Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Day!!

I guess it's our turn for the wild weather in the Northeast.   I can't complain as I got to stay home and sew and bake and hang out with the assistant all day.
I have my material all ready for the next quilt a long with the Old Red Barn group. I'm going with Denise Schmidt's Hope Valley fabric and kona charcoal solid.  This is my first quilt with all designer fabric so I'm a little nervous about cutting into it.  I'm anxious to see how this quilt turns out since I made my vow to sew slowly and carefully at ALL TIMES!

I have been working on making some orange and brown squares and hope to make a small lap quilt or baby quilt soon.  This is a no pressure, pass the time project and I try and make a square a night unless otherwise occupied. 

My friend brought her new quilt over for some help with the binding so I got to spend some time looking like I was all wise and experienced.  Ha!! 

I love a good snow day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What I wish I would have known . . .

Amy at Park City Girl asked this question today: As a quilter, is there anything you have learned, that you wish someone had told you? Yes, as a matter of fact, there is! As I glance over at my pile of unusable quilting supplies I say again, emphatically, YES!

When I first starting sewing for a hobby last year I was reading blogs and instructions and seeing the cutting mats and rotary cutters. After spending two hours cutting out 10 five inch squares with my scissors, marking pen and a yardstick I decided it was time to try these out. I didn't really understand how they worked and I didn't want to go overboard in the expensive supplies department so I went to Walmart and purchased a tiny little mat set that came with a small ruler and cheap rotary cutter. The mat was hard and only six inches wide. After only a few attempt to use it I realized with was just unusable because it was way too small. Then I went out and bought a giant self-healing mat at Joanne's and a bigger ruler. That was a lot better but my ruler constantly slipped while I was cutting my fabric. I tried gluing non-slip pads on it and buying different size handles to hold it but to no avail ... still slipped all the time ruining my cuts. And to top that off my rotary cutter constantly bunched up my fabric. Finally got a nice new large rotary cutter with some replacement blades. Ahhh ... that part was much better but still the slipping problem. When I was at a quilt shop one day I mentioned to the woman cutting that my ruler slipped all the time and she said, "Why don't you get a ruler with a lip at the bottom to hold it in place?" Why don't I?? I didn't know they made such a thing! I went out and bought one immediately and viola! No more slipping problem.

I have two friends at work that are starting quilting and the first thing I told them is to go right for the big mat, the nice rotary cutter with some fresh blades, the ruler with the lip, and the big handle from the hardware store meant to stick on a bathroom wall. They think I'm so wise! I feel great that I can guide them a little, but I don't feel that wise when I'm thinking about all the money I spent on items that are useless to me now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Honored to Accept This Award!!

You like me!  You really like meee!!  Oh sorry .... I've been waiting for years to win an award so I could do my Sally Field impression.
I'm so excited that I have been nominated for the Beautiful Blogger award by Greta!!  We're quilting buddies over at the Old Red Barn Site.  I'm very new to blogging and I'm just starting to figure out the formatting and how to move pictures, etc. so I'm so thrilled to have an peer-nominated award under my belt. 

There some rules to accepting this award and here they are:
1.  Thank the person who gave you the award.  Thanks Greta!  You made my day.
2.  Paste the award on your blog.  No problem!!
3.  Link to the person who nominated you.
4.  Tell seven interesting things about yourself (see below).
5.  Nominate seven or eight blogs.
6.  Post links to those blogs. 

Seven things about me  .. whew!  This is a LOT easier than when Facebook wanted us to try and list fifty things about ourselves.  I just can't come up with fifty semi-interesting things about me and even seven is going to be a stretch.   

1.  I'm a shorty ...  barely 5' 1"
2.  I love to eat mustard on my french fries
3.  I used to pretend I was Laura Ingalls Wilder and my mom made me costumes and even some fake braids to wear under my bonnets.  I have a pretty cool Mom . . . .
4.  Both my parents are pilots.
5.  The first garment I ever sewed was a pair of bib overalls when I was about 12 and I wore them to school. Years later I found them and they were the just c.r.a.z.y looking, but I must have been proud of them at the time.   I wonder if my teacher was laughing to herself all day.

