Quilting, ripping & thinking

May 28, 2012 § 7 Comments

Thank you for your votes on which project I should finish next! I still haven’t decided because I’m still working on quilting these.  So keep voting!  Your thoughts have been very persuasive!

I was all set on Friday to quilt two of my quilts on the rental mid-arm machine at my local quilt shop. But the thread kept breaking.  At least 7 times or more on roughly half the quilt. We tried everything… changing the tension, changing the needle, cleaning the bobbin case… and it still kept breaking. After 2 1/2 hours and a little more than half done I gave up. I can usually quilt an entire lap-sized quilt with easy loopy stitches in roughly 1 1/2 hours.  I didn’t even attempt the 2nd quilt. Now I am in the process of ripping out all of the stitching. I hope the big holes left by the needle will eventually wash out. This white fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics and the weave is a little denser than regular quilting weight cottons.  It’s times like these that I wish I had a quilting machine at home. Then I could continue to tinker away at it as I have time.

On another note…  I was reading Jenny Gordy’s post on her blog Wiksten about running a small business and have had similar thoughts and feelings. Not the ones about growing too fast. I’ve never pushed that hard to grow. I believe in small steps.  At least for me.  But the feelings of frustration in not being able to do what I have imagined I can identify with.  This last year of dealing with the mono & insomnia has sucked the energy out of me for any sort of business decisions, let alone just plain quilting.  I’m glad to be feeling so much better. But now I am left in a place where I don’t know what I really want to do with my quilt patterns. I’ve stopped selling through distributors because I haven’t had the energy to print, package & ship large orders.  And I’ve seriously thought about converting all of my patterns to pdf download as a way to semi-sustain them.  And then there is the whole shopping cart thing to figure out.  I’m left wondering where this all fits in with life in general?  So many thoughts and questions and no real decisions about where I’m going or what I want to do. It’s always been my objective to do this because I enjoy it and because I want to pass on the joy of making something with your own hands.  How that looks as a business, I have no idea. I’d love to hear how others have managed a small pattern business. What goals or parameters have you given yourself? What has been your biggest hurdle? How do you balance time, energy, inspiration, ideas, making, packaging, shipping and all that? Do you actively seek out advice or do you just let it happen as it happens? As a consumer, what do you love about quilting patterns and what is the biggest turn-off when buying a pattern?  Any other thoughts you’d care to share?

Ready & Waiting

May 24, 2012 § 34 Comments

There are 3 quilt tops sitting on my table ready to quilt. (Shhh… there are more in the closet)

Top = HST’s for a graduation gift
Middle = HST Tiles for a possible class
Bottom = UFO Christmas quilt

The question now at hand is… How should I quilt them?  The challenge is always trying to pair what I can imagine in my head with what my actual ability might be.  I haven’t free-motion quilted anything in a long time. I am rusty.

Following that question is another… What should I work on next?  I feel like I am in finishing mode. But I’m afraid that is a rather boring state to be in.  Let’s take a vote on what I should finish next, shall we?

A. Buggy Barn Snowflake quilt

B. Pinwheel bee blocks on the left
C. Basket bee blocks on the right

D. 9-Patch Amish blocks

E. Wagon Wheel blocks

Okay, that’s enough choices. I have many more UFO choices but I’m going to ignore them for the moment.

CAST YOUR VOTE!  I may or may not take your advice. Hehe.  And I may or may not have a give-away prize waiting for you if I do decide to take your advice. How’s that for being vague and undecided?

Knitting Mojo

May 23, 2012 § 3 Comments

After hitting yet another roadblock in my old knitting projects, my friend Carlie gave me permission to start something new.  And she also offered future moral support for those obstinate projects that are tempting me with guilt. What a good friend! My mind is feeling more relaxed already.

Peas Like a River

May 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

I spy leaves sprouting everywhere.

Peas.  Zucchini.

My hubby has been tickled with his garden jokes. “Peas Brother”, “World Peas“, “Raise your leaf if you want to volunteer” (we had a volunteer squash seed sprout from our compost bin)

It’s been 2 weeks since my hubby planted his garden. It was sunny last week and I think the seeds loved it.

My Dresden quilt.

It will be almost a year since I started the Dresdens. And I am excited to see this finish.

What do you spy?

This & That

May 16, 2012 § 6 Comments

There has been some sewing going on around here. In fact. I’ve finished the Scrappy HST quilt top and just need to quilt it.  And I’ve been working on another HST quilt for a graduation gift.  In the mean time, I’ve also been working on a few small things that needed to get done.

We have a Small Project of the Month club at the quilt shop where I work.  Each month we choose a small project & create kits for the members of the club. It’s been great for those folks who want a little something to work on without having to work on an entire quilt.  And I’ve been enjoying trying out all of these patterns.

