Saturday, December 15, 2018

Perfectionism quote of the week

Thanks to my therapist for introducing me to this one:

The perfect is the enemy of the good.


And, in true I-can-complexify-anything fashion, I turned this simple quote into essentially a meme using my new technology best friend, Canva. Is there any irony in this?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Mending in March...and May... and MO-vember?

Saw the hashtag #marchisformending on the Instagram playground, and determined that I wanted to play along.  The mending pile is really no fun, but not having things hemmed and such means that I can't wear them.  So there:  the push-pull between sewing the shiny, exciting things and fixing the forlorn and cast-aside got a bit of a shove this past spring.

I'm right proud of all that got done.  Did I make it to my goal of

mending ten items?

Read on...
Jumper hem: best selfie I've ever taken

1, 2, 3, 4.  Hemming
The most odious of tasks in the mending pile.  However, I managed to hem two pairs of track pants (one was determined to fight my sewing machine, but I vanquished it with walking foot and parchment paper for stabilizer), a jumper whose hem had actually been stapled up at one point, and the sleeves on an eyelet blouse (turning it from matronly to chic).

5, 6.  Elastic
Replaced sagging elastic in one pair of gym shorts and a silk broomstick-pleated skirt.  So happy that I have a stash of various elastics!

7.  Monofilament invisible topstitching
Attended an Earth Day-related sewing event with trained tailors and clothes alterations people on hand to help you #menditdontendit (I blame my children for any hashtags that enter my speech patterns).  One of them helped me use monofilament to invisibly topstitch an unruly facing in a vintage men's shirt.  Ooh, you should feel this polyester!  They just don't make them like this anymore.

8, 9, 10, 11.  Serger for the win
Bought myself a new serger for my birthday, but hadn't taken it out until May.  What was I waiting for?!?!
     Magical serging put new sleeves on a hoodie (original sleeves were too tight, so I carefully replaced them with ones from a long-sleeved T-shirt that I had cut up to use in a T-shirt quilt.    Have worn this several times already--so comfy.
     Technical serging put a lining into a wrap-front t-shirt (where the skimpy manufacturers had only used one layer of fabric), and added some clear elastic along the side seams for a ruched look.
     Rolled hem serging finally finished a summer party-dress.  Too much trouble to hem that bias-cut polyester crepe any other way (I had tried; and cried).
     And finally, serged rolled hems onto the remaining altar cloths for the campus chapel--just in time for the Class of 2018 to have their Baccalaureate service.

I did it!  Wish I could say that this completes all the mending, but alas.  The mending pile is still bursting and threatening to fall over. 

I will just pause here a moment to tell myself, "Well done!"

Monday, December 3, 2018

December goals

I just saw a new sew-along challenge in my social media feed this morning


Darn it all!  I need my December goals in writing to keep me from going down the rabbit hole of starting a project that has nothing to do with what I was planning to do with my month, sewing-wise.  (Even though I just loooove doing things with T-shirts...)

For fortification, I just listened to an episode of The Organize 365 Podcast on  "Manifesting your organization" where Lisa Woodruff gives more evidence to support the idea that writing down your goals and envisioning them completed is more likely to lead to your success.

Fingers crossed for success here.  Or at least more clarity & impetus to move forward.

1.  Cooking with Kaffe BoM block(s)

Need to make at least January's sample block for the Block of the Month that I teach at the shop.  I agonize too much over every fabric choice and all the block alternatives that are swirling around in my head.

Why "Cooking with Kaffe"?  We are teaching techniques from The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson; and using fabrics from the turquoise/purple/green end of any of Kaffe Fasset's lines.

2.  Sew Together Bag
Teaching this class again in January--I could really use a new sample.  Two of my sample bags have gone missing... frowny face.

Drama, anyone?

3.  Three blocks for Drama T-shirt Quilt
I think this would be an awesome Xmas gift for the youngest--not that the quilt would be finished, but that she would know I have not forgotten about her and her needs.  (Intended blocks: Arsenic and Old Lace; Marley and Scrooge; and The Nerd.  Feels better just naming which blocks are up next.)

Vintage quilt in mid-refashion

4.  Xmas stockings for the siblings
Umm, I think this was on my list last December?  So sad that I cast it adrift for almost a year without getting done.