The Bailey Girls
My Mom sewed all those dresses! 
6.  I'm the youngest of five girls.  My four older sisters are close in age and amazingly beautiful and were known collectively as "the Bailey girls."  I came along a little later (and missed out on the amazingly beautiful part) but I always got a charge out of someone finding out who I was and saying (with a look of surprise),"Oh you're one of the Bailey Girls!"
7.  I started quilting last June with the first Old Red Barn quilt and it came along at the perfect time for me.  I was kind of having a hard time with my youngest son going off to college and suddenly moving into the next stage of my life where I wasn't the busy Mom of a school kid.  Things turned out OK though and we're all good now ... just a little "shockeroo" to the old system! 

This next part is a toughie!  How can I pick only seven!  I follow so many blogs and I love them all so I will just pick some randomly down my blog reader.  All of the blogs that I read are special  and I am amazed by the generous group of people that are there to help you and encourage you and keep you going when you just want to throw your sewing machine out the window! 

1.  Lynda
2.  Victoria
3.  Nichol
4.  Heidi
5.  Dena
6.  Amy
7.  Silversmith

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

Well, this was the culmination of my Friday Night Sew-In last night!  My faithful assistant and I finished up the  circle quilt I'm making for my niece from the cluck cluck sew tutorial.  I'm a little disappointed at how the raw edges on the circles turned out.  Two of the fabrics frayed (disintegrated!) more than others making the circles quite uneven.  I guess that's part of the charm of it but it just wasn't what I envisioned.  Still ... it's pretty cool ....

I love this picture of Jada dutifully sitting in front of it when we were "styling" it for it's big shoot 


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bat Out Of Hell!!

I had some troubles while machine quilting my scrappy circle quilt and I've been really assessing my quilting skills (or skilz as my kids would call them). I really enjoy the fabric choosing, designing and cutting part. And hand sewing the binding while watching TV on the couch is my absolute favorite pastime. I love getting the big mat out on the kitchen table and cutting away while I'm right in the heart of my home. I'm fairly certain all my squares and strips are accurate because I L.O.V.E. squaring things up!

But, when it comes it the actual sewing I get sloppy. I sew waaaaay too fast, I don't pin nearly enough and I sometimes get a little wavery when going down long strips. My Mom used to call it, "sewing like a bat out of hell." I'm also not very good at machine quilting yet. My machine gets stuck in one place because it's not moving all the fabric and then I pull it and then it goes waaaaaay to fast and skips stitches, etc. I don't know if it's my machine or me, but quilting is not as easy for me as it seems to be for everyone else. Does this happen to anyone else?

I'm starting a new quilt with the ORB group soon (pinwheels!!) and I'm going to do an experiment. I'm going to sew very, very slowly and be very, very careful to make sure I've got all my materials lined up nice and straight before I start. I may even pin a little more. Yes, I WILL pin more! I even made a reminder and taped it to my machine.

I think that I'd also really like to minimize the amount I machine quilt and learn to integrate some hand quilting on my quilts. I love to embroider, and I think I've made it clear that I love to be sitting on the couch .....

If anyone has some tips or sites with great tutorials on machine quilting or hand quilting I could check out please let me know. I really want to get better at that part. And if you are cruising around blogland check out this cool giveaway over at Wayne's Manor.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A good reason to stay home on a Friday night and NOT feel lame!

I think I've already made it clear in my "about me" section that I'm a homebody. I feel kinda lame some Mondays when everyone at work is talking about their weekends and I exclaim, "I had a great weekend!" Oh ... what did you do Molly? "Stayed home and sewed and baked and had dinners with the kids." Oh .... the looks of pity that I get ....

