Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hasgtag Sew Wigwam

I can honestly say that last weekend was one of the best I've had in a long, long time.  Where to even begin!?
Over the past few years, a few things have happened.  I've become quite infatuated with sewing (obviously), I've discovered the magic of crafting retreats, and I've had the pleasure of getting to know a handful of amazing, talented, hilarious, and respectable women within my community that I love spending time with.  When I get a rare, free weekend, I love to run off to my family's cabin.  I often take my machine or hand-stitching to accompany me and have thought for a while how much fun it would be to invite folks out there to do the same.  Well, after months of talking about it, it finally happened!  This past weekend seven truly spectacular ladies joined me in the woods to sew in a wigwam and it was the best.  Seriously.

I made a few little fabric baskets for everyone, encouraged folks to volunteer to feed us, reserved the common building on the property (aka the wigwam), bought some boos, packed a speaker, made sure there was room for Mondo in the car, and checked the weather incessantly.  Amazingly, all eight of us were able to attend for the entire weekend and the weather forecast of rain all weekend was completely wrong.  IT WAS PERFECT.

We sewed, we rapped, we laughed, we pondered, we reflected, we ate, we drank, we encouraged each other, we bonded, we grew, and we even made a hashtag on Instagram - #sewwigwam.  I'm really not sure it could have been any better.  This will happen again, mark my words!  And now, the photos.
See?  Perfect.  I can't wipe this smile off of my face.  And I'm OK with that. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Thank You, Moma

What's that saying?  She gets it from her Mama?  There are so many things that I know, without a doubt, that my mom has passed down to me but I think one of my favorites is the desire and drive to create.  My mom has ALWAYS been a maker.  I have such strong memories of her sewing up a storm (as evidenced by the photos in this post) or with a hook in her hand making baby blankets or clothes for my sister and me.  Now she's a prolific painter but one thing has remained constant, she's never stopped creating and I think that's one of the greatest gifts and examples she could have even given me. 

So thank you, Moma, for showing me how important it is to honor the creativity that lives within us all.  I can't thank you enough for that and for encouraging me to embrace my own creative drives.  It means the world.  You mean the world.  Happy Mother's Day.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Kid's New Backpack

While taking a quick break from quilting, I made the kid a backpack!  A few days ago, I didn't even have a tiny backpack on the brain. I received a message from a quilt guild friend (who has just started her monogramming business!) that had just made this bag and had a few more downloads of the pattern left.  Would I like to try it?  Well sure! 
Since my friend, Eva, had already made two of these (in record time, I might add!) I was able to pick her brain about what worked and what hadn't.  I decided to quilt all of my exterior back pieces to give it more stability but I needed to find that exterior fabric first!  I pulled out three heavier fabrics from my stash that I thought Rio may like and this was the one she went with!  Good choice, kid!  It has a wonderful watermelon-vibe to it, doesn't it?  I believe I found this one at the flea market and while the colors look very eighties, I'm almost certain this fabric is much older - early sixties would be my guess.  
The pattern is actually rather simple.  It does call for piping which I did not have on hand so I made my own with some rope and bias tape.  I haven't sewn with piping much, so that was the most challenging piece of this puzzle.  Cutting out all of the pieces took a bit of time but aside from the two main panels, everything is a rectangle so they are easy, quick cuts.  I went with a light-colored lining so it would be easy for her to see everything she has tucked away. 

Somehow, I managed to have everything I needed on hand.  Buckles from an abandoned project, lining from my mom's handmedown stash, piping was self made, exterior fabric from my stash, interior pocket from fabric gambling (!), straps from my stash, and the perfect sized zippers randomly on hand.  Meant to be.  I was able to finish this project within one evening and one afternoon.
I decided to make a few additions to this pattern to make it more customized for her.  Rio is like me and always has a water bottle with her.   Most of the time, she carries her own water but when she's not down to hold it, into my purse it goes.  I decided to make a bottle pocket on the side and I'm SO glad I did!  It took no time and all and I know it will be used all of the time.  I also added an exterior zipper pocket and an interior pocket on the lining.  It did take me a bit to refresh myself on how to make that exterior pocket, but I finally did it!
I really, really, really enjoyed making this.  I finished it up with the kid under my feet (while playing 'parking lots' for the 100th time yesterday) so her excitement about it made me that much more excited.  And today, she was thrilled to fill it up with goodies to take along to work.  I'm happy to report that she was able to fit an unreal amount of toys in it AND her water!  Huzzah! 
 The next test will to see if all of school goodies will fit!  Fingers crossed and zippers zipped!  :)

