Saturday, January 12, 2019

What to do when your #MAKENINE is all Finishing UFOs

As detailed in my previous post about organizing my stash, I have a lot of UFOs.

So, as I make out my 2019 sewing goals, I wonder whether I should focus on finishing UFOs, or using up stash?

Ha-Ha!  Of course I should finish things!  How silly of me--thinking that I can "bust some stash" by starting new projects.  Clearly, I have a big problem with finishing.  No more starting, unless there is some commensurate finishing, too. 


The instagram hashtag #MAKENINE is pretty prevalent this time of year: creatives and crafty folks plan out nine things they are committing to in the coming year.  If I look at my UFOs, I have at least NINE quilts (most of them larger than baby quilt size) that I can work on.  They have been started (farther along than the "dreaming/planning" phase).  But they are not yet done done.  And they need a little oomph.

Finish NINE ufo quilts in 2019

Here they are, in order from my Insta post committing to them in 2019:

1.  AAQGO charity quilt
Top clomplete; quilt basted; started to be tied.  (Will I continue tying, or try and quilt this myself?)

2.  Relaxing Round Robin
Top complete; quilt basted.  Intend to machine quilt and big-stitch embellish.

3.  Red/Black baby quilt
 Sooo close to done: finish big-stitch quilting/tying; binding is already complete.

4.  "Instant" baby quilt
Same as #3 (so close): finish big-stitch quilting.

5.  Drama t-shirt quilt
Top is not complete; at least 6 more blocks to make before design step.

6.  Circles BOM
Quilted and bound!  Needs big-stitch embellishment only.

7.  Woven BOM
Quilted: needs binding, which is already prepped.

8.  Minkee-backed squares quilt
Top complete; needs basting and straight-line quilting.

9.  Quick Curve sampler quilt
Blocks made and sashed; needs pieced borders; will be longarm quilted (not by me).

Analysis: if there's a pattern here, it's that the quilting step trips me up.  I don't sit still well for tying or big-stitch quilting, I don't have a longarm, and my sewing room tends to stay cluttered enough that clearing out space for quilting on my domestic machine takes a level of effort that makes me avoid it.  Plus, FMQ still scares me. 

And then there's the allure of the new and shiny: given any excuse, I will choose to work on a new project with surprising zeal and stick-to-it fervor... until it gets to the large & unwieldy stage.  My challenge is to keep this grid of nine quilts in front of me for 2019.  And maybe try to finish one of these in January, to give myself the momentum needed to push on.

Did you plan a MAKENINE in years past?  How did that work out?  Any hints for sticking with it?

Friday, January 4, 2019

Dog-gone Good T-shirt Quilt Idea

Saw Shelley's memory quilt project using Elizabeth Hartman's Dogs in Sweaters pattern on The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts blog (go search around her blog - she has made memory quilts from at least a dozen different patterns!)

While it's a great idea, these sweater-sporting dogs are tricky

This is my ONE doggo from that pattern.  Made with my quilt guild's challenge fabric from 2017, but still not completed quilted.  Fifty-plus pieces in there, for those keeping count.

Perhaps a simpler dog could be used?

This dog was the Block of the Moment for my guild, also back in 2017.  Pattern for a very similar block is available here from Quilter's Cache.  Super cute, and great to use up scraps

So, somewhere down the internet rabbit hole, I saw a block made by Emily Herrick (posted on her Crazy Old Ladies blog) that made me really think this schnauzer was a possible shape for a t-shirt quilt.

I felt like, if I could adjust the proportions a touch, this could be done! I needed a bigger canvas for the sweater/t-shirt.  But still want it to be recognizable as a pup.  Whaddya think?

Courtesy of EQ software + my brain

Yep, I think I can do this!  I'll have to try a prototype soon...

(This digression exploration prompted by the recent Xmas fabric/UFO organizing, and the realization that 3 of the offending bins are primarily made up of t-shirts waiting to become quilts.  3 bins!  For reals.)

Monday, December 31, 2018

Santa brings (fabric) organization!

