Friday, January 25, 2008

Likes Shiny Objects Too

I did some tea dyeing. I haven't done any fabric dyeing all year because of the drought here in Georgia. But tea dyeing doesn't use that much water. I was contemplating the backs for my bad luck quilts. I'm planning to write what the quilt is about on the back. Whenever you see a book of spells or legends or whatever in movies and on TV, it is on that funky, old timey brown paper. I thought that would be a good look for the back of the quilts. And I figured tea dyeing would be the perfect way to achieve the look.

I used cranberry tea, blueberry tea and regular orange and black pekoe tea.

My son stole my spoon and wouldn't give it back, so I let him stir the fabric.

I'm pretty happy with how it came out. You can't tell from the picture. But it is kind of brownish pink. I think it will be a good base for adding some paint and some lettering.

On baby blanket news, I have another panel done. I heart cable stitches. I rewarded myself for finishing the bobble panel by doing a cable panel. Now I have to do the second bobble panel. But at least I have another cable panel to look forward to. And then I get to do popcorn stitches. Whoo hoo. It doesn't take much to make me happy.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's January 20th Already!!!

I haven't been doing much quilting because I've been working on the baby blanket. I have sort of a deadline now, and for some reason, January is slipping away quickly. Holy smokes, it's already the 20th! I have two panels done and I'm working on the third. It has 9 panels all together. This one is referred to as the bobble panel.

I don't find it as interesting to work as popcorn stitches or cables, so I'm anxious to get it done so I can move on to the more fun panels. Are you wondering why I'm crocheting a baby blanket instead of quilting one? I've been crocheting since I was about 8 or 9 years old. I've given away almost everything I've crocheted. I do have a few crochet pieces that I've kept, but that is just a big, flat way for me to store yarn. I often pull these pieces apart and make them into something else if I find an interesting pattern or stitch I want to try. When I was laid off a few years ago, I spent a lot of time unraveling and crocheting blankets in between looking for a job. Lynn Krawczyk recently posted a list of 10 reason why it is good to crochet when you have a head cold and I realized that a lot of those are the same reasons I crocheted when I was unemployed. Being laid off is a lot like being sick except you can't spend the day hopped up on cold medicine. What was the question again? Oh yeah, I crochet baby blankets as gifts because I've been making them a lot longer than I've been quilting. It's kind of my thing now. If Martha Stewart showed up at your dinner party with a liter of Coke, you'd be like, "What's up with that?" It's the same thing with me and crocheted baby blankets. And it's fast and fun. Not a lot of people crochet, so it also makes a unique gift.

I did get a little bit of sewing done this week. I did some needle turn applique on one of my bad luck quilts. Can you tell which superstition this one will be about?

I love needle turn applique. It makes me feel like anything is possible.

Monday, January 14, 2008

When You Assume...You Make a Blanket Out of Panels

I don't think I've been doing anything interesting to report on lately. I've just been doing what I do. I finished another background for my New Year's Resolution quilts. These are pretty much going to be applique quilts, and I've been putting the backgrounds together. I haven't decided how to bind the quilts. Whether they will be self bound like a pillow case or if I will apply binding. This is kind of a crucial decision because I can't do any quilting in the meantime. I only have one more background to put together, so I better make a decision soon.

I've also been working on a baby blanket. I know it looks like a scarf. But it is a fisherman's sweater pattern that is worked in panels which are then sewn together. Believe me, I didn't know that when I picked the pattern. I didn't bother to read it before I started working on it. I just assumed it was worked as one piece. I actually had the yarn tied on when I looked at the pattern and realized it was worked in panels. Now I have to pay attention to things like the gauge - which I never do. It's a blanket, who cares? I just crochet them until they are blanket sized. But now all of the panels will need to be the same size, so I'm actually going to have to pay attention to what I'm doing. Not to mention the sewing at the end. Yes, I'm that lazy. I actually thought about picking a different pattern, but I really like this one so I'm forging ahead.

That's it. See, I told you.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Just Say No

I cleaned my sewing studio. I use air quotes when I say "cleaned". Maybe tidy would be a better word? Let's just say it is somewhere below Martha Stewart and somewhere above Oscar the Grouch. Things are pretty much put away. Scraps have been stored or thrown out. There is space to work. That's all I'm looking for. I don't really have any interest in doing any more cleaning than that. I'd rather be sewing.

Here is my work area. It is pretty much a desk where I do my drafting, cutting, and machine work. I keep my beads and embellishments on the desk too. I keep scraps under the desk in bins sorted by color. There is also a big rubbermaid tub of yarn under the desk. The cats love it under there. It scares me a little.

Here's my stash. It is sorted by color. I also have a cube for fat quarters, novelty prints, batting, PFD fabric, and plaids. I even have a cube for extra special, too awesome to cut fabric. The rest of the cubes are holding fabric for projects. Once I pull fabric from my stash, I keep it separated from the rest of the stash until the project has the binding on. That way, I have fabric if I decide to make extra blocks, sashes or whatever. There is a tapestry that hangs over the whole thing to protect it from sunlight.

This week I've also started making the backgrounds for the bad luck quilts. I've put two together and I'm hand piecing the third. It is a baby block design and I love hand piecing those y-seams. I was at JoAnns today to buy yarn to crochet a baby afgan that I will be making as a gift. I was walking around with 5 skeins of yarn thinking it would be nice to have a cute bag to tuck the yarn into. Of course they didn't have any so I thought, "Why don't I make one". Five words that are like crack to a crafter. So now I am also making a quilted bag. At least it keeps me off the streets.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I'm Off To A Slow Start

I got some needle turn applique done today. That's about it quilt wise for the week. You would think that during a week where no one worked I would have gotten more done. But no, life kept me away from my sewing. It was somewhat distracting because all week I felt like I wanted to be in my studio but couldn't get in there. I don't want to be distracted from life by my creative drive. I value my work and my family. I don't want it to seem like I would rather be quilting when I need to be focused on them. I used to make a habit of working in my sketch book on days I couldn't get to sewing. I think I need to go back to that practice to keep everything in balance.

I also need to make my studio more kid friendly so my son can hang out in there while I'm working. Right now, it's not safe in there for my husband let alone my kid. He likes being in there, but I'm always worried he's going to step on a pin or pull the iron down on his head (my son, not my husband - although those are risks for him too). So I guess I'll add, "clean and baby proof the studio" to the list of things to do. That's something that would make all of us happy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Resolution 2008

At the risk of breaking my streak for random mid-year New Year's resolutions, I have made my New Year's resolution for 2008. Rest assured that this does not signal a departure from my refusal to base resolutions on the whims of some 16th century Pope. It is just a coincidence that I have my resolution ready by the first of the year this time around. I like resolutions that are like assignments. They give you structure that gives you the opportunity to practice a skill without other stuff getting in the way. It is like working in series or on a theme.

Anyway, I have resolved this year to focus on improving design, particularly incorporating quilting in the design process. I tend to think about quilting after the top is done and I should really be thinking about it earlier in the design process. The theme this year is bad luck/good luck. So here is the assignment:

The quilts all have to be the same size. I'm thinking 91/2 by 12.
Quilting lines must be incorporated into the drawing/cartoon of the quilts.
At least 75% of the quilt should incorporate stuff my stash.
The quilts should look like they go together. The design of each quilt should consider the design of the other quilts.

As for the the theme, the subject of the quilts will be things that bring bad luck or good luck. Not every superstition, but ones that have been handed down in my family or amongst my friends. Speaking of which, I've got my black eyed peas going (the food, not the band). We always eat them on the first of the year for good luck. Happy New Year.