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Surprising Quilt

It continues, my nonstop quilting binge!  The latest finish was motivated and guided by challenges put forth by our quilting guild.
We did a low-volume 5x5 charm swap at our latest meeting so everyone went home with 44 different charms.  We were encouraged to use these with half-square-triangles (HST), which is a black magic that I am very new to but am very much in love with.  When I went to my last Crafty Weekender, I decided to take advantage of the expertise of my fellow makers who were there and play around with HST.  That was a good decision!  Before I had left for the retreat, I grabbed certain fabrics that I thought may be fun to play around with, including these floral fabrics that reminded me of flour sack fabrics.
HSTs are a bit monotonous to make but satisfying at the same time.  There is a lot of precision cutting and sewing, which I am always working to improve, so this was great for skill building.  I had some great cheerleaders on the sidelines as well, so that's always helpful.  :)  I grouped the truer low volume squares with the blue-hued florals and I grouped the low volumes that featured black with the red florals, which I placed on the edges of my HST square.  I love the effect it created!  Once I was done with the main square, I was done.  I honestly didn't think that I would come back to work on it any further for quite some time but I was wrong!
Once I returned home, I pulled everything out to show Brent what I had worked on that weekend.  I really wasn't hugely feeling this piece.  I didn't know what to do next and I wasn't hugely inspired.  That was until I sat and stared at my fabric stash and pulled out this puppy.  I don't remember if it came from an estate sale or the fabric warehouse but there was a ton of it and it complimented the focal piece perfectly.  One problem.  There was yellow bias tape tightly sewn to it all over.  I spent a few nights on the couch seam ripping that stuff off of the majority of the fabric.  What a difference that made!  Once that was done, I was ready to put on the borders!
I still felt like it wasn't quite complete so I decided to do some slashing.  Since one part of the challenge was to play with low volume, I decided to literally flip the red fabric in spots and use the backside of it.  It's the low volume version of that fabric.  I couldn't be happier with the effect and it gave it the modern kick that it needed.
It's backed with a simple and soft vintage sheet that compliments the front perfectly and is bound in a bold red.  I did some tight, straight-line quilting that took forever but was totally worth it.  I'm really thrilled with how the most traditional quilt I've ever made turned out, especially since I didn't see myself liking it as much as I do.  That was a great surprise.  This quilt does not have a home yet and will be available in my shop soon!
 Now onto the next one!  Until later!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Just Because

Because sometimes I like to lose myself in old posts.  Because sometimes my favorite posts are those without a clear purpose.  Because sometimes the things lost in the every day are what make the day so special.  Because I had a good weekend.

Not pictured:  TONS of quilting on a monster that is almost complete, a flea market date with the little one, popsicles out back, tending to the plants, a bit of deep floor cleaning, lunching in Papa's backyard, visiting with old friends, successful parallel parking, toy cars everywhere, a full moon, watching the kitten chase a bug in the house, Prince playing on repeat, and the realization for a certain tiny person that apples don't need to be cut up to eat.

The kid took a random, early nap in the car on Saturday so I decided to just keep on driving....to Broken Arrow where we surprised my Papa with our lunch in tow.  We found him sitting out back, enjoying the beautiful weather so we joined him for a bit.  She took advantage of the vast yard to show us how fast leopards run and I took advantage of a cute moment between her Great Papa and his only Great Grandchild.
Later that day, the mister and I did a kid switch off and I went to meet some members of my quilt guild to tour Joe Cunningham's quilt show.  LOVED examining his work in person and loved spending some extra time with my quilt-y friends.  It was a wonderful time and honestly, a bit unexpected! 
Sunday was the kid and I for most of the day.  I did get to sleep in however (cue angels singing!) thanks to a generous mister which gave me lots of 'get up and go' in regards to housework!  Later that afternoon, I picked up a Palmer and we headed to a fundraiser for The Grief Center.  During Alliday last year, Owl & Drum organized a community quilt project where everyone who wanted to could help build a quilt.  Eventually, we finished piecing the quilt and had it quilted.  It was then donated to The Grief Center who decided to auction it off at their fundraiser to send children to grief camp.  Palmer and I were able to sneak out of 'real life' for a few hours to attend the fundraiser and see our quilt featured!  It was a great feeling.  And it was fun to go do something different!
Not pictured:  feelings of pride, my awe for our non-stop growing kid, my gratitude for the life we've built, happiness.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Towering Quilt

I'm in the midst of quilt mania. I can't stop making them! I have two that are in the final stages of completion but it's taking all of my willpower to finish them before I start more! My brain is overflowing with quilt inspiration and motivation. If only I had the time and energy needed to bust them all out like I would like! So without further adieu I present, 'Towering', my latest finish.
When I first started dabbling in sewing as an adult, I really enjoyed making bags with bark cloth and other hard-to-find vintage fabrics. I sold some here and there and the rest got stored away until recently. When I pulled them back out, I admired the fabrics just as I had when I first found them but I cringed a bit at my bag construction. I mean, they functioned and they looked fine but my technical skills have grown so much since then that I knew they needed to become something else. I spent a few nights deconstructing those bags, making sure I did my best to keep the fabrics in good shape. I knew what I wanted to do - I wanted to use those fabrics in quilts.
Once I had quilt on the brain, I flew through this one! It's so simple but so beautiful, in my opinion! The focal fabrics range from the 1940s - 1970s. With the exception of the cream strip down the middle, all of the fabrics used in this piece are heavier than most fabrics used in quilts. This means that it's durable, heavy (perfect for cooler weather!), and took twice as long to quilt! There WILL be more quilts like these in the near future.
I used variegated thread down the center and in various lines throughout the rest of the quilt which I loooooooove. It just adds that little something extra. The backing was an experiment. It's made from a soft vintage citron fabric that I literally have hundreds of yards of. I LOVE it as a backing! It's ridiculously soft and the color is perfect. I imagine you'll be seeing this on the backs of many of my quilts!
The future of this quilt is half known and unknown. Right now, it's preparing to be hung in a faculty art show at my school! I've found myself very intimidated by entering any of my quilts into shows while at the same time being encouraged by many to enter some in shows! When I got wind of our faculty art show, I thought it would be the perfect first step for me to break down that wall within myself. This quilt and another were selected and will hang for the month of May at our Center for Creativity in downtown Tulsa. I'm excited! After that, who knows what will happen to this piece! As with all of my works, I hope they are loved and used for many, many years!
Until Later!
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