Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIP WEDNESDAY SEW WRONG and a little piggy

This week I definitely had a SEW WRONG moment.  It all began a few weeks ago while thrift shopping (a huge hobby of mine) when I came across a moving box full of quilting fabric.  Let me say I am in thrift stores 3-4 days a week and have NEVER come across good useable quilting fabric before.  I have seen lots of fabric, decorator fabrics, ugly polyester knits from the 70's, you name it, but never good quality quilting fabric.  It was someones whole stash, and though the fabric was vintage the original owner had good taste, lots of tiny print fabrics, all very classic, and nice big one yard and two yard pieces, even a nice assortment of fat quarters.  I quickly took the whole box up to the front and asked the employee how much she was asking for the box- she took a quick look and replied "would 10 dollars be okay?"  I quickly agreed and happily trotted out of the store with this great new score.  When I got home I sorted through it and saw that almost half the box was vintage Christmas fabric.  Lots of calico style prints in classic red and green.  I thought to myself, self, you could really make good use of this.  Every year around the holidays I try to list some extra items in my Etsy shop to help make extra money for the holidays.  January is typically a really slow month for our little business, so any extra money in December really helps.  I have mostly aprons in my store, but last year I didn't have very many sales, so I still have a large stock of them, so this year I thought I would try something different.  With all this fabric I could make some classic Holiday quilts to put in my shop, and since the fabric was so inexpensive I could price them to sell quickly.  That was the master plan.  So I spent a week researching what types of quilts I would like to make and found a great tutorial on Missouri Star Quilt Company's Youtube page for a Jacobs Ladder quilt.  I thought one in red and ivory would be really classic, and would make good use of some of that fabric.  I pulled two pieces of what I THOUGHT was the same print and started cutting and piecing.  I made 6 blocks and had run out of the 4 patches that make up half of the blocks.  I then spent another few hours making enough to finish the quilt out of the second piece of fabric.  After ironing them and squaring them up (another hour later) I went to lay out another block and OH %^&* - the fabric wasn't the same as I used in the first 6 blocks, the shade was slightly off and the print had more dots in it!!  UGH.  At least 3 days worth of work down the toilet.  I was not a very happy camper.  So unhappy in fact, I am still trying to decide if I should scrap the project all together or try to start over... once the sting lessens in the next week I am sure my head will be clearer on how to solve this dilemma, but for now I am still pretty upset about it and can't think clearly.  To console myself and remain productive I switched gears and made an adorable stuffed piggy for my nephew Shep's first birthday.  I used some Joel Dewberry upholstery weight fabric and am pleased as punch with the results.  I didn't use a pattern, just winged it, but it is pretty darned cute if I do say so myself.  I know I am not the only one with tragic oversights ruining a project, so here is to the sew wrong and sew wright moments that make this quilting journey a bumpy but memorable one!

I am linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday finished a big project

This week I finished something I have been working on for a few months now... and I am not one to stretch out projects very long... I used over 2 large serger spools of thread and probably millions of stitches- my very first full size quilt- quilted for a very dear woman in my life.  It was truly a labor of love and an excellent learning experience.  To be clear, I did not make this quilt, I just quilted every little inch of it, in a small scale with several different designs.  I probably logged 40+ hours of machine time on this one.  I have never quilted anything larger then a lap quilt- and on my domestic machine with a regular size throat it made it a real challenge at times to conquer this.  My Grandmother made this quilt and challenged me to stretch my skills and tackle quilting it.  She wisely knew that if I was going to have a quilting service I would certainly be asked to quilt quilts of this size, and I needed to learn how to manage it.  I learned lots, and am so grateful for the lessons.  I truly feel like a better quilter now that I have completed this quilt. 
I am linking to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My beloved sewing table

This post is dedicated to Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsey.   She recently had a blog post about the pitfalls of trying to design a sunken sewing machine table and some problems she was having with what she had purchased so far.  I have the amazingly good fortune of having an extremely handy boyfriend who loves to make me things.  This past Christmas he was looking to purchase me a sewing machine table where my machine could be sunken so I would have a flat surface for free motion quilting.  If any of you are into FMQ you know how valuable this is- it is hard enough to move a quilt around on a domestic sewing machine for quilting, but without a totally flat surface it is at least 10x harder.  When looking he saw several options, all very expensive and many that looked cheap.  He decided he could build a nice and sturdy one for much less money that would meet my needs.  He stacked two 3/4" pieces of wood together to form the table top and used a piece of white board material for the very top to have a nice slick surface.  He carefully measured my machine and the slide in sewing table that I already had so he could cut a hole in the surface to fit my machine.  He thought smart and made the insert with a side opening with room for my sewing machine cord and ventilation for the fan.  He knew that me being a shorty girl (5' tall) the most important thing would be for it to be the correct height so my shoulders wouldn't get sore.  So he ordered some heavy duty adjustable table legs off of  When he presented this to me I was over the moon excited- It was exactly what I wanted from a table- and the fact that he had researched it, built it, and thought of everything all on his own and was able to pull it off as a surprise... well all I can say is back off ladies... he is ALL MINE!  :)  I have been using it since and it has changed my sewing life...  I am so fortunate to own it.  All the materials were purchased at the local hardware store except the table legs.  He spent less then $150.  The best thing about the table is the fact that there is virtually no vibration even on full speed... The double layered wood surface has made it so heavy and sturdy.  He even thought to put a measuring tape on it so I can measure on the fly.  What a guy.  Hope this might help anyone who is thinking of constructing one of their own- it is doable and fairly inexpensive- and can be custom made just to suit your needs.  Feel free to email me or leave a comment with any specific questions!