Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sewing room!

So, I've been working for three weeks on redoing the sewing room, something that has been on my to do list since at least January of last year!

And now I'm pretty much done, apart from the ironing board and purchasing a new table.

sewing room from door
The view from the door. This is where I want a table for the machines.
To your left is the fabric shelves and further to the left is a closet with more fabric storage. I had a picture, but it's not great. It's a closet.

To the right:

ironing and cutting stations
Once the machines are moved, this desk will be for cutting.
The ironing station will have a top that is a piece of plywood covered by cotton and felt and canvas, to make a 2 foot by 3.5 foot ironing board. The shelf is iron storage.
I'm pleased with the project so far, especially because I've been able to collect sewing supplies from all over into this tiny room, instead of having them strewn about the house. I used to just sew in here and do the ironing and cutting on the other side of the basement.

Frankly, it would be more impressive had you seen what it looked like before... It was cream of mushroom soup color, and with teal carpet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rainbow quilt

So, I had an idea about log cabin piecing using rainbow colors in rainbow order. And I was reading a quilting book about wonky cutting - where you sew your pieces together, press, put them on the cutting mat, then turn them a bit, and cut them smaller. So, two ideas combined into a wonky log cabin rainbow quilt.

rainbow quilt
the quilt is actually a rectangle! It's just been photographed strangely.

I started with 6 fat quarters, one each in (mostly) red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Then they were cut into strips of various sizes - from 1.25 inches up to 3.5 inches. (And I wrote that down on a piece of paper I have subsequently lost!)

Anyway, I put the three largest strips aside for the first two rounds, and put all the rest in a bowl, and picked them out randomly. Each color was the base color for two squares; one working in the red to orange to yellow direction, and one in the purple to blue to green direction. If that makes sense?

example square
an example square - yellow is the first color.
Every time the sixth color was put on, they were recut on some angle - except the last go around, where I had to cheat a bit to make the blocks all the same size. Mostly because I ran out of green and purple (because they weren't actually full fat quarters; I'd already used some pieces of them for other things), I ended up fleshing out many of them with extra orange - the fabric I had the most of.


Even so the blocks weren't big enough to make a baby quilt themselves, so I used sashes to make it crib sized.

and the back
and the back... monkeys!

It was quilted in the ditch with my new walking foot. Pretty happy with that. I may even do another. (I know I swore I'd never quilt again before, but... I'm interested now!)

Since I finished this, I saw a book with a five pointed log cabin, rather than the normal square. It looked really neat, and I'm putting it on my list of things to try... one day.

At the moment I have a couple of wall hanging sized things in various states of not-doneness. I'm trying to redo my sewing room, but the progress is slow, and without a sewing room, I'm not getting much sewing done!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Crafts of the Past: Things from the box!

I saw an interesting talk this week at the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild by Loretta Oliver. She spoke about her journey to becoming a felter, and her inspirations, and had a slide show of many beautiful pieces. Afterwards, she did something unique, however. She showed us pieces that did not work, that were not finished, that had been abandoned and put into "the box," which in her case was not really one box but several, and explained why each piece ended up there.  And then she showed us some pieces that had been made from abandoned earlier pieces. I thought it very illuminating - as crafters we don't usually speak of our misteps, and what we might make of them.

In that vein, and because I have been cleaning out my basement, I'm going to show you some sad, abandoned ideas:

beaded star
this was a test - pony beads and fishing line

I think I was planning to make a curtain out of pony beads, this test bit is only 8" long - and it's heavy, and they don't hang together well. And I failed to compensate for the fact that the beads are longer than they are wide! I made this on a sort of improvised bead loom made out of foam core.

napkins with a pocket
Two cloth napkins, sewn together, with pocket. Let me explain!

Eight years ago I had a great messenger bag, it was red plaid (but otherwise great), and the best thing about it was the CD walkman pocket, with the grommet in it so you could pass the headphone cord through. And when the bag wore out, I thought, hey, the pocket is still good! So, I sewed the pocked onto some napkins that I really liked, and then the project stalled. And now, no one even has a CD walkman anymore.

Presently, the plan is to remove the stitching and let the unpocketed napkin go join the ranks of cloth napkins we keep around for eating. The other - well, I think it will return to the box.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Obligatory reflective New Year's post

Alright, so last year, I made a resolution to not buy yarn or fabric, and I didn't buy much yarn (3 skeins!) but I bought fabric uncounted, and I am not repentant, as I rediscovered quilting, and what can you do?

Secondly, I made a giant list of projects I meant to do last year, and I did maybe a third of them?

This year, I made a list of some things I need to do and some I want to do, and here is what I'm going with:

Sewing for kiddos: pajamas for child B, for child A a bathrobe, another skirt, and perhaps a dress.

Sewing for me: one skirt.

Quilting: Finish the outstanding projects, then work on a few small art quilts - specifically to master curves.

Dyeing: One batik piece.

Weaving! I have done so little weaving this year, it's sad. I have a project on the loom now that I hope to finish soon and then start churning out some dishtowels to replace old unexciting mass produced ones. If I get through those, I'd like to move on to rag rugs.

Spinning: Another hobby I have been neglecting. I have decided on a goal of spinning at least two yarns per month.

Sewing room revamp: it is in sad shape, sadder still because this was on my list for last year! Apart from addressing the obvious flooring problem, I want to rearrange furniture to work in a place for an ironing board and move the office stuff out, and bring my fabric stash back in.

Destashing! I want everything to fit somewhere out of the main room without all the current overflow.

give it away now
good bye to yarn and latch hook supplies

I've already got this underway, I've cleared out latch hook stuff, some yarn, some roving, a third of my sewing patterns, and the bulk of my record collection. Also going are many pairs of jeans I got off someone on Craigslist, since they'd just been sitting around here for a year and a half without my doing anything much with them... There is more to go, I'm sure; I'm in a getting rid of it sort of mood.

I'd also like to do more yarn and fiber dyeing, but I'm not promising anything. Things are going to be a bit different here in the new year, but more on that later.