31 January 2009

Tragedy Strikes.

Just when I had gotten ok with the idea of spending my day sewing instead of doing housework, the unthinkable happens.  Ugh.  I'm like, 90% of the way through quilting the baby blanket, and my machine has jammed.  It won't work.  It won't budge.  The wheel won't turn, the parts won't work.  We even took it apart to grease it up and still, nothing.  This is just not at all what I need.  There isn't a service center anywhere near me, so I'm trying to find another place.  I'd like to just go buy a new one, but seeing as how the cheapest one (which I'm no longer interested in) is at least $100.  I would like to just take the stupid credit card and buy something else.  Something better, and something that is new and will work. 

This is crazy talk, obviously.  So now I'm off to brainstorm and also to see if I can find a place close by that will fix my machine.  Of course, I'm sure that anywhere that will fix it will not be open past 4pm on a Saturday, and not at all on a Sunday as the entire sewing world consists of old ladies from 1842.  

28 January 2009

I'm Addicted

I don't know what to do with myself, people, honestly. I'm constantly making trips to the fabric store, browsing online, and falling in love with fabrics left and right. I'm going to go into horrific debt over it if I'm not careful. So, starting today, yes, today, because last night I bought some more fabric, I am putting myself on hold. I have about 2.5 projects in the making, and I'm going to finish those before I get started on anything else.

So, in the days since I've posted, I made a bag, which is a hit, I think. I think the pattern may need a little tweaking, like the party where it's supposed to be a cross body bag, but the handle isn't quite long enough to make that possible.

I've also started on the baby quilt. I've made and pressed 12 blocks so far. I think I have another 13 to go. Everything is cut and in piles, which makes it so much easier. I tend to get ahead of myself, and get excited, and end up making things more complicated than they need to be, so I'm trying to do every thing at every juncture before moving on. It's going quite nicely so far. And I've got all of my supplies so that makes live easier as well. It's so much better to have a pattern and a plan, it really is.

I've figure out, mostly, the free motion quilting thing as well. It isn't so hard when you have the right parts for your machine. Imagine that! The darning foot I got is a universal one though, and I think the model specific one would be best. But that is $25 and so I'm making do with the $5 part right now. I've have pictures of most, if not all, of these things, and will post at some point in the near future.


One other note. The sewing room really is fabulous. It's great to keep everything in one place and not have to put everything away come dinner time. Or worry about kittens sitting right were you wish they wouldn't. The thing that makes it really nice is that it's cozy and it's MY space. It was so lovely to sit there yesterday afternoon, watching the snow come down while I sewed. Really lovely.

23 January 2009

Shade is done, just not hung.

So, here is the Roman shade I made for the craft room. It isn't hung, and the pictures aren't that great, but at least it's a sneak peak. I think it leaves a lot to be desired, but isn't horrible for my first try. Don't pay too much attention to the picture on the right, where it is rolled up. I know it doesn't look great, but Jack was holding the cord and the curtain, and so, it's not quite an accurate portrayal.

21 January 2009

If I'm Being Honest...

I bought this today too, Ginger Blossom fabric collection designed by Sandi Henderson for Michael Miller fabrics.  I couldn't help myself.  And hey, it was on sale, so that's something at least.

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine.

I never really understood what that meant...like, where it came from. I get the whole take your time and do it right idea behind it, but this weekend I really understood it literally. See, I was working on shades, and my usual m.o. is to rush things, dive right in, be lazy and hope for the best. But that really costs me a lot of time when it comes down to it.

So, I took my time with this shade. I pinned everything nicely, and I made sure to press where I needed to. I sewed evenly. And it paid off. Sure, there were some snags. Like when my bobbin freaked out on me and I didn't notice until I had sewn a whole row. I think that the shade turned out ok, though. Not great, but ok. Especially for my first try. I still need to rig up the hardware and cording, and then I'll post pictures. I'm working on another one for the dining room now, and am trying a slightly different (and easier in the fewer-steps way) to see how it goes. The tricky part is that I'm trying to hang them inside of the window frame, which means measuring and cutting needs to be pretty precise.

I've also purchased fabric for a baby quilt. Knowing me, I probably won't want to give it up, but I'm hoping that this will go smoothly and I will master it, and then won't mind parting with it, as it will be easy to do again. I purchased a tutorial from oh, fransson! and it's lovely because it has tons of step by step instructions AND pictures, which really help me a lot. The picture to the left is the fabric collection I've chosen, from the Farmers Market fabric collection designed by Sandi Henderson for Michael Miller. I think it's feminine without being babyish, with a hint of funky sophistication. I've picked white cotton chenille for the backing, and some orange with white polka dots for the binding.
Wish me luck!

18 January 2009

Some New Fabric and Some Paint

I've been rather productive this weekend, and the beauty of it is, I still have 2 more days off.  I'm resisting the temptation to run off and do things like shop and have lunch.  I want to, very badly, but I'm trying to make use of the little time I have.  