Next month (above) will be a Kindle cover. The pattern is from the book Everyday Handmade. This is by far the easiest pattern we have done so far!  And if you own a Nook, there are measurements for that in [parentheses].  The only thing I did differently was to use batting for a little extra padding rather than just interfacing as the pattern suggests.

This month’s project was the lunch bag in the pattern Wine & Dine from Atkinson Designs. The trickiest part about this was adding the binding strips around the outside seams. Otherwise, another fairly simple project. I made this one 2 different ways. I forgot to take pictures of the first one, but it was made with laminate fabric. Laminate is definitely a little tricky to sew on. And this one I added Insul-Bright to add more insulating power and left out the flatware & water bottle pockets. Terry Atkinson’s patterns always have really clear instructions. And her method for finishing off the zippers is just fabulous!

And my hubby has been quite the gardening fiend this year. He built these raised beds and we are attempting to grow a few cool weather plants like lettuce, peas & Brussels sprouts that can handle a little more shade and some cooler days.  He kept waffling between feeling like nothing was going to grow to excited about the possibilities of having a flourishing garden. The weather here makes it harder to grow warm weather veggies. And for some reason it feels like our little piece of property is always cooler than everywhere else. (The neighbors across the street have the perfect warm & sunny back yard!)  All his hard work seems to be paying off because the greens are coming up!  And for that we are thankful.

I actually finished something

May 6, 2012 § 10 Comments

I started this bag back in January during I class that I taught at work.  But I got stumped when I got to the zipper. I couldn’t find the right zipper in the right color & the right right size.  All I could find was a separating zipper which I thought I could tweak to make it work. But between being tired all the time and fighting the mono I just couldn’t think. So I put it off to the side in a pile to finish at a later date.  Since I have another bag class coming up I figured I’d better get going on this one.

The zipper still isn’t right. I finally figured out a solution while I was laying in bed after I had already finished the bag. Oh well. Better luck next time.  I also used heavy weight interfacing on the outside instead of the fusible fleece that the pattern recommends.  But overall, I happy with it.  It’s going to be a great project bag. Most likely a knitting project bag. Lord knows I have enough knitting projects in mid-process  for every project bag I own.

Stats

Pattern – Amy Butler Sophia Carry-all Bag

Fabric – Hoffman’s Mercer Street Butterflies for the bag, the handles were a Joel Dewberry fabric, and the lining I really don’t remember

Pose – inspired by Dottie Angel

Status Quo

May 1, 2012 § 10 Comments

Well, I didn’t mean to take that little blogging break… but I guess I just did.  I’ve been taking some time off from nearly everything and focusing on feeling better.  And I am feeling better. My new remedy for the mono is working and my energy is coming back. And I’ve been seeing an acupuncturist for the insomnia. And I think that is working too. Things are looking up!

Meanwhile… life has been moving forward in other little ways as well.

* I’ve been feeling the need to work on some existing projects and dug out this Christmas quilt above.

* I also started sewing a spring jacket that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. My track record in the recent past on sewing clothing hasn’t been all that good.  So, I really hope to finish this one.  It’s from the Sew Serendipity book.

* My hubby cleaned out our compost bin over the weekend and has been spreading worm castings all over the garden. You see, it shouldn’t really be a “worm bin” but we only ever throw coffee grounds and kitchen scraps in it. And the worms just naturally come up from the ground and start chomping away on the kitchen scraps. So by default it became a worm bin. But it’s so hard to clean out.

* So we made our own DIY worm bins from four Rubbermaid plastic bins. I drilled the holes in the bins.  At least I helped a little.  You can read more about worm composting.  We are hoping this will be an easier solution than the former compost bin.

* The rhubarb in our garden is looking more hardy than usual this year. It’s about time!  So I had to make some gluten-free rhubarb muffins.  I’m also trying to go gluten-free for awhile to see if it will help. I don’t have any known allergies to gluten but my doctor says (and I’ve read around the Internet) that gluten can aggravate a number of health issues. I guess it’s worth a try for now.

* Have you noticed that the way you can use Pinterest has changed?  If you try to pin something off of my blog, the only images you will see are the ones that I have directly uploaded to wordpress.  Or… if you click on the Pinterest share button at the bottom of a post it will automatically select the first photo used in the post.   This doesn’t seem to be any setting that I can find anywhere on WordPress. So I assume that it is Pinterest changing the way their web site works.  I’m sorry about the older posts where the best photo is not the first one. But I just can’t see going back and changing them all.  I like hosting my photos on Flickr because then I only have to upload them once.  But from now on, I will try to make the first photo of my blog posts one that would be Pinterest worthy. Technology.

I didn’t mean to make this so wordy… sorry.  I’m may or may not be around a little more often now. We shall see.  I am so glad that I am feeling better. But I don’t want to add any more self-imposed stress back into my life now that I’ve cleared so much of it out.  I am glad you all keep stopping by! Thank you for all your comments and encouragement! I do appreciate every one.

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