Look at me:  only FOUR items on my December goals list!

Elm Street Quilts

I am declaring item #4 -- the Xmas stockings, to be my One Monthly Goal for December.  I have linked up over at Elm Street Quilts, in order to hold myself doubly accountable.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Oh hey, December blog challenge is again live!

Once again, my good blogging habits have collapsed of their own accord.  I arrive at the month of December with a mere 6 blog posts for the entire year. 
So far.

Much like last year at this same time, I have joined Cheryl Sleboda's blog-writing challenge for the month of December.  Already a day late, but optimistic about my ability to resuscitate this ailing blog during a busy month.

I have so many things I want to say!  So many finishes to report!  And some great projects in-the-works that I need to sort out--where else but in BlogLand could any of this take place?

Look at the optimism I'm showing!*

If you want to peek at who is participating, there is a list here; and it's open until December 10th, if you, too, want to join in.  (No pressure.)

*If anyone has a secret to taking decent selfies, I'd love to hear it.  My selfie game needs more help than my blog...

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sewing for Quilt Market

In the flurry leading up to Quilt Market in Portland this past May, I did a bit of sewing--trying to decorate the booth for the Japanese fabric lines that I peddle (just one of my many part-time gigs).

Here's what got done!

1.  Reversible apron
Both a brand thing--"Hi, we sell Japanese fabrics here!"--as well as a practical issue--pockets!  I made this apron from a panel (currently in stock: tell your local quilt shop to order a bolt :)

2.  Tissue box covers
What does the enterprising salesperson do with sample swatches that are no longer needed?  Why, make something cute and clever (and useful! if I do say so myself).  Whipped these two up in a trice: traditional Japanese motifs on one, and the ever-so-cute contemporary Japanese designs on the other.  The fabrics are backed with scraps of fusible fleece, to give them some body.
I think I will add interfacing/fleece to my next tissue box project; I have made several, but have not thought to make them more sturdy.

3.  Upcycled jeans skirt
I wanted to play with double gauze material, but didn't have a lot of time to stitch something up that would look "professional".  I had seen some versions of an upcycle--attaching basically a long ruffle onto a pair of jeans, and decided to give it a go.  When I cut the jeans off at bottom of the zipper in the front, it did hack off a bit of the back pocket (unlike the YouTube video I linked), but I think this was absolutely the correct place to cut.  And, if you haven't tried double gauze yet, you simply must.  (Umm, get the good stuff, not the Shannon brand--sorry, Embrace.)

This skirt is like wearing secret pajamas!

4.  Hawaiian tote bag
This finish deserves its own post, but if I don't get to that anytime soon, here is at least a picture.  Made from scraps of Hawaiian print fabrics (a souvenir from last year's vacation visit to a swap meet).  This is one of my favorite tote bag patterns, and the exterior pocket is perfect for showing off a sashiko stitchery.  Conveniently, the stitchery was Hawaiian-themed as well. 

So that's some quick-stitch I got done in May.  Next Quilt Market is in November, and I've already started sewing for the booth.  Fortunately, most of my makes come back to me and get used & loved.

Finally, no mention of Quilt Market would be complete without a gratuitous picture of Oakie.  He has been my faithful traveling penguin companion on many quilt-y adventures of late.  Here he is with Lucy, a traveling doggie companion who had come all the way from Japan to visit Market.  They are totally upstaging the blue-footed booby and puffin fabrics that were supposed to be the stars of this corner of the booth...


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Retreat Recap

I have become a very unreliable blogger.  Oh dear.  The original purpose for my blogging was to celebrate my accomplishments and gain some clarity on my life/creativity journey.  So this post has twin foci:  documenting my January retreat and showing what ended up occupying my time at May's retreat.

January's retreat with the Something to Crow About gang was awesome!  I have finally learned that, for this season of my life,
going to retreat is less about how much I get done/accomplished, and more about connecting with dear friends and new sewing enthusiasts.  
I smiled to myself on the final show & tell of that weekend, when so many people talked about how much (or little) they had gotten sewn together.  If I am traveling all the way to Oregon (from California), it's about the people more than the sewing.

