Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Beginning...

Pot holders--because someone requested them for Christmas

Experimenting with cams that came with the baby Kenmore

Chrismahanukkah gifts--a "gelty" pleasure

My brilliant tree:  a tomato cage from the hardware store

I'm looking forward to Christmas this year, happily ahead on my sewing, cheerily keeping bows and bags on hand for each completion.

And speaking of presents and packages, y'all heard about the "Traveling Stash"? It's currently here. For the origin story, check here. Intriguing, no?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cracked Pepper Quilt

Happy belated Thanksgiving, and happy early holidays!

This Thanksgiving, I was surrounded by family and friends who have received quilts from me in the past 12 months. Somewhere on the road trip home, I realized I'd yet to make a quilt just. for. me.

Not for my hope chest, not for a family member, not for a friend.

Just me.

So over the next few days, I put together my Cracked Pepper quilt. Thus... 


This was my first time to (a) piece a quilt from precuts (thanks, MCMQG Jelly Roll race!); (b) piece a backing (that's lime, y'all!), (c) quilt with a combination of washed/unwashed fabrics; (d) straight-line quilt by sticking and re-sticking painters tape; (e) attain any measure of satisfaction with double-fold binding; (f) machine-stitch an entire quilt, including binding; (g) use digital photo editing with a modicum of accuracy to lessen the effects of compact florescent lighting; (h) make a quilt just. for. me.

I like the little leftover section of Summer House fabric in the binding. I love the black! And I owe this post for the inspiration to tack the back binding with glue instead of fiddling with pins. That was brilliant AND made the whole binding process much friendlier.

So, all told, a great learning experience full of firsts, and, of course, I love--LOVE!--my quilt!

Happy snuggling!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Generations Quilt

Oh, this is a metaphor for life.

You take what you're given, you make choices, you add your own flair.

You make do.

And then you get ambitious, and you get excited, and you try.

And you try.

And you try, even though it's not working out the way you planned.

So you adapt, and you try again.

And again.

And you do everything you know to do, you call the one who was supposed to fix it, you blame, you wonder, you give up.

You sit down and cry.

And then you try again.

It's puckered, and the seams are skewed, and the points are blunted, and the blues don't match, either. But it's beautiful.

I made a quilt with 15 flyfoot blocks my grandmother (mamaw) made, and I made a 16th to match. The unbleached muslin back is coffee-stained, and the batting is nondescript.

Free-motion bubbles had thread breaking all over the place. I picked out more walking foot stitches than I care to remember. I did sit down and cry after leaving a frustrated message for the repairman who assured me no more stitches would skip.

And then I tried one last thing:  I changed back to a universal needle, and suddenly, it was okay.

Straight lines and self-binding stitched down, run through the wash to make it soft and crinkly, folded and tied for delivery, I surprised Momma at work for her birthday. And it seems words just aren't necessary.

Because my Mamaw died four years before I was born, but she sewed, like her mother, like my mother, like me. My stitches and hers now wrap her daughter, soft and warm and comforting, embodying what my Mamaw must have been. I know, because that's the way my mom is.

The way I'll be, one day.

Linking up with Sarah this week. Click here to return.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Water Bottle Prom Dress/Froufrou Apron

No, I've not been playing MadLibs.

I have, however, been helping a friend with a sewing project! But first, the accidental discovery/brilliant idea of how to use a scrap of ruffles.

Behold, the lonely water bottle. So dejected. So forlorn. Feeling like no one will ever notice her, appreciate her, ask her to dance... 


Hooray! She will be prom queen for sure!


My friend had a vintage $1 dress she thought would make the perfect apron. Unfortunately, we didn't take pictures before we started hacking away. Imagine a floor-length sleeveless number in that lavender rose print with ruffles at the bottom. And imagine haphazard cuts and eyeballed seams, something like this...

A few stitches later, we finished!

Perfectly adorable and every bit as froufrou as she hoped! (And for the record, while I stitched the tricky parts, she cut out circles for yoyos. Thanks, D!)

The idea is pretty self-explanatory:  cut about an inch beyond the side seams, turn under all raw edges, etc. We chopped off the bottom and reapplied the ruffles at knee length. She liked the yoke, so we kept it intact. If you want more specific instructions, just ask!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jelly Rolls and Cracked Pepper

 The Music City Modern Quilters got together for a jelly roll race today!

It started with this...

Then it looked like this...

And it really was this blurry, sewing 40+ strips end to end, then that one loooong seam, then those four shorter seams, pedal to the metal, seven machines singing at once, and a handful of times we all paused at the same instant for a breath of silence...

And in less than an hour, we had...

I used a roll of Summer House along with 2.5 inch black solid squares I'd cut ahead of time. I finished in second place, too! Way to go, Baby Kenmore!

And, of course, I love it. If not for the black, it would be too girly for my taste, but somehow that bit of freshly ground pepper gives it enough spice for my style. Hmm... Henceforth this shall be my Cracked Pepper quilt. I'll quilt it after holiday sewing is over, I suppose. Can't wait!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Tisket...

A tasket...

A green and yellow basket...

I got some fabric from my friend...

And I applied embellishments. (Have no fear, those are separate blocks, just overlapping in the photo.)

November practice blocks and bee blocks are DONE! Now onto some secret sewing...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rescuing Threads

... Because even rotary cutter shavings deserve a moment in the sun!