Sunday, March 22, 2015

LIfe and Sewing

Life definitely is a roller coaster.  I try to make it up the tall - click, click, click - hill first before looking downhill and toward the curve.  This year seems to be more of a focus on the hill and getting past that before moving on.  I have been trying to take each week at a time and then moving on to the next week.  I have so much on my calendar that sometimes that is all I can do right now.  One of my students reminded me that the state trip was only about 2 1/2 weeks away.  WHAT???  It's that close.  I thought I had about a month.  When did it creep up so fast?  WHAT??  I have 2 restaurants, a presentation dinner, a presentation class, Bunco and Easter (plus whatever else life presents) before even thinking about state.  BUT, I guess I need to think a little bit further ahead than just the month of March.

Getting sick is a bummer.   Two weeks ago, I was finally feeling better and recovering from a Bacterial Sinus infection (from the first of February).  I was out of school for Spring Break and planning on sewing all week long and spending time with my quilt group down at the church.  (all of which happened and was wonderful!!)  Pictures (sorry I didn't take many of them) coming up.  Then at the end of the week (Saturday) I wake up not feeling so great, but I continued on.  Sunday - yep, you got it.  Another Sinus infection, but I have to return to school on Monday.  This time it's a viral infection.  (Can't you infections leave me alone long enough to rebuild my immune system?)  Today is Sunday a week has gone by and I am feeling better (a shot and Z-pac plus a couple days in bed will do that for you).  I am back on the road to recovery - finally feeling much better and getting ready for the next few weeks! 

Even though I didn't really sew much for the month of February (felt horrible most of that month), I have put the pedal to the metal and am screeching around those curves on that roller coaster.  (sewing wise, as least)  I have completed several things and am emptying some tubs.  (I have also filled a couple of them back up with new projects, sigh). 

Here are a few items on the finished and finished for now list (these last ones just need to be quilted).  I am back in the Kaffe Fassett Block Exchange and these are the first blocks I made for one of the ladies.  (We are to make two blocks from KFC fabrics in the lady's choice of pattern - KFC = Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics- Kaffe, Brandon Mobley and Philip Jacobs)  My choice won't be until June. 

A jelly roll quilt that I started a couple of years back and finally finished putting the blocks (most of them already made) together.  I even have the back made AND binding ready to go.  Now it just needs to be quilted!!  (This is one of the tubs I have already filled back up with fabrics and 3 made blocks for our groups quilt along.)  I loved these fabrics when they came out and still do!  This may even be two jelly rolls?  I can't remember.  I do know that I have had the fabric for the back of this quilt for awhile just waiting for me to finish the blocks. 
 Below are two of the three blocks - guess I didn't take a picture of block # 3 - of our groups quilt along quilt.  I am using some Amy Butler fabric and the background is a cream print with small brown dots. The colors look really pale in these pictures, but the blocks look more alive than this.  Maybe future pictures will be able to show the color better.   I tried to put the two blocks side by side on the computer screen, but they weren't having any of that. 
Block # 1 of the groups quilt along
Block # 2 of the group quilt along
 We started out on Monday, learning how to make this bag and how to Ruche flowers. (I don't know how to spell it, but now I know how to do it.  LOL)  Some people were impressed that I knew how to needle turn the leaves.  I can do handwork when I choose.  I just don't choose to do it very often.  The stems were put on by machine. This bag is made with pre-quilted fabric and I machine quilted the yellow pocket on front.  You can't tell, but there are two pockets on the front.  A green one and a yellow one. 
A close up of the flowers so you can see the beading on the centers just to give it a little something special.  The flowers could have been larger, but I quit when my thread ran out or broke. 

