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.

Is there a statute of limitations on 9th grade geometry?

Last night I started making fabric templates.  Of course, I could have bought them online, but after poking around the internet thought, “Heck no, I’m not spending $20 for a glorified ruler!”  I already have the basics of quilting paraphernalia as far as rulers and mats go with angles marked and such, so I shouldn’t need to buy another just to make shapes that aren’t squares or rectangles.  I definitely refuse to buy a compass or a protractor.

I went to a Quaker school for high school, and have very distinct memories of my 9th grade geometry teacher, Kaye.  (In my experience, Quaker schools don’t go for the whole “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or “Ms.” Last Name for teachers/administrators–first names, all the way.  It was such a transition from a very proper English-modeled primary school.  I think I spent months trying to avoid addressing teachers directly.)  I really liked the math problems that had these seemingly abstract piles of shapes with only some of the angles filled in, and you had to figure out the rest of them based on all the rules about “side angle side,” the Pythagorean theorem, and so forth.

hexagonmessedupYou’d think that drawing a hexagon–on graph paper, no less–to use as a fabric-cutting template would be easy.  Well, apparently I forgot stuff.  Because I did end up with a hexagon. It just wasn’t symmetrical in all directions–which is problematic, when you want to cut a million of them and sew them together like a honeycomb.

equilateral

So I tried again this morning, this time actually using the rulers marked with angles that I have and being a bit more meticulous about hypotenuses.  Turns out, when I thought I was being clever about adding a seam allowance, I was also messing up the proportions of the shape on some sides.  This time around, I went old school:  One equilateral triangle, traced six times next to itself.  Success!  I wonder if some Mod Podge would help thicken the paper and make it easier to trace on fabric?

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

You know how irritating it is when stores decorate for Christmas 🎄 before Halloween 🎃? I complain about it ever year. Time to eat crow.  (Also, I have to make a Halloween costume for my dog.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Last year she was a mad scientist.)

I have a degree and transcript and everything to prove I went to business school, but rather than doing a ton of market research and business planning yesterday I just decided to try a variety of products on Etsy and see what happens.

And yes, I’m starting with Christmas-themed items. Specifically, some very cool (if I do say so myself) Christmas tree skirts, and some other secret goodies.

Here’s a snap of the skirt I made for my tree lasts couple years ago year–fully reversible!

 

 

Poor lighting notwithstanding, doesn’t a pretty skirt look SO much nicer than the ugly plastic bag that will dispose of the tree after the holidays? Not to mention the hideous tree stands? Yup, that’s all under there!

Now I have some fun ideas to get creative with the skirt pattern (and size, of course), and am eagerly awaiting some amazing holiday fabrics to get started.

 

Some will be available as solid, single-color tree-skirts, and others will only be available as special piecework skirts, due to limited supply of fabric. (All will be reversible!)

So please keep an eye out for the opening of my Etsy store–better yet, sign up to be emailed when the grand day arrives. There will be more goodies, and doesn’t everyone like goodies?

I promise all that stuff about privacy.

Defying basic economic principles?

I received new fabric ordered online today!  Isn’t it pretty?

61AE67D7-F1E2-446C-99B9-366486B92E4F

I’ve no plans for it yet, but saw it and couldn’t resist adding it to my stash. I’m sure it will be useful for something.  Someday.  Did I mention I really need more storage space?

I’m also fairly sure that’s not the most economically sound way to operate a business.  On the other hand, this is really more of a hobby as long as I want it to be, so I can do what I want, right?

I suppose the least I can do is startup some kind of accounting system to keep track of COGS (oooh, I DID learn something in business school!) and all that.  How else will I know if I ever turn a profit or (blech) pay taxes?

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.

Project Frankenstein, Part 1

(I know, I know, Frankenstein wasn’t the monster.)

I decided to make a semi-random/irregular patchwork throw pillow cover out of the scraps from my roses and green quilt (still in pieces and progress).

Just for fun, my rule is that I can only use the true “scraps”: the odds and ends left from cutting the squares and rectangles from the original yardage. I have a fair amount of some fabrics left, enough for a “real” project, so those are off limits. I don’t have any zippers, so I’ll be figuring out how to close the cover with buttons, without making it lumpy and uncomfortable, and without making buttonholes. (I just don’t like making those.)

