What I’ve Been Up To

August 31, 2010 at 9:29 am 2 comments

Okay, so it’s well past time for me to dust off this blog and start using it again!  I’ve been pretty busy with life – living it and enjoying it rather than writing about it : )  I’ve had many, many blog posts floating around in my head for awhile, they just never seem to make it to the screen.

But, I’ve been busy.  Some of it fun stuff, some of it not so fun.  I’ve got a TON of projects in the works and very few actually completed.  In fact, I can’t report that I’ve actually finished a project in quite some time : )  But I have so many that are that close, so that’s my priority.  So here’s a laundry list of what’s going on:

Modern Log Cabin Class

Today was a very nice break and a chance to attend a Modern Log Cabin class, taught by Melinda at Tiny Stitches.  I was admittedly ambivalent about the class simply because, well, I’ve never really tried anything “wonky”, which is a very popular element of modern quilting.  I am usually more of a clean lines person.

Needless to say, the class kind of blew me away.  I can’t say it’s a technique I’ll use a lot, but I can definitely see it’s uses.  I am excited about having a technique to one, use up my scrap pieces (this is the first time I’ve actually tried to use my scrap pieces), and two, if I have a day where I just want to sit down and do some mindless sewing without much planning or details, this is perfect.  Melinda is an awesome teacher and I learned a lot of other little tips and tricks in her class.

Here’s a picture of all of our blocks from the class (mine is the unfinished blue one on the bottom left):

Huge Pattern Sales

I first learned to sew back in October 2008 right after my surgery.  It’s something I’d always wanted to do, but never learned.  I think I was intimidated, if you can imagine that.  I lugged Paul’s old Singer sewing machine to JoAnn’s and took a beginner sewing class.  I had no idea how to even thread or work a machine, and the bulk of the class was spent running and unthreaded needle over lined paper to learn how to sew a straight line.

Back then I had fantasies of cranking out a ridiculous amount of garments, all perfectly measured and created specifically to my size, shape and taste in fabric prints.  I thought within a month or two I’d be a whole new woman with a whole new wardrobe.  And then Paul (who is a big part of the reason I even grasped sewing skills in the first place!) helped me to sew my first real clothing project – a simple prison inmate-striped dress for Halloween – and that’s when reality hit.  I was still having trouble sewing a straight line and keeping a consistent seam, much less following a complicated pattern.  My dreams of instant wardrobe fell apart.

But I liked sewing and I stumbled upon a simple baby quilt that didn’t require quilting, just tie strings.  I’d recently found out I was pregnant and decided to give it a try.  My attention was diverted since the holidays were quickly approaching, and I pieced together a large quilt for my mother-in-law and Paul created logos for the center to represent her devotion to the DAR and one of her other organizations.  That turned into my first love – quilting.

It was only about a month and a half ago, I guess, that I was brave enough to revisit the idea of sewing garments.  I had no idea that a year of quilting and learning new techniques – mostly by self-teaching and a few online classes – would open so many doors.  Paul helped me with my first project – a dress I’m on the verge of finishing – mostly by way of reading and understanding the pattern.  I’ve been very resourceful otherwise, using tutorials on YouTube and referencing some good books to help me learn and understand new techniques.  One of my most joyous days of sewing came two weeks ago when I sewed on my very first zipper – all by myself with no help.  I used a tutorial by Candi Cane Canccel from Expert Village.  I don’t know why, but everyone made zippers out to be horrors of all horrors.  Intimidating, yes, but not as horrible as I thought it would be.

And while quilting is still my first love, I have revived the fantasies of having my own custom-made wardrobe eventually.  I am still slow with my sewing, since I only get to sew either when Aaron is sleeping or if Paul is hanging out with him in the evenings when he’s home.  And limited sewing time means less time to sharpen my skills.

That being said, patterns are expensive!  About two weeks ago, JoAnn’s had a huge sale where they put their McCall’s patterns on sale for $1.99 each (limit 10 per customer, per visit).  Not a week later, after I’d thrown a wish out to the universe, Hobby Lobby put their Simplicity patterns on sale for $.99.  I made two trips to JoAnn’s and one trip to Hobby Lobby.  In the end, I have $549 WORTH of patterns (a little over 30 total) that I PAID $40 for.  That’s a SAVINGS for $509!!!  Here’s a few pics of my beautiful new stash of patterns:

I have four projects going right now that are probably going to get finished all at one time.  I don’t like having that many going at one time, but they were more for practice – using old, cheap fabric – to sharpen my skills and get some experience under my belt.  There’s been one major thing holding up the completion of these projects, which brings me to my next one…


It’s finally happened – my office/guest room is transforming into a sewing room.  I started the painful work last week, working on it when Paul was home while he watched Aaron, and it actually went much quicker than I expected.  I’m weeding out a bunch of junk, temporarily storing my scrapbook stuff since I don’t have time for that, and making room on my shelves for sewing stuff.  Paul is going to build me a large ironing table and a block design board (both very easy but very necessary now).  I’ll post pics as soon as I make a little more progress, but I am thrilled to have my own sewing space.  Paul is thrilled that we can eat in the kitchen again : )

The Mini-Quilts

Our challenge for the last two months with the Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild is a mini-quilt.  I’m so excited about mini-quilts.  I think they’ll become a regular part of my projects.  Not just because they are smaller, quicker and easier, but it’s a fun way to experiment with new patterns and techniques.  And also, while full-sized quilts are beautiful, you can only own so many, especially if you don’t have a lot of wall space (as is our situation).  I have a lot of fabric I’m in love with, so this is a good way to use it and display it.  Also, I think they will make great gifts.

I completely finished one of my mini-quilts last night, a completely hand-pieced Grandmother’s Garden quilt.  I love it.  It might be my most favorite quilt so far (not that I’ve done too many…).  I’ve truly enjoyed working on this project any time I’ve gotten a few spare minutes.  Hand-quilting is so portable.  I’m going to keep one going at all times.

The other one is a red, white and blue flag theme.  I really like this one, too, and it gave me a chance to try the fabric you can print on with your inkjet printer and turn it into regular fabric to piece into your project.  I’m impressed with how well it turned out.  I still need to sandwich this quilt, quilt it and do the binding.  I had a few false starts on the quilting since I’m using thin felt instead of regular cotton batting.  Hopefully it’ll be done this week.  Our deadline is September 12, our next meeting and party.  The quilts will be displayed for two or three months at Whipstitch, a local modern fabric store down in the city.  My first quilt show : )

Sorry – no pics yet.  I will put up pics after the big reveal on September 12.

So that’s it for now.  I need to come back and do a detailed list of things to come, but I figure I better at least get something posted at least!

For those of you who enjoy my crunchy side, it’s really getting out of control now and I’ve got a really good post coming.  Those from back home who knew me as a city girl – well, all I can say is even I shock myself these days.


Entry filed under: Quilting & Sewing. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Quick Kitchen Improvement *gasp* Finished Projects!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. wickedwickedwitch  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Wow, there is a lot to comment on.

    I want to see what you make with all of those patterns. What a good deal.

    I want to see your room when you are done with it.

    • 2. patrioticquilter  |  September 5, 2010 at 7:46 am

      Ha ha – I want to see what I make with all those patterns, too : ) And yes, you shall visit my sort-of sewing room soon!


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