Ack. Priorities.

The list of creative projects I want to do, that are either in progress or not yet started:

  • Rose garden duvet cover (finish)
  • Experimenting with watercolor
  • More doodling with colored pencils and pens
  • RBG cross stitch (finish)
  • Shades of blue and white braided rug (finish)
  • Braided-braided flannel möbius scarf (experiment)
  • Duvet covers for other 3 seasons (summer, fall, winter)
  • Baby quilt gift (way overdue to finish)
  • Decoupage/collage-based images of flowers or other scenes (experiment)
  • Paper or fabric flowers to hang on mobiles (experiment)

Yes, these could take quite some time… especially considering I can’t decide where to start.

Anyway, take this as a list of things you may see popping up here and there as I get going…

“Meh,” the mother of flexibility

Last year I became obsessed with quilting. Not that I knew how, but that didn’t stop me. I should also explain that to me, “quilting” meant the fun part of what is apparently called “piecing” together different fabrics in pretty colors and patterns. The quilting is the boring, annoying, hard part of stitching the “sandwich” of fabric layers together: quilt back, batting (warm stuff), quilt front. I’m told it’s much easier (and faster) if you have a long arm sewing machine, which are a) expensive and b) huge. Plus, any way you do it, you have to have a flat surface large enough to lay out the quilt, tape it down, and pin the layers straight with no bunching.

Do you know anyone with a table the size of a king size bed? Or a hard/uncarpeted floor clean enough to tape delicate fabric to, with no foot traffic?

Meh. So I decided to make a duvet cover instead. So much easier, and more practical for me. With that decision, I magically moved from about 50% to 80% completed on one project. I’m very excited. Perhaps I will even attempt pillow shams.

This is a very springtime duvet cover since it’s all pink, green and roses. Obviously, that means I need three more, one per season, to alternate with my plain white one.

Perhaps “winter” will have a flannel side to be especially cozy. I’m all about the cozy these days. More later on my personal take on the hygge craze.

Remember that baby?

I decided to take off a bunch of hats and actually return to that new baby quilt I mentioned a while ago that was under a pile of fabric.  It’s been about 90% finished for several months.  All that’s left is sewing about half of the border binding, a final wash, gift wrapping and popping it in the mail.  Hmm.  Could even take care of it this weekend and get to the mom-to-be-again before the baby arrives.

The new baby’s big sister LOVES giraffes, or at least went through a giraffe phase, so the blanket has some on one side, and elephants on the other (mixed in with assorted shapes and patterns).  I’m told that big sis is campaigning for baby’s middle name to be “toast” or “door” or “window.” Any of the three would be acceptable. A couple of 6 and 7 year olds I know are advocating “flower power water shower,” “shimmy fizzle pop fizz” and “cocoa pop.”

I started a quilt for big sister, too, thinking it wasn’t fair for the new baby to get all the gifts and attention, but, well, that’s just not going to happen anytime soon… I’m going to hell on my path of good intentions.

I have to admit, a tiny bit (say, 5%?) of my motivation for finishing it is my dire need for storage space and the mental relief of getting items OUT OF MY APARTMENT.  The other 95% is entirely love.

Now my challenge is another friend who just announced her first pregnancy.  Problem:  she’s a better crafter than me.  And she has a long-arm quilting machine.  And more storage space.  What’s a long-distance Fake Auntie to do?  (FYI, we’re calling the baby Office Supply, as the first description of his/her size was “a post-it note with arms and legs.”)

Project Frankenstein, interrupted

Did I mention my honorific of Fake Auntie?  It comes with all the privileges of spoiling kids, dosing them with sugar, and returning them to their parents.  Also, I don’t change diapers.

I do make excellent baby gifts.  They’re just a little…late… sometimes.  My friend is having baby #2 any day now, so I need to step on it to finish her baby blanket.  It’s 90% done.  The challenge is that what’s left is boring: just sewing on the edge binding.  This blanket has been 90% finished for about 5 months.

So Frankenstein will have to wait a bit until this is done, gift wrapped, and in the hands of USPS.

…On the other hand, Baby #2 will hardly know the difference of a few days, and I am/was on a roll.

Two-thirds of side two of the Frankenstein pillow, still in pieces

I’ve got both sides assembled now, and am dithering over The Great Button Conundrum of 2018. One option would be to make it fasten like a duvet cover. I just really don’t like making buttonholes. Another would involve fabric ties instead of buttons, but I worry that’d look weird/kitschy and be annoying. Hmm.

Maybe now would be a good time to finish that baby present.

Experiments are for learning

I’ve been piecing a pink and green quilt recently—which will henceforth be known as “the iPad ate the original pattern, but isn’t this pretty” quilt—and had an idea for the scraps.  (Did I mention I’m also working on a braided rug? I like to multitask.  Or rather, I like to start lots of things…)

Anyway.  I was at a local fabric shop, Gotham Quilts, and saw QUILTED rugs, which were basically like the traditional round braided rugs, except, well, quilted and not braided.  Also machine-sewn vs. by hand, as I’ve been doing it, partly on principle and partly because I’m not sure how.  But I liked how thin and streamlined these rugs were.  Not for rugs—I like a more cushy feel under my feet—but as placemats or trivets.

So I thought I could use the scraps from my pretty quilt to try it out, but make a “flatter”and looser braid to aid machine zigzag sewing, and a four-strand braid to make it faster (also I like the look).

It took about 20 minutes to realize it wasn’t working out.  Too much fraying, the braid was too thick and uneven, I could go on.   I was so disappointed, so convinced it was going to work.  I won’t make you suffer through attempts #2 through #4, just know each time I believed I’d fixed what went wrong before.   And I did.  Just not all of it.  I’ll get there.  Some day.

Originally, I was going to title this post, “Some experiments fail.”  Then I remembered that by definition that’s impossible.   Experiments are for learning. Sure, you might have a hypothesis you want to prove or confirm, but at the end of the day, I’ll count it as a win or time well spent if I figure something out, improved a skill, or discovered something to avoid in future 🤪.


This post’s soundtrack:

Stuff You Missed In History Class: “The Gallipoli Campaign” (tragic) and “The Green Children of Woolpit” (weird)

NPR news: Serena lost.  Other crazy things happened.

When you live in a tiny New York apartment

fabricWould you believe there’s a dining chair and part of a table beneath all of that fabric?  These piles represent four quilts in progress–crib, child/twin, and two king-sized.  You can’t actually see the crib quilt, but trust me, it’s under there.  It’s also in its final mile of binding, which is about when I typically lose interest.

Not shown in this photo is another pile of fabric that is part of my foray into braided rugs.  One rug is currently about 2 feet in diameter, with about 4 feet of braided “tail,” and I’ve already started conceptualizing a new braid-based project.  I really need more space.

stuffyoumissedSide note: I highly recommend the podcast, “Stuff You Missed In History Class.”  It’s hilarious and educational and an all around good time.  I binge-listen while I sew, as unlike knitting, I can’t watch television at the same time.  They’ve even done an episode about the “Early History of Knitting.”