With those ground rules, here’s most of what I have to work with (minus the striped fabric), some of which has been ironed already:

These ironed out pieces that I’ve started pinning will be one side. I’ll make a piece of fabric big enough to cut what I want out of it–probably on the diagonal, just to be interesting. The green “limes” fabric wasn’t quite wide enough, so I inserted a bit of what I’m calling the green and white “feathers” pattern.

In case you’re interested, the pattern of the pink fabric is called “quatrefoil,” I’m guessing due to the bastardization of the French spelling for “four leaves” (quatre feuille) but I could be wrong.

I’ll repeat the process for side two, but try to include more pink for contrast. I think that side will also have a flap or something that tucks over the pillow opening and fastens inside the cover. I guess that means buttons either on the flap or on the inside of side one. Hmmm.

To be continued…

When you don’t know what to do

My hands itch. I want to make something. But not something I’ve already started. Something NEW. Maybe not even something I’ve made before. It’s driving me bananas, because I don’t know what IT is.

It’s times like these that I want a craft laboratory. Someplace stocked with odds and ends that might be useful someday, a day like today that’s made for experimenting.

Or at least has a really big table so I can see all my projects in their entirety at the same time. Which really would be ginormous, considering one is a king-sized quilt. But as long as I’m wishing, the tabletop would also be treated so I could iron on it and use a rotary cutter without damaging it.

But I digress.

What I will not be making today: I had this idea of making gravity blankets for Etsy, but as it turns out they fail the Venn diagram test.

Apparently a gazillion people already recognized an arbitrage opportunity when the original company stupidly priced its (ugly) product at hundreds of dollars.

Hmmm. Maybe something with all the scraps from other projects… we’ll call this Project Frankenstein for now.

Not just a river in Egypt

Ah, escapism.  It doesn’t solve your problems, but it can hide you from them for a while.  Crafts do that for me.  (For that matter, so do tattoos, actual and hypothetical, but that’s a topic for another post.)  I mentioned before that I had a job interview coming up, which was this morning.  My current employer is going through some crazytown changes, so off I go into the wild blue yonder.

What I don’t believe I mentioned is my problem with anxiety.  For the most part, I manage it pretty well.  I read somewhere that anxiety is like experiencing failure in advance.  So you can imagine that job hunting and interviewing is a fairly stressful process, as it is for most people, I just dial it up a notch.  Right now, I’m not feeling so great about my interview, and I legitimately can’t tell if it’s all in my head, or if I really didn’t do that well.  The next week or so of waiting is really going to stink.

Obviously, the answer is to ignore everything and do crafts.

Of course, I already have several projects in the works.  My rug is coming along nicely:  It’s about 3 feet in diameter now, and I’ve moved on to incorporate a couple new shades of blue.  Pretty soon, I’m going to need a bigger table to continue working on it.  My roses and green quilt is about 60%-70% pieced together.   And I have the stalled baby gift quilt (really need to get a move on), and crib-sized quilt (slightly less urgent, but still…).

So clearly, I have plenty to work on.  And yet…  What I really want to do is try to make my own gravity blanket.  Have you seen them?  They are weighted blankets–usually about 10% of your body weight, and meant to help with anxiety, sensory processing disorders, and other stuff.  I’m told it’s like getting hugged by your blanket.

They’re also several hundred dollars, which just seems ridiculous.  I can get a couple of flannel sheets and weighted filler (e.g., Polyfil beads) on Amazon for $50.  I just need to figure out how to quilt the sheets into tiny tiny pockets, so that the filler doesn’t move around when the blanket is finished, and doesn’t break the needle of my sewing machine when I’m making it.  I’ve found some DIY patterns online, but they are all very basic grids, and I can’t help thinking there would be an awful lot of sloshing about of the filler “beads.”  Hmm.

I managed to restrain myself from buying stuff yesterday, based on the logic of my aforementioned projects in progress and the fact that I’ll be moving at some point in the not too distant future, but I have a feeling that restraint won’t last very long…

Pictures to come…