Bag number two for the week was interesting to make.  Another member in our group had recently made a bag like this and I really liked it so I jotted down the number of 5 inch squares that were needed and that is about all I wrote down on my sheet of paper.  I pulled some squares I had previously cut, but haven't added to my 5" box and sewed them all together.  (6 across, three down = 18 and then 4 across the bottom center part - for your "boxing of the corners" - and then repeat for the other side = total of 44 squares.)  I sewed each side up and then used a fusible batting.  Quilted a quick pattern on there, decided that I would need a lining so I folded this in half, laid it out on my lining fabric (really some extra fabric I had there with me because I didn't think ahead) and cut a lining to match the size.  Sewed up the bag and the lining getting ready to put together and I came to a screeching halt.  STRAPS!!!  What was I going to do about handles/straps????  A bag of this size really needs handles that go across the bottom to give it extra support.  So, was I going to take it apart and put the straps on?  NO!  I wasn't taking this apart.  I measured how long I wanted the straps, cut the fabric, sewed them together threaded some batting inside the tube, sewed it all down.  Pinned them onto the bag (still all sewn up, but without the lining so I had to curve around it)  Guess what?  The handles only turned out to be about 6 inches long over the top of the bag.  NOPE, not going to work.  I took the strips apart - because you know I had already sewn it into a loop and it has batting in the middle of it.  Major work went into this bag.  I added another strip to the handle, sewed it all back together and attached it to the bag.  Down the side, over the edge and across the bottom, over the edge and back up the side and repeat not once, but three more times.  I then decided that this bag needed binding around the top instead of just flipping and sewing the lining in so I cut some binding strip (again, from some fabric I had on hand since I didn't think ahead) and VOILA!!  Below is my new bag.  Oh, yes.  Since I thought it needed some extra support and before I bound the top I added a piece of fusible Pel-tex into the bottom and fused the bag and lining to it to give it some stability. That works out great and now the bag can stand up on it's own, but doesn't feel too stiff. 

I really like the scrappiness of it all.  On the next one, yes, there will be a next one so I can write down what exactly needs to be done since this one was hit and miss.  Anyway, on the next one, I will add a pocket or two or three.  Maybe a couple on the outside.  The only thing about this bag I am unhappy about is....see that green fabric on the left side?  the exact same fabric is right next to it on the other side.  grrrr.  Since I put the two sides together separately, I didn't even think about the sides matching up.  It's not a major thing and really truly not a big deal, but I know that if I had taken the time to think (the story of this bag is the complete lack of thinking) that little problem wouldn't have happened. 
I didn't make this pillow during the week, but it was recently made.  I was playing around in my box of strips and started sewing together some of the black and white strips.  Then I decided they needed a little bit of color.  So, I added a little bit of color from time to time.  I put it up on my wall and left it for a few weeks then decided it needed to be a pillow.  I added a little more to it to square it up and began quilting it.  I quilted some large free form flowers in pink, orange, red and light pink.  You can see the round circles of the flower centers in this picture. 

Here's a close-up of a couple of the flowers.  Each one has at least two different colors in them.  They are surrounded by lime green vines and leaves, all free motion quilted.  This is one way I can work on my free-motion quilting and try to improve it and have something that is fun to have around. 
So, what is next on the agenda?  I am still clearing out some tubs and the next tub has some 5 inch squares I cut from two different fabrics and some charm packs.  I had planned on doing a disappearing 9 patch with these blocks and had already sewn and cut apart 5 or 6 blocks.  Some people in my quilt group worked on quilts that they had started in the Odessa Quilt Guild where they sewed 9 patch blocks, cut them in half two ways and then only turned opposite corners.  I had also only cut these blocks in half two ways so that is what I am going with for this quilt.   Here are 9 blocks on the board and I like how they come together to create a semi bow-tie thing and how the colors run at an angle.  I think I will do a 4 X 5 setting and then sew the leftover print blocks together for a border.  I may even cut some into circles and applique them over the top of those more solid blocks.  It's just a thought for now, I haven't tried it to see what it will look like, but maybe I will get a chance by this weekend.  This is for sure, a very spring/Easter quilt so it's the perfect time to be working on it.  One more tub almost emptied out! 


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