, slightly smudged pictures to offer you!

I didn't realize how patriotic it was until right this very moment, but I have to say my favorite part is the cozy green backing.  It looks like someone had a bunch of green colored pencils and wanted to fill in a yellow paper, so they kept drawing line after line until it was covered.  The lines aren't perfectly straight, either, which is again what makes it look hand drawn.

I tied this quilt with some green embroidery thread (it didn't use much).  I think the finished measurements are about 25"-30" square.  (I think each square block is 5 or 6 inches).  And I made the backing a little larger and folded it over the top for the binding.  Simple and fun and made me feel proud and successful when I finished.

See you later!
(with nicer pictures, I promise!)

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Finished WiP!!!

Thank you, Emily, (aka sister) for your awesome advice of how to sew this picture onto one layer of fabric!  I chose the option of placing regular printer paper behind the fabric and sewing through both layers.

Next time I'd use a slightly smaller stitch length to make ripping the paper out easier and create less pull on the stitches.  

I used my Computer Programming notes.  I didn't mind tearing those up.  Mostly because I didn't need them.  That class was so fun!

I did all the sewing on the machine with my regular, every day foot.  It was a lot of stopping and starting, lots of lifting and lowering the foot.

Once it was done I had to decide what to do with it!  I was planning on doing a border on it, but then realized it probably needed something to back it, since both the top and border fabrics were quite flimsy.  Since I am working on my first quilt that will have a binding on it, I decided I'd make this into a mini quilt and get a little practice in.

I had some leftover batting from my second quilt (a baby quilt for my niece) and it was the perfect width.  It was small enough to tape it to one cutting board, since my floors are mostly carpet.  I chose a musical fabric for the background because it was black and white, I had the perfect amount for the backing (though it's sideways to make it fit) and it was fitting for a dancing picture.

I layered my backing, batting and top and pinned.  I have a feeling my twin size quilt will take a little longer and a few more pins than this project!

I first sewed around the edge of the top.  There was a little bit of puckering.  Firstly, I don't have a walking foot, so the top dragged a bit.  Secondly, considering the first issue, I probably should have sewn the same direction down both sides.  Thirdly, I probably should have 'quilted' it first.  But I didn't, and I'm ok with it.  It's not quite as ripply in person as it looks on camera.

To quilt it, I just sewed with white thread all the way around the outline of the picture, usually about 1/8 inch away.  But down at the bottom by the skirt, I cut a few corners due to the difficulty of making small, tight corner changes with a regular foot.  

See, the puckering isn't quite as noticeable.  I love the orange border.  A little pop of color.  I also got the chance to practice my binding skills on a smaller project.  I need a little work on folding it over consistently, but that's why I practice!

I had a little scrap of musical fabric, just the perfect size to fit the 'quilt' except that it had to be placed sideways in order for it to cover.  But that's ok.  I thought music was appropriate and people won't be staring at the back when it's up against a wall, but I know it's there.  

See you later!
(with an older project?)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A love, an Idea and a Premature Announcement (No, not Pregnancy)

I have fallen in love with quilting.  I'm working on my 3rd (ever) quilt and I have a feeling I'm hooked for life.  I've also decided that, since having read other quilters blogs who mention how they have quilts exploding out of every nook and cranny at their house, I would give my quilts as gifts to my nieces and nephews (for the most part, though I'm sure every family member and friend will end up with one eventually).  

I chose to give them one at the age of 12 because only one niece had passed that age (and she's 19, so I felt it gave me liberty to give her hers whenever I felt like it!), I wouldn't be pressured into doing 9 quilts in time for Christmas, and 12 years old is a big step.  It's their last year before becoming a teenager, they're working their way through middle school (the age I would put last on my list to revisit), and in our church, they leave Primary, which is the organization which teaches children ages 3-11, and they enter the youth program for 12 - 18 year olds. 12 is big!

(my birthday present from my mom!! I love my mom!!)

So 12 it is.  Problem is, quilting is expensive.  Even with my current WiP quilt, sewing the whole top from scraps I had on hand, I still spent $30 on the backing, binding, batting (yay alliteration!) and thread (alliteration downer), and that was after saving $20 with coupons.  My brain started going and I decided that I had so many bags and other crafts that were almost/mostly done, but that I really didn't need, and they could help me.

Like this bag - I love the patchwork front.  The bright pink lining, however, and the ragged 'I hoped it would look artsy but it just looks wrong' handle, they're not evoking the same love.  My plan - take all these projects, rip out what's not working (if applicable), finish them beautifully, and sell them on etsy.  I have dreamed of having an etsy shop since high school.  I'm finally going to do it!  And I'm hoping that I can raise enough money sewing bags (and other such items) to buy the fabric to make awesome quilts for my nieces and nephews to cuddle and grow up in.  So keep an eye out: after I've got a few finished, motenema will finally be on etsy!  

See you later!
(with a link to an esty shop???)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Owning Purple, and a (WiP) Quilt Almost Sandwich!