On the first day of Christmas, Sweetie (who I swear was dressed up as Santa at the time) gave to me:

A Way to Organize/Store my Fabric! 
PVC pipe shelving system that is free-standing and holds various sizes of (large) plastic storage bins. This will save me from the "I don't want to move the stacked bins to get to the fabric/lining I need in the bin on the bottom, so I'll just go to the store and buy some more" thinking.  (You don't think that way, do you?  Someone must be more clear-headed than I am on this.)

Almost as sexy as when Nancy Reagan gave Ronald Reagan a manure spreader as a gift.  Y'all just don't know how sexy a practical gift can be...
"We" couldn't wait to put together the shelving and see if all my bins fit!

Uh-oh...they didn't actually fit.  Room for 12 bins, and I have at least... seven too many.  (Hanging my head in shame)

Foreground: fabric bin overflow...

However, later in the day, I came to a realization: my fabric fits in 9 bins; it's the UFO's that take up the remaining bins (and that includes t-shirts waiting to become t-shirt quilts).

Close-up of my "labeling" system: Sweetie found an adorable cartoon version of the Chinese/Japanese zodiac.  Since there's twelve years in this zodiac cycle, this seemed like a way to label my twelve bins with whimsical animals (and who doesn't love a bit of whimsy in their practical everyday?)  

So back to my dilemma:

19 bins total - 9 bins of fabric = 10 bins of UFO's???

Hmph!  What to do?  (Oh, I hear you in the back of the room.  "Just finish some UFO's, woman."  This is me giving you the stink eye.)

Oy.  It's that time of year--I'm sputtering and planning my 2019--good to know where I stand with my robust and muscular stash (and equally massive collection of UFOs)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Xmas finish: stockings for my siblings

ONE of my 4 goals for December got checked off:

finished making three Christmas stockings, for me and both of my siblings.  

Made from my own pattern and technique, detailed with a tutorial here.  It had been so long since I sewed up the first of the 3 stockings that I actually referred back to my own tutorial.  Hooray for taking good notes!  (And posting them online where I can find them again.)

Interior: reproduction fabrics (left) vs. back of actual vintage quilt (right)

Raw materials?  One vintage 1930s quilt, well-loved and used by the whole family during our growing-up years; I was so surprised that Mom still had this among her possessions.  
Reverse sides
There was no salvaging this quilt.  There wasn't even enough "good" area to make a throw pillow.  So these Christmas stockings are the perfect choice:
  • They will be taken out and admired once a year
  • They will receive minimal handling
  • They might never get washed (have you ever washed a Christmas stocking?)
  • Many of my holiday decorations invite nostalgia and strong memories--these will fit right in 

Although I had set four December goals, these stockings were my must finish item.  So I'm linking up with One Monthly Goal.  Check out some other finishes there!

I like that writing down my goals helps me to remain focused--even when I take a detour mid-month.  I should do this more often...

Friday, December 28, 2018

I'd apologize for the mess, but...

"Welcome to my home.  I'd apologize for the mess, but it really always looks this way."

I don't like it when people apologize for the state of their home.  (I came over to visit you, not to run some sort of inspection.)  And for heaven's sake, if it's always a housekeeping disaster, why pretend otherwise by apologizing?  I personally have a running fight at home with the gremlins of disorganization--which may actually live inside of me, so that's a bit tricky.

My messy nature is kept in check by Sweetie, aka the Tidy Fairy.  Thank goodness for this.  No telling what the house would look like without her calming, cleaning, clutter-busting presence.

Exhibit A: this is what a well-organized morning looks like.  The bed is made.  The work backpack, important papers, phone and wallet are all arranged and ready to go.  And the book is sitting there because I've asked to borrow it next.

I'm just posting this here as an aspiration for myself.  Like many others, I have goals of improving my overall organization in 2019.  How about you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Beautiful Bouquet

My friend Bianca has made an utterly amazing yo-yo coat.  Which I got to see in person at Quilt Market Houston.  To. Die. For.  Honestly.

As Bianca posted in November about making some mends to her yo-yo's after swishing and sweeping about the Houston convention center, I was inspired to show you my own yo-yo project: the crafty bridal bouquet I made back in 2014.

Ok, you can't really see the yo-yo action in this picture, so I'll have to take some of my own pix, just to highlight the details.