Patting myself on the back here for this realization.  I feel wise... and now I'm gonna brag a bit about the sewing part.

1.  Challenge Block  (January)

The challenge this time was "white background", which really leaves the field wide open for designing a 12" block.  In typical fashion, I got super-excited about designing a block, tweaking an idea from one of the pattern booklets received as a gift at retreat.  Oy.  Made a paper-piecing pattern for this *cute* carrot block; it used up some seersucker from ancient stash.

2.  "C is for Chicken" book  (January)

Made good progress on this.  My favorite finish was turning a Courthouse Steps block into a chicken, and then making that chicken into a pocket.  Children's book = lots of interactive opportunities!

3.  Quick Curve Ruler sampler  (January AND May)

January- goal of 4 blocks, 1 completed.
May- 6 more blocks completed!
That leaves only 5 blocks to go--and these are big, 16" blocks.

Stashbuster: tote for cutting mat/rulers
4.  Ruler/mat tote bag  (May)

Missed taking the class for this tote, but I had the pattern (plus, the instructor was at retreat with me ;-)   Also, several others at retreat had been in the class, so I polled them about what sort of pockets they chose.

The pattern is very open-ended when it comes to pockets.  And, in my world, the usefulness of any tote is heavily dependent on the pockets.

I went to town customizing this, and got it almost done: only needed to finish the binding, put on straps, and clip all the threads I left everywhere.

5.  Another Hawaiian-shirt-into-apron

Birthday gift completed.  How did I not get any photos of this before it got sent off?

6.  Retreat project

A plethora of red & blue strips and scraps were available for making string blocks.  I think almost everyone made a block (or a few).  Can't actually pick out which ones I made, but I did use a bit of my stash in the mix.

Yay, belated post about retreat: check!
My next scheduled retreat is coming up in October.  Haven't even started panicking about what I'll work on then...

Monday, May 7, 2018

Goals: (new) Retreat

Planning for a retreat with my newest quilt guild.  It's at an unfamiliar location, and extends for more days than I'm used to.  The retreat organizer said, "These are long, full days; bring more things to work on than you think you should."
Does she know who she's talking to???  I always bring too much (even when I'm just going to watch a tennis match).  I have gone completely overboard at times with how many sewing projects I bring with me, so this encouragement to "bring more" has me oddly confused.

On the list (so far)

1.  Quick Curve Ruler sampler
Worked on this at January retreat in Oregon, with the goal of finishing 4 blocks.  Finished 1 (due to distracting myself), but this is my main piecing goal for this retreat. (QCR patterns, including the Curve it Up Sampler I'm working on, available from Sew Kind of Wonderful; love this ruler!)

2.  Ruler/mat tote bag
I signed up for this class in March, but wasn't able to go due to illness.  Should be a quick make, and will be a most welcome item for toting my mats & rulers to future adventures.

3.  Black & white table runner
Finished (re)piecing the borders of this at a different retreat.  My goal here is to sandwich and machine quilt.

4.  Blanket stitch cats
The Relaxing Round Robin project of 2014 just waits around for me to be interested in hand embroidery.  Which doesn't happen often.  Last worked on over Winter Break.  Not even halfway thru those 8 pesky cats.

5.  Another Hawaiian-shirt-into-apron
This is a birthday gift, and should be a quick make.  Shirt is already cut; maybe I even cut the binding, too.

6.  Retreat project
We were told to bring red & blue strips and scraps for making some sort of string quilt.  I have a red that I'm dying to use up, so along it will come.

I think I have room for 9 projects, but I worry that the more "almost finished" projects I bring, the less I will work on my QCR sampler.  On the other hand, having a couple more items to be sandwiched and/or quilted might not be a bad way to spend retreat time.  I don't tend to "quilt" at home, due to my perceived lack of space. 

Or, I could bring a couple more of the always-put-on-the-back-burner hand stitching projects.  I find that stitching in a crowd makes the handwork less onerous.

Endless listmaking: does anyone else do this?

Thoughts?  Opinions??  Should I bring more than is listed here--maybe put the extras in a sealed box to be opened in case of emergency?  Or is this entire list and its associated angst just more evidence that my scattered brain simply refuses to stick to any sort of prioritized system?