Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Finished Something Early?

Let the record show that, for once in my life, I finished something early. What was this magical something you ask?

Family stockings! I really need to get a better picture, but waiting to take a picture has already delayed this post by a week. You see it's very hard to take good pictures when you (a) the sun goes down at 4:00 and (b) you sew through the night. I definitely need to find a better solution there... and um, a real place to hang these. The baby gate will not do for Santa Claus. Edit: Updated photo is an improvement, though still far from ideal. Maybe next year?

But anyway, these stockings were tons of fun. I was inspired by my stepmother who went out of her way to embroider and quilt a stocking for each one of us. I remember how loved I felt, and wanted my little girl to have similar childhood memories.

My stocking
Each stocking is as different as its owner. The stocking on the far left is mine, inspired by this one by CluckCluckSew and done in Aneela Hoey's "Cherry Christmas" line. The tiny hour glasses were a lesson in patience and accuracy, which means it isn't perfect. :) I quilted it in an all over meander, making it the very first thing I ever quilted on my Janome Horizon (swoon!).

The middle stocking belongs to the little lady of the house. The fabric is "Santa's Workshop" by DoodleBug Design for RileyBlake. It is so super cute in person, and the colors are so happy! I wanted to let the fabric shine so I kept it really simple with 2 1/2 inch squares sewn on point. I kept the quilting simple, too, choosing a to run a single straight line alongside each seam. Straight line quilting is a personal first, and I really loved the results!

And last (and maybe least!) is my husband's stocking. He is a huge fan of the Peanuts cartoon, and I did what I could to make it less ugly. He requested a "fuzzy white top" which ended up being crazy... hard. Let's just say I used many other four-letter words to describe that whole process. Lesson learned: do not attempt super slippery bamboo velour without interfacing. No, really. Don't. :)

So glad to have these done, and really happy to ring in the holiday season with homemade quilty goodness!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Things That Started Innocently Enough

I'm still not clear on how I survived those forty weeks known as pregnancy, but I am quite sure that I was out of mind. Maybe it was the 9 months of nausea. Maybe it was the hormones. But for whatever reason, I got it in my head that I was GOING.TO.MAKE.A.BABY.QUILT.DAMMIT.

Now, understand that I had never done such a thing. Sure, I had sewn a few beanbags in a middle school Home Economics class. I even had a sewing machine that I'd gotten as a Christmas present years earlier. But a quilt? If I'd been in my right mind I  *never* would have undertaken such a thing. But, never one to give in to reason, I sat in a crappy Ikea chair for hours toiling over 12 log cabin blocks. And then I gave birth.

Fast forward 9 months... Now sleeping a whopping four hours a night I picked up the quilt top, determined to finish what I started. You know, before Baby Bee realized how bad my time management skills were).

I took a deep breath and successfully navigated some very elementary quilting. Satisfied with the quilting, I ventured out on to the internet for a binding tutorial. And that's when "it" happened. That's right, I stumbled onto Amanda Nyberg's (@crazymomquilts.com) binding tutorial. I can still remember that moment of 1) shock and awe at the beauty of modern quilts and 2) the horror at the now nearly finished traditionally-styled baby quilt that I held in my hands. I pretty much hated my first quilt before it was even finished. Um, oops?

What I did next was only logical. I quickly finished the binding and sped off to my LQS. Two days and a few charm packs of Aneela Hooey's "Walk in the Woods" later, I was well on my way to redemption with my "First Quilt, Take II".  Did I mention that I was only sleeping four hours a night? Yeah, I was clearly insane.

As I said, I pretty much hated my first quilt before it was even done. So much so that I don't really want to post a picture of it, but maybe I'll be able to look back at this someday and laugh. But, in case this never becomes funny, there is also a snapshot of my second (redemption) quilt, too.
Traditional blue/brown Beatrix Potter vs.
Redemption Quilt in progress

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Queen Bee Reclaimed

I have always been a little odd; a fact that isn't becoming any less true with age.  A younger me had all the time in the world, and was able to indulge herself in an unending number of hobbies and interests. And then life happened. Quickly.

Now I work more than I should (who doesn't these days?) in one of those big-corporate-job-type-roles.  But it took a baby to make me question how I wanted to spend the (very very) few free minutes I had a day when I wasn't (a) working or (b) being a mom. I finally gave in to the fact that my hobbies are, and probably always will be a little on the unusual side.  And so here I am, reclaiming hobbies that are more familiar to my grandmother than my peers and loving every second of it. So much so that I can't help but share. I hope you find something here that you like and enjoy your visit!