(Wedding photographers are not paid to get detail shots of the DIY elements.  For good reason, I suppose.  Still extremely happy with everything New Morning Photography was able to capture.)

The beginning stages of this process were documented in early 2014, when I started wiring up various buttons, brooches, yo-yos and such; then tried (unsuccessfully) to put them into a bouquet shape; then tried a second construction method by working with a friend (more successfully).  But darn it, in the lead-up to the wedding, I neglected to actually blog the completed project.  Which is just a crying shame.

All crafty finishes deserve their moment in the blogging spotlight.

Basic yo-yo tools, while not absolutely necessary, definitely speed up the process.  And I LOVE the heart-shaped one! (Who wouldn't, I ask you?)

My favorite yo-yo heart, made from scraps of the heavy satin used to make my sister's wedding dress, got given extra oomph from a tiny dark purple silk yo-yo (lighter weight fabrics fared better in the small yo-yos), and a lilac bead.

In fact, for this project, every yo-yo was paired with beads or buttons (or both!), to make more of a statement within the bouquet.

My siblings: we clean up nice!

In the end, it was the event that was special here.  But my amazing, DIY bouquet really was (and is!) beautiful, full of memories associated with the brooches, earrings, buttons and yo-yo's that went into making it. 

Brief construction details

With help from extra hands, I finally got my crafty bridal bouquet all put together.  (See Take 1 and Take 2 posts for how we got to here.)

The big change this time around was twisting groups of stems together into clusters.  Each cluster then worked as a single element to thread through the fake hydrangea bouquet.

I made about 10 clusters, using around two-thirds of the approximately 80 individual stems.

The clusters were then inserted, one at a time, into the fake hydrangea as before.  I had an extra person helping me (mandatory), and we wrapped each cluster around the branches of the hydrangea and then continued wrapping down around the stem area to keep everything secured. 

Under construction: Take 3
Unlike the previous attempt, this version managed to have the brooches/buttons/bling be the star, rather than the hydrangea overtaking and swallowing all the bits I was trying to insert.

View from underneath it all
 Once we had all the stems/clusters arranged, all that remained was to make the "stem" be able to be held in one's hand.  It was already plenty thick, with massive amounts of wire wrapped all along the fake bouquet's original stem.
Buttons? No, corsage pins

Still a 2-person job: We wrapped the hefty wired stem with 2 layers of polyester quilt batting, and then wrapped a rectangle of the heavy bridal satin fabric around the whole thing.  The raw edges of the fabric were just folded under (ironed to hold the folds in place).  And the whole shebang was secured with corsage pins--a heavy-duty pin with decorative pearly head, that I had no worries about bending or ruining (I think they came in a package of 100).
That's it!  The key to this project being a success was starting early and having plenty of patience for the complexity of what I was trying to accomplish.

Here are links to the things I used/found helpful in making my own crafty bouquet:

Blue Petyl, who wrote the best cautionary tale on the brooch bouquet process, has an eBook, various DIY kits, and sells completed bouquets from their Etsy shop.

My favorite YouTube video, among the many I consulted, was by Jessica Flores, who has the same video plus more info on her own website, Domesticated Me (so I'm including links for both). 

Weddings can be so magical!  And we worked very hard to make ours so personalized.  From the family stash of buttons/brooches/earrings that were included in my bouquet, down to the sand we used in our sand ceremony (mine from Puget Sound, Sweetie's from Virginia Beach).  I wish you all the best as you CRAFT a wedding that makes you feel magical, too.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas (I'm not sewing)

In the Christmas spirit, I thought I'd share...

Holiday-themed sewing ideas that I had taken pictures of:
This was a pillow for sale.  Would be a very easy make--I even have plenty of Xmas-themed fabrics.  Next year? 

 Photo taken by me in Sydney, Australia.  I was there for Christmas 2016.  I think I kept this photo because it reminded me of the Bernina & Zen Chic quilt-along that took place in 2017-18.  I have a thing for triangles, sigh.  Must work up something triangle-y for 2019...

Although I'm not sewing today, this is the time of year when I start planning my sewing projects for 2019.  Hope you have some time with family or friends, and that your sewing brings you joy in the New Year!