Juxtaposition

I’ve been busy sewing on multiple projects over the last month, one which is still a little hush-hush and others are simply things I’ve been determined to finish.

Betz White is getting ready to release a new fabric line called Juxtaposey and it is so colorful.  I mean it’s saturated and deep and vibrant and lush….and there are llama, guys.  LLAMAS.  Naturally, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on some and now I’m designing a snazzy “posey” version of a dresden plate using the new Double Wide dresden ruler from Me and My Sister Designs.

It’s coming along so nicely and I can’t wait to share it with you once it’s done in April! It’s just what spring ordered!

20170225_210640

Also, llamas. All the llamas.

In between cutting out tiny little plate pieces I’ve been doing some embroidery because why not?  I seem to suffer from an inability to finish one project before starting another.  Project burn out is real so there’s no harm in switching focus while your brain mulls things over.

20170223_152856

Keep persisting on all those works in progress.

Advertisements

Science Fair Quilt: Behind the Scenes

If you’re wondering what it took to make Science Fair check out some fun little peeks of the progress that spanned over 2 years!

In the beginning there was a jelly roll…..2015 A.D.

Quilt Blocks by Ellen Luckett Baker for Moda

Cheery vs. Dreary

I am so glad I finally have a new ironing board cover. The green one pictured was about at the end of its useful life.
Nice n' neat. The Hexies take form.

What you’re not seeing is the year flying by and 2016 starting.

Final layout for Science Fair

The halves get sewn together!

Sewing the two halves together.  Hexie quilt top fully assembled!

It was alot of pinning. So much pinning and then I decided I wasn’t going to do my original quilting pattern and unpinned nearly all of it in favor of some basic straight lines.

So it begins.

Way too ambitious for a table top machine. This would’ve look amazing if I’d been able to have someone quilt it on a long arm.
sketching out a possible quilting motif. Got alot of gray space to fill.

20161203_152509

It took about a month of quilting it off and on and moving the sewing machine to the cutting table for better workflow.

20161211_165737

I want to state that I am proud of my binding skills. Though I dislike hand binding it looks so much neater and practice makes perfect.

20161224_154235

Even if you feel awkward taking pictures of yourself with your works of art do it anyway. You’ll need a good laugh one day.

Science Fair Quilt 2017

 

Scaling Up & Moving On

20160801_155546

I always joke that with each quilt I make I learn something new.  I have yet to not learn a lesson, a skill or otherwise handy piece of knowledge that can only come from making mistakes and then figuring out how to fix them.

I have little to no experience when it comes to using large scale prints.  I tend to stick to the safe and narrow land of small scale prints or solids.  Boring but like I said, safe.  I’ve been steadily gaining ground on The Birchen Quilt over the last few weeks up until last night when, at long last, I had all my blocks sewn, pressed and ready to layout…..

IMG_20160926_163026

(forgive the picture it was a quick Instagram snap and I couldn’t even fit the entire layout on my wall)

What I saw made me cringe a bit inside.  The fabric I’d fallen in love with was overwhelming a very cool pattern. I mean the prints were just beating the pattern into submission and it was not pretty.  A few choice phrases, some distracted sewing and an hour later I regrouped my ravaged pride and decided that I only had two choices.

  1. I could leave it as is and love the craziness that is MY quilt and my fabric choice. This is the first quilt I’ve ever made for myself.
  2. I could rip out the seams of all the Elizabeth bust triangles and find a less glaring print for those 8 blocks *cry*.

But I am SO.TORN.

I mean I am seriously bummed out.  Those blocks are not small (19″ x 19″ as pictured). I love every piece of fabric I picked out and I have sewn over 300 half square triangles and squared them up.  This quilt top has so much work put into it, but it is definitely not what I had in mind and that is very depressing.

I am determined to make this pattern work so for now I’m putting this quilt on hold, stacking up my beautiful blocks and diving into another project while I mull over my two options.

Lesson learned: The scale of your prints is just as important as the color palette.

Summer’s End

I am always eternally grateful when we pass mid-August as things can finally slow down enough for me to re-group and regain my sanity.  It’s only ever been like this since Fi came into our lives and all of my friends and family started having kids.  Summers are just B-U-S-Y. It seems like there is simply no time to be still.  But I have managed to make progress in very small doses.  I even sent off a quilt to be quilted and it should be arriving back home in another week or so.

Follow my Instagram (@thelittleredthread) to see more Birchen Quilt progress and other daily life fun!

I can see the tail end of summer now and I’m chomping at the bit for the cooler weather to arrive and the humidity to abate.  I’ve been continuing to run when the weather allows while trying ignore the fact that I only have 2 more months before my next Half Marathon.