I love this picture.  Here we have the backing fabric for my WiP quilt (bottom right), my favorite pair of scrubs, gifted to me by my husband (top right), my favorite pair of tights, gifted from my mother (bottom left) and my phone case, picked out by me (top left).  I kind of like this color, no?

I never liked purple when I was younger.  My favorite colors were green and blue.  With four kids, my mother needed a way of organizing our schedules (we all had sports and music and church activities, so it got crazy sometimes).  She put a huge calendar on the wall every month, and whenever we had an event, we had to put it on in our color.  Here's where purple entered my life.  The boys naturally got first choice with green and blue, my sister had orange, my mom was yellow, dad black? and family stuff in brown (or something like that).  I was not a pink fan (I added my 3rd pink item to my wardrobe on Friday, a pale pink knitted shirt.  The other two are a pair of neon pink corduroy shorts and a neon pink and tan striped jersey skirt).  Point being, pink is not my color.  Red was too close to pink.  So my mother chose purple for me.  I believe I felt a bit of loathing at the beginning.  Seemed so unfair that the boys got green and blue because they were 'boy' colors.  But I love my brothers, so I stuck with purple.  

It started changing me.  I began to feel a sense of ownership over anything purple.  Toothbrushes, bags (woah, just realized, my favorite backpack, that I picked out for myself when I was in 2nd grade and kept using through high school - with safety pins holding the zipper closed - was purple.  Maybe I didn't 'loathe' it.  Odd).  Anything that was purple seemed to say it was mine.  When I got a kindle, my sister gave me an awesome case for it - purple.  I found out purple looks good on me (though my scrubs and tights are the only purple in my wardrobe right now).  Few games have purple tokens, but if they do, they're mine.  Purple became a really important color to me.  I still don't love most shades of it.  Most are too blue or pink.  I love the shade pictured above with a nice dose of red, but I love the idea that it's not a 'favorite' color, but it's a personal color, very close to me, one which is hard for me to not live with.  When shopping for a random household item, if I'm not drawn to any other color, I'll get purple.  It's my safety net color.  I like my purple.  Purple means me.

So to me, this back says "Tess pieced this!"  I love the colors together.  The blue really pops.  I'm glad I didn't make it any wider, it would've been too much.  

I was going to attempt to baste it by pinning/weighting corners/taping it to my carpeted floors because I had no other options, until my husband happened to mention it to his mother who was coming up for the weekend - and she had an old quilting frame!

So with all my pieces assembled, that's what tomorrow will be - sandwiching all the layers on an old wood frame, tightening and push pinning everything into place, safety pinning it like a mad woman with as many pins as I have (I'm a first time quilter, can you tell?).  I'm so excited and can't wait put it all together!

See you later!
(with a basted quilt!!!!?????)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Straight A's and a (WiP) flimsy

I can sometimes be very impatient, so when my last final ended a week ago, I was checking for my grades every day, sometimes a few times a day (maybe they'll post them after lunch?)  For the last few days I have almost not wanted to check for fear of a disappointing empty space where the grade would be.  So very half-heartedly I decided to check this morning, trying to expect nothing.  But they were there!  And I got straight A's!  That hasn't happened in a while.  I was really nervous about my Probability class, and I must have really aced the final to get an A in it.  I'm so excited!  Now I can fully appreciate that classes are over and move on with my summer!

Or really get on with this quilt.  It's officially a flimsy now!  (Look at me knowing quilting terminology!)  The top got sewed together last week.  (It's on a queen size bed, but it's meant either for a twin or for a 'cozy up on a couch' size.) My husband would go off to work, my brother (who was visiting for the week before he started the summer semester) would sleep in until 1 or 2 (yes, pm) so I had all morning and early afternoon to sew and cook.  We fattened my brother up 6 pounds the week he was here.  He needed some good, home cooked food.

He was very helpful and went with me to JoAnn and picked out these lovely shades of Kona.  The backing will be mostly berry, with a horizontal stripe of turquoise in the center to make it big enough, and the binding will be turquoise.  He picked a beautiful blue thread to quilt in and suggested a really cool way of quilting, which I'll attempt to explain (or just show) in another post.

This is an artificial view of what it looked like when I was sewing 6 blocks simultaneously.  It was usually bunched up behind the machine as the next strips were laid out in the space to the left.  But I was sewing on the last strip, so I made a pretty circle.  I don't get much natural light in this room - except early in the morning, which is not when I sew.  And there always seems to be something obstructing the light when I have it.  Working on that. 

It felt awesome to stack all the blocks up.  I hadn't ironed them yet, so it made the pile taller.  Which made me feel better, of course.  I didn't get a picture of the ironing process, which was: after I laid the squares out in an order I liked, I sat on the floor with a portable ironing board next to me and scooched (which is apparently not a word) down the rows, sitting on un-ironed rows.  It was fun.  Strangely fun.  

See you soon!
(With a pieced back and basted quilt...?)