Well, Handmade my Heidi is organizing a sewing party for Friday, February 19th. Everyone can get all comfy and stay home and just sew on any old project they'd like. Now on Monday morning I can say I had a great weekend AND I was at a party with over 100 supercool women and we just had a ball! And I won't be lying.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Is the Part I Hate **sigh**

Why must I constantly learn from mistakes? Ideally I would read a tutorial and follow instructions and slowly and carefully put a quilt together according to a meticulously planned out blueprint. But NOOOO…. I jump right in and sew like a maniac, change things at the last minute, and then **sigh** notice I’ve totally blundered. I swear I spend more time taking apart things and redoing them then I do actual productive sewing.

Sashing looks so easy on other people’s quilts. Why didn’t it occur to me that using a print with a straight pattern might be a little tricky? Or that I should at least attempt to line up the sashing between the blocks?

Seam ripper here I come. **sigh**

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Modern Quilting Question

The Modern Quilt Guild just posted this question: What does modern quilting mean to you?

Hmmm … I feel like I don’t have the right to even try and answer that question since I’ve only been quilting for roughly seven months. But then again maybe I will because I already feel like I’m part of a large community of people who love the creativity and the freedom of modern quilting. Also, part of the reason I wanted to start a blog is so I could get involved in fun things like this!

To me part of the joy of quilting is that I’m creating something useful and lasting for my loved ones. My quilts are really a part of who I am because I used my own eye and intuition of how I want the final outcome to look based on the intended recipient. Being flexible can make the quilts seem more like some sort of entity with it's own personality emerging. Sometimes I'll look at all my squares as I'm arranging and rearranging and thinking about sashing and I say, "what are you finally going to end up like little quilt?"

I can also use some non-traditional quilt sewing, such as making my seam allowance a tad bigger than ¼”. I want my quilts to be used and rolled around on the floor in and wadded up in a bed and then washed and washed and washed. I’ve raised three boys and delicate, gentle and “use with care” are just not in my vocabulary anymore. No one is shocked or aghast that I'm not following the rules (are you??? I hope not).

The whole virtual community of quilters I've encountered are the nicest, friendliest, most generous, helpful, extremely talented group of people I've ever encountered. I've learned all of my quilting skills and methods solely from these people on the internet. Maybe the technology is part of what makes this "modern" quilting.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quality Control

I'm attempting to make some progress on my latest quilt but my quality control assistant hasn't decided if it's comfortable enough yet.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Long Distance Love

My boyfriend lives in Boston, which is five hours away, so we don't get to see each other every weekend. He is always here for the big occasions and major holidays but we haven't been together on Valentine's Day in four years.

It's hard to be apart but the fun thing is we've sent each other goodie filled Valentine packages each year. My package to him is usually homebaked cookies and doggie biscuits (for his DOG people) and, of course, the obligatory chocolates. But this year he is getting a huge surprise .... a quilt! He's not expecting it at all!! I'm so excited I can't wait to hear his reaction when he opens it! I even wrapped the packages in my crocheted chains.

I mailed the package today but had trouble deciding how much to insure it for ... how do you put a price on all that work?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Look What I Can Do!!! ......NOT

Behold the world’s worst crochet chain….. and please ignore the cluttered coffee table in the background. (Cleaning up the coffee table is something I only do while watching “Hoarders” on A & E)

My mom tried to teach me to crochet when I was young and I never progressed beyond the chain part. Spurred on by the beautiful afghans I’ve been seeing in blogland lately I’ve become determined to learn how to crochet. My cool niece and I signed up for a class at our local library and I was just sure I’d just catch right on and start whipping up an afghan that night. Imagine my surprise when my two hands just couldn’t communicate with each other!

Don’t worry I’m not giving up! I’m going to be posting a picture of a granny square soon. I will ….. I will …. I will….

Monday, February 1, 2010

February To Do List

February is a pretty uneventful and blah month so I've decided to make it a productive month. The quilt for my sweet niece Jamie will probably be the next quilt-a-long quilt pinwheels. I just got some Hope Valley and can't wait to see it in a quilt. Well, actually I'm a little intimidated by it .... I hate cutting into designer fabric. Well, truthfully this will be the FIRST time I'm cutting into designer fabric. I'm such a quilting virgin!
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