Saturday I made what was probably my fifteenth trip to JoAnn's this week.  I went with a friend, and because they were having a sale figured that it made sense to stock up for cheap.  

I picked out some fabric for the shade in the craft room.  I'm going to attempt a Roman shade.  We'll see if I get around to that these next two days.  I picked out the fabric not having a swatch of the paint color, and think I did alright.  I went through several ideas leading up to the actual picking and purchasing of the fabric, and in the end, what I picked was nothing I had imagined.  There's nothing unusual about the fabric, it's not like that.  It is striped with blues and greens and yellows, and while not an exact match will do just perfectly.  I'm very excited about it, actually.  

My husband is currently touching up the edges and corners as I have no skill for that, and then the painting will be finished.  Then I can get on with the rest of it.  I was going to paint the table but I think that instead of ruining it without knowing if it will work out, I will just leave it as is for now and decide about that later.  

Now I just have to figure out how to arrange the place.

15 January 2009

One More Thing

Curtains for the sewing room. I'm asking for opinions on both style and fabric type.

I have decided, though, that the fabric will be white, and I will most likely be doing some sort of embroidery on them by hand.

Suggestions anyone?

(I'm also testing a new feature, so comments would be really great.)

The Cold Weather and Yarn

Everytime it gets cold out, I start to have visions of being curled up on the sofa, a hot cup of tea resting on the table beside me, with a half finished blanket on my lap, and a crochet hook or knitting needles in my hands. The cold weather makes me want to create things with yarn, and so, often, I begin a project, or take up an old one. This has basically created a mess. I have more yarn than is appropriate, and I have more unfinished projects than I care to admit. I also end to buy new yarn everytime I start something new, because who wants to knit with old yarn?

I'm getting the itch again. And yes, I'm going to continue to sew, but when my eyes have gotten so tired they hurt from threading needles and examining stitches (hmm, maybe a magnifying glass would be helpful?), and I just want to curl up and not have to think about what I'm doing, crocheting isn't a bad replacement. I'd love to be able to knit, but I seem to get way too distracted and way too easily distracted to do a good job with it.

In the spirit of my new plan of conservation and not being wasteful, instead of buying new yarn, I will dig through what I already have, and start making something. It may not be beautiful, and it may be odd colors, but I will do it anyway. I'm sure I have something acceptable in those

Tonight, seeing how it's going to be really cold, I think knitting is in order. It seems like the kind of night that would be good for knitting. If only I had a wood burning stove to curl up next to.

14 January 2009

Fabric Fabric Everywhere.

I'm going crazy with the fabric. The new sewing room, while not quite up and running has given me a whole new sewing fever. I guess because it means that I don't have to worry about setting up and cleaning up every single time I need to do something else. And because I can shut the door and not have to worry about the kittens getting into everything. And because there is a tv in there so I can watch whatever while I sew instead of being stuck at the dining room table. And because I will be able to have things organized in a way that makes sense and is easily accessible.

So, last night I went to JoAnne's (they're having a BIG sale) and bought some things to try out. I also got very irritated because Fabric.com was having a 50% off sale on their designer fabrics. There were a bunch I wanted. And for 4 bucks a yard. I was SO excited, until I realized that the slight was running so slow that I had no chance at getting what I want. By the time my cart loaded, the selections I had made were no longer available. I guess every fabric enthusiast out there saw that email and jumped on it. Oh well. It isn't like I needed it or anything.

I did happen upon another website though, www.fatquartershop.com and am drooling over many of their fabrics. I keep filling up my cart, then abandoning it. I'm trying to make a decision, and I will eventually. I think my goal is to have some stuff stored up so that when I get the whim to work on something, I have fabrics to work with without having to go to the store. Especially since my new favorite store is just far enough away that it isn't quite convenient for a quick run, and my new favorite store also puts the closest-to-me store to such utter and complete shame that I may never step foot in there again.

I also called up some company that may be based in Washington state and ordered, over the phone, a feed cover plate so I can try out that free motion quilting stuff. Ordering it over the phone makes me feel like it's a different era. Much like sewing does. I guess it's fitting, then, isn't it. On the plus side, the part only costs 1.50, and shipping 3.50, so sometime next week I should have it, for the small price of five dollars.

12 January 2009

Getting Where I Want to Be

So, Saturday the bed came out of the guest room. It's leaning precariously against a bookshelf and a table right now in the basement. We'll figure out something to do with it later. I went to the paint store, and picked some paint, Behr 490B-Sea Life. It's some color, and probably not for most people, but I love it, and it makes me happy. I only put up one coat, partly because I'm lazy, but also because it doesn't seem to need it. Maybe some touching up in a few places, but that is it. I painted the ceiling ultra pure white, but ran out of paint. It needs a second coat, I think, and I need to paint the doors and the trim. Then the table from downstairs will come up. As I was working on my sewing project last night, I was thinking of all the ways I can organize, and how lovely it will be when everything has a place, and I am not blindly jamming my hand into a box filled with loose pins. That's never pleasant.