And in between all this the Wee Beastie turned 4 years old.

We went to the Dayton Celtic Festival, the Dublin Irish Festival (pictures of the Wishing Tree from DIF…so many feelings reading all the wishes.)
The Wishing Tree is one of the most sobering, joyful and emotional exhibits that you will ever experience at the Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, OH. @dublinirishfestival #beinghuman #weallwantlove 20160806_194413

There was the Lego Brick Universe exhibit and what seemed like a billion other tiny events in between.

I’ve also been helping out on a friend’s farm once a week since the end of July. We just crated 100 chickens last week for processing.  It was quite an event for two women and with the summer heat no creature was happy.  Free range chickens are very crafty birds.  Good food means hard work.

Now our yearly trip to the Renaissance Festival is looming and once more Fiona will need a new costume.  Going back to the basics though and hoping that leaving a generous hem at the bottom will let me get an extra year of wear out of it.  We’re going on Pirates weekend with some of our good friends and as long as it doesn’t rain I know it’ll be a blast!

 

The Birchen Quilt

It’s incredibly windy and mild today, we’re talking 40 mph windy inside our neighborhood. Even though it’s a nice 64 degrees out it is much too rough to play out in the sun for long without getting chapped cheeks.

I’ve been working on my Birchen Quilt in the mean time and getting the last colorway of the half square triangles sewn together.

 

Getting there. #birchenquilt #fqsfun

I gathered the fabric for this last month and should be able to complete the top by mid-March if I can keep a steady sewing rhythm.  I’ve found that I can be very productive in 20-30 minute increments than if I’m sewing for hours on end.  Even though I love sewing and piecing all these tops together it does start to addle my brain after so long, especially when squaring up over 300+ half squares and sewing them together.

Slow and steady!

 

“Selfish Sewing” and Why I’m Giving It Up

Once more as the new year ramps up the hashtag #selfishsewing seems to be creeping back into the trending topics of both Instagram and Twitter.  Why?  The word selfish has no positive meaning to it.  If you think of a selfish person you might conjure up images of a self-absorbed movie star or someone passing a homeless person begging for money.  So why do we insist on using this term with all its negative worth when we create?

It's snowing here and I just finished pressing open 160 half square triangles.  I have another 160 waiting to be sewn on the sidelines. #birchenquilt #sewday

Maybe it’s “Mom Guilt” (yet another awesomely bad catch phrase) or just guilt in general.  As women, we are typically raised to be the center of the family sphere and taught that sacrifice is the name of the game.  Everything must come before you’re own needs.  Your boyfriend, husband, children, career, pets, even basic social time with your friends.  The list is endless and you probably fall somewhere around the bottom of it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Studies have shown that taking time for ourselves as women, as simple humans, to do something we love doing can raise our self-worth, ease stress and make us better able to handle the toddler waking up 3-4 times a night because their blankets slid off.

It can give us a deep sense of fulfillment by helping us not lose ourselves in the everyday grind.  It is vital that we take time for us so that we can be whole.

So, I’m giving it up. I’m not doing any more Selfish Sewing.  Instead I’ll just be sewing or working on my latest project.  Maybe I’ll be donating a selfless sewing project for Craft Hope or doing some mending.  As long as I’m enjoying it, whether it’s sewing, crafting, growing, running, reading, it will never be selfish.

We give so much of ourselves to everyone around us. Don’t let the guilt monster ruin your creativity.

My latest quilt project is the Birchen Quilt which is a FREE pattern you can download from the YouTube quick tutorial video here (go to the info box and click the link).  I’ve been using a combination of Tula Pink’s Elizabeth collection, Cotton + Steel and Kate Spain fabrics.  It is officially the first quilt I’ve made for myself to love and snuggle up in.  It might not be quilted till midsummer but it’ll be ready for next winter and I can not wait to show you once the top is pieced!

Colorway #2 and another 160 half square triangles. Thank goodness for triangle paper! These would've taken forever doing it the old way and not nearly as consistently accurate.  #birchenquilt

 

Something To DO

I have been plowing through projects left and right this month.  I’m really quite impressed with myself for being able to get to a completion point for my Yellow Brick Road quilt and also my first of twelve Mini Barn Cat Quilts.

January's Mini Barn Cat Quilt is almost done.  #fqsfun #farmgirlvintage

While I do feel like I have a lot on my plate, creatively speaking, it’s been a rather gratifying start to a new year.  Creativity sparks creativity.

Now if I could just finish my Pink Birdie cross stitch pattern…..