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.


Pictured:
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!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Another Weekend, Another Crafty Weekender

You may remember about a year ago I attended something called Crafty Weekender.  Or maybe you don't.  You can refresh yourself here.  Much like last year's retreat, I hadn't planned on attending but found myself with a surprise opportunity to fill an opening last minute.  Amazingly, Brent didn't have any shows scheduled and I didn't have one thing on the calendar so I was in!  I only had a few days notice so I quickly threw some random projects in a bag, did some laundry, made sure the mister and the kid could survive without me for a few days, and I was off!
This time, I was headed to a cabin in Cookson, OK which is on Lake Tenkiller.  It was only an hour and a half drive with wonderful weather and raunchy podcasts.  I did arrive a day late (seems I never get to stay at a retreat the entire time!) but the gals promised to not have any fun until I got there.  ;)  

This cabin was MADE for sewing enthusiasts because it was designed BY a sewing enthusiast!  There were existing design walls, cutting and ironing stations, patterns tacked to every wall, a fully stocked kitchen, and a quilt for every bed!  The owner is also a massage therapist so some of the gals opted for an hour of relaxation on site!  I wish I'd known about that service beforehand!
It was a tad tight with twelve people working and living here but we certainly managed and got along quite well!  Susannah consistently organizes a wonderfully laid back retreat.  New to this weekender were sponsors!  We all got goodie bags and enjoyed numerous giveaways throughout the weekend.  She also made a screen for us to use for printing which mighty cool.  Oh, and one night we gambled with fabric!  Yes!

In addition to all of that goodness, she organized a pillow swap for everyone who wanted to participate.  I immediately wrote it off because, last minute McGee here didn't have time to make a pillow...or so she thought.  Of course, the night before I left, I decided I HAD to make a pillow to swap so I did!  I played around with some Dresden diamonds (taken from Dana's wonderful book) and came up with this puppy.  I LOVED it.  I was a little sad to say goodbye but was thrilled with whom it went home! 
I scored the COOLEST sequined pillow from Linda - I know, sequins?  Briana?  These are no ordinary sequins, they flip back and forth!  You CANNOT stop touching this pillow.  I am enamored with it.  And so is everyone else in my household.  
As I attend more functions like this, I'm finding a common theme.  The community.  Spending time with folks that have similar interests creates such a positive atmosphere and the learning that goes on really blows my mind.  Every time I leave one of these retreats, I leave with new tricks up my sleeve.  In the past, I was incredibly stingy with my crafty knowledge and I wish I hadn't been.  In my recent years, I've learned that the more you share, the more you receive.  Attending events like this really reinforce that for me. 
  
So what did I make?   First, I made myself a Sylvie Dress!  Brent bought me this pattern for Christmas and I finally made time to play around with it.  I'm not 100% thrilled with the shape BUT I think I could have probably gone down a size and would have been much happier.  I plan on taking this one in a little and making another smaller one.  It was a fun make though!
I also played around with some low volume half-square triangles for a guild project that I'll talk about more in the future!  It was challenging for me but more enjoyable than I thought it would be.  It's good to push ourselves sometimes.  :)
After I was done working on that project for the weekend, I moved onto more half-square triangles in a different size and color way.  Practice, practice, practice!  Both of these triangle projects are almost done now! 
I finished off the weekend with an early morning zipper bag for a thank you gift for a friend.  Used fabrics I won during our gambling spree and a zipper from our goodie bag. 
In closing, I STRONGLY encourage you to attend something like this, whatever your interests may be!  You'll be surprised by the friendships you form, the things you learn, and the memories you'll make.  Stay crafty, my friends!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fresh Off The Machine!

