Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sewing Ironically

Hello, lovelies!

This week saw me at an online-teaching workshop (to help me learn how to teach online courses), and our typical schedule allowed an hour for lunch--which, in true professorial fashion, meant we would sit around talking. So naturally, I brought my sewing (I'm putting the final borders on the spring wallhanging, and oh, what a joy to sew such long seams!).

At one point another young prof said something about a thing she'd like to do in one of her classes that was a bit outside the norm and many of us laughed about it being scandalous. I did a whole 'clutching my pearls' gesture--which caused a bigger uproar when J pointed out that I did it complete with a thimble on my finger!

New thimble!

He backpedaled a bit, saying that I know I look like an old lady while sewing, so it's okay: I'm sewing ironically.

Which then sidetracked the whole table into a discussion of how 'old lady' crafts are making a big comeback among our generation. I got to talk about how my tattoo-artist younger brother knits his own socks--and no, I have no clue how he does it. He has a bunch of little needles and giant meaty hands, it's just amazing to watch. :)

What do y'all think? Does it ever bother you that the 'image' of the craft is solidly in 'grandma' territory? (Of course, if you are of the 'stereotypical quilter' generation, do you feel hemmed in [ahaha, punny! *groans*] by expectations?)

As for me, I feel quite proud to be carrying on this tradition, and learning how to make such beautiful things with my hands. And I can get so much done, even while chatting with friends--I kind of wished I could sew while in session, too. :) I kind of feel sorry for my students who give me weird looks when I mention that I quilt, like they don't understand the satisfaction that comes from creating something.

A rose is a rose

Here's a finished project! This little counted cross-stitch took me forever to actually complete. The fabric is ivory, and the pale pink and pale ivory half-stitches were impossible for me to see what I was doing unless I was practically in sunlight, so I stalled at several points. Ah, well, it's done now! And looks lovely on my wall.

Linking up with:
Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, July 15, 2011

Value in Repetition

Hello, lovelies!

I figured I'd reveal my Super Secret Sewing Project once it arrived at its destination, and today I heard that the package made it safely, so: Here it is! (Click for bigger!)

Comfort pillows--pre-stuffingComfort pillows
Comfort pillows, all together This owl is not impressed.

These are comfort pillows for a dear friend who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She's headed in for surgery on Monday, and I hope she finds these useful and cheering! (The bone-shaped pillow is from this pattern on Connecting Threads, the bird is from this pattern by Pillow and Maxfield. The rectangular one was half-mistake, half-late-night-crazed-inspiration, and I really like the baffling baffled box pillow I ended up with. *g*)

I also attended a Rock River Modern Quilt Guild meeting this week, and had a lovely time chatting with everyone! Jeanne of Grey Cat Quilts talked about being in a 'sampler quilt mood,' as opposed to making the very same block over and over, and it got me to thinking.

Sampler quilts can be a lot of fun--I'm in the middle of my first two, right now, and it's nifty doing so many different blocks! There also seem to be lots of sampler quilt-a-longs going on in blogland right now, which is also great.


I think there's a lot of value in doing the very same block over and over, too, especially for beginning quilters. (I think Jeanne's a long way from a beginner, let me be clear!)

For me, I don't think my skills particularly improve in one block, but across many--I would be far less confident with my kaleidoscope quilt if I hadn't had sixty-seven blocks of pinwheel practice with my Tweetygigs quilt. I'm finding my kaleidoscope blocks are getting better, too, and I'm only a third of the way through putting them together.

So I urge you, if you're a beginning-to-intermediate quilter, not to dismiss single-block quilts. Sometimes repetition really is the best way to learn!

(Linked with Fabric Tuesday, check out all the goodies there, too!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Late-Night Experimenting

Hello, everyone!

Just zipping in with a quick WIP Wednesday update--it's a gorgeous day here, so I'm headed out for a long walk soon. This past week has seen me working on my Kaleidoscope quilt (which included a clean-and-oil of my little Husqvie and some musing on how she talks to me), with a break for a sewing project I can't quite show you yet. :)

Last night I finished my layout, and started sewing blocks together:

Kaleidoscope: Layout!

That's where the experimentation came in.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Does your machine talk to you?

Hello, sweet sewists! :)

Today saw some significant progress on my kaleidoscope quilt--I spent time getting the quarter-blocks together:

Quarter-block chain piecing

And I was considering how my machine 'talks'--it tells me when I need to clean and oil it, just from the way it sounds and how it feels when it's running.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday! Now actually on Wednesday!

Ah, Wednesday! Today is the day we all recover from our long holiday weekends!

My holiday weekend consisted of fourteen hours in the car, three repetitions of Beauty and the Beast, at least six repetitions of the Beauty and the Beast original Broadway cast recording on CD, one family reunion, one long-overdue and far-too-short visit with Tracie, ten years' worth of family memories while hunting for Grandma pictures, lots of glow-necklaces and glow-sticks shared among the family, a half-hour of delightful fireworks with commentary provided by Zoe, and more brats and hamburgers than I've eaten all year.

Today, we recover!

Fortunately, long visits also mean hand-sewing time, so I've made significant progress on my hand-pieced spring wallhanging (as always, click for bigger):

Spring wallhanging progress

I've got the center all together, and the first two borders on! Isn't it exciting?