Anyway, I was going to do the last of the painting last night, but I got stuck on another project.

I started at around 5pm, and worked almost straight though until 1am, pausing briefly for some dinner my husband brought home. I totally neglected him last night, as well as all of the other much needed chores, but oh well. I'm very tired today. I think I had too much caffeine last night, and then got stuck obsessively on the project. I made a few mistakes, like, the machine wouldn't work for the longest time, so I decided to finally check the manual, and it turns out I put the new needle in backwards. Then the tension was off. But finally I got it all down and it wasn't so hard to do. I also made some other stubborn mistakes. The kind where you think you're doing something easier, and that will save time, but in the end it takes you way longer than doing it the "correct" way? Yeah, I probably lost about an hour to just that.

I'm being intentionally vague right now as this was made for a friend, as a better Christmas present than the one I orginally got for her. Thus, I cannot divulge too many details until it is in her hands. But, it's gotten rave reviews so far, so she better like it. And if she doesn't, she can go eat dirt. Ha!

08 January 2009

Iron: Found

And it made things much easier. I breezed through the second bag. Still far from perfect, but better than the first. See below.

Shelby thinks this bag is for him!

And a button at the handle.

07 January 2009

Progress, but no Iron.

So, I got into the basement last night and did some organization. I talked to J about rearranging the rooms in the house to be more useful. Case in point: We have a small bedroom that is currently being used as a guest room. It has a dresser in it and a double bed. Now, guest rooms are always a cute idea, and I guess functional if you actually have guests who need a bed. Being that almost everyone that would stay at our house (barring unusual circumstances) is local, the guest room really seems like a waste. In the last year it has been used maybe 2 or 3 times by my sister, once or twice by my cousins, and for a few days by us while we painted the bedroom.

So, my sister only stays as a novelty, not out of necessity, and not frequently either. I love it when she stays, but does she really stay enough to warrant a whole double bed in a spare room that could be used for so much more? I feel sorta guilty about it, but there are also two sofas. And I don't feel one bit guilty about my cousins (should they stay again) sleeping on the sofa. I actually think they prefer it. Any real out of town guests will just have to take the sofa or stay in a hotel. How about that?

Although, we might just make one of the basement rooms into a guest room type area. The bed may not be going anywhere except down a flight. And now I can start planning my craft room! I'm very excited about this, and J has agreed that it makes sense! I am so excited I can barely stand it. Too bad the budget isn't in any shape to start working on it. But I am.

And although this is a sewing blog, because this room will allow me to work more effectively, I am going to keep my ideas here. Any suggestions are welcome. I'm thinking I could get started as early as this weekend! Move the bed, clean out the closet, and maybe I can swing a can of paint. Something bright and fun! What do you think?

06 January 2009


Well, thanks in part to this website, and to the baron, and to this sudden burst of beginning-of-the-new-year energy, I've got some ideas. Obviously all of this should, and will, take time, but I'm trying to be more patient this year with myself and with the world around me. I'm going to just rattle off some of the plans that I have so as to remember them.

  1. Find Iron (and organize back room in basement in the process--including all of my craft/project stuff)
  2. Work on a project or technique every night, like handles, mitering corners, binding, applique!
  3. Use up fabric I have as much as possible before buying new stuff.
  4. Decide about/discuss turning guest room into a guest room/sewing room (or find a good place to set up where I don't have to put everything away every night.)
  5. COMPLETE projects. This includes being patient, doing things correctly, and not getting frustrated over mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn!
  6. Plan!
  7. Learn how to really use my machine and get comfortable as possible with it
  8. Make a quilt for a friend (I've got about 2 months)

So, those are my ideas for now. I think they are all pretty reasonable. Here we go!

Where's my freaking iron?

So, I made something last night. Well, most of something. A tote bag. It's not as intricate as thte one the baron made. This is simpler, not as nice, but all the directions for the other one were driving me bonkers. The directions for this one were also a bit confusing, but I powered through, and the result was not awful. I thought it was pretty bad, but Jack insisted that it was pretty good for my first try.

Also, I really needed an iron. It would have helped immensely with the construction of this bag. Ours must be lost somewhere in the cavern that is our basement. Anyway, I powered through and did my best. I figured even if I messed up it would be good practice. Plus now I know what I'm doing, how it goes together, etc., and the next one should be a breeze. I still need to attach the handles. I ran into a snag, litterally when attaching the first side of the first handle. I think maybe there were just to many layers. I think I need to look into that mitering corners thing a little bit more. But here are pictures for your enjoyment and/or critique.