Some days, I think I'm more surprised than anyone that I am so into sewing.  I am truly fascinated by it and I feel like it's an area in which I'll never quit learning.  The possibilities of what you can make are endless and so much of what can be made is functional, important, and useful!  It's hard for me to decide what type of sewing I like the best.  Quilts are more of an artistic expression for me and are sooooooooo enjoyable to complete.  They are definitely a front runner.  Bags are, well, bags!  I'm totally a bag lady so figuring out how to make a bag to my specifications is pretty much the coolest thing ever.  But clothes?  Oh, clothes.  I really didn't expect to enjoy making clothing as much as I do.  I learn something new on every single article of clothing I make.  Seriously.  Here are some random clothes that I've made over the past few months to get you up to date on my apparel endeavors.  :)
 
First up, a my first men's tailored shirt!  After making Brent a tie, he started hinting for me to make him some other clothes.  We dug through my vintage pattern stash and came across this one from 1972 which is his EXACT size.  We picked a fabric I had on hand to create a muslin.  This came together SO quickly.  I was shocked.  I think the caroling dress prepared me more than I realized for projects like this! 
I think next time, I won't be so ambitious with such a busy pattern but it was a good test for me!  The collar and cuffs are VERY seventies aka funky which I think is pretty cool!  All in all, this has definitely motivated me to try and find some more modern men's patterns to try my hand at.  Watch out, Brent!
Next up is a quick dress that I made for myself to wear for New Year's Eve.  It's also a seventies pattern but more on the latter half of the decade.  I made some adjustments such as non-gathered sleeves and a longer hem.  The front closes with a looooooong hidden zipper and is topped off with a Bakelite button that I'm in love with.  I need to pull it back out to get some proper photos of it.  It's quite a lovely dress, in my opinion.  :)  If I make it again though, I'll be adding some pockets!
I had to make something for Rio for Christmas!  I picked up a pattern for this adorable jacket at Owl & Drum and went at it!  I made it a size 4 (I usually size up on all of her clothes because she's growing so damn fast!) but it's considerably too large on her right now.  I actually made it out of an old curtain that is somewhat self-lined.  I'm not sure how else to explain that!  The seams are covered with bias tape and I stitched in some appliqued flowers on the inside where seams meet as a little surprise for her.  :)  I think it will be a perfect rain jacket once it fits her well.  This came together quite quickly and I love the look of it.  I need to try my hand at a lined version as well. 
Finally, while I was making baby H a new wardrobe, I busted out a little herd of diaper covers to ship off to Out on a Limb in Oklahoma City.  I think diaper covers are invaluable and absolutely adorable!
Shew, I feel better getting you up to speed on my sewn clothes!  ;)  I'm going to a sewing retreat this weekend and have pulled out another pattern to hopefully make myself a new dress from!  Fingers crossed it all works out!  ¡Hasta Luego!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Building A Tiny Wardrobe

Over the years, I've had the extreme pleasure of creating with and for some of the most wonderful people.  For the past two years, I've been able to get to know two gals named Ashley through working with them on Alliday.  Our working relationships quickly merged into friendships for which I am deeply grateful.
 
Both of these Ashleys have had two precious little girls since I've known them and watching them grow as parents has been such an awe-inspiring journey.  Seeing all three of our stair-stepped girls together is pure gold.
Recently, I was asked to help build a budding fashionista's wardrobe and have enjoyed every moment of it.  I never knew that I loved tiny clothes for tiny people until Rio joined our world so I completely understand the joy of making and having clothes made for our bebes.  Making clothes for the darling Harriet has been a true gift.  Sure it's been great apparel-making practice and great for skill-building, but it's also taken me back to the first months of having a baby.  That cloudy, dreamy, wonderful, new period of life that seems just like yesterday while feeling like it was years and years ago.
I cannot wait to see her start to fill these clothes out but more so, I cannot wait to see who this gal grows up to be!  With parents like hers, I have no doubt she'll move mountains, warm hearts, and change lives. 
Making these outfits has been so much more than just clothes.  Thank you, Ashley and Harriet, for giving me that gift and letting me create for you!

*cutest photos ever courtesy of Mama Daly*
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