I’m going to try this again

As I posted earlier, I had a long entry ready to go, but it, for whatever reason, failed to update properly.

Despite the lack of activity on here, I have been very busy with my sewing machine. I just haven’t made much progress on anything to make it worth taking pictures. I’ve primarily been focused on my etsy shop. June has been much busier than I thought it might be. I’ve only been in business a year, and so since I was just getting started last year, that June was much slower. I’m thankful I’ve had so much business, but it has made it harder to get to my fun projects.

I finished quilting the bargello quilt sometime last week. I just need to finish the binding and get it photographed. I will discuss that quilt in more detail in it’s own entry.

The cathedral window pillow is also still not finished, although it’s nearly there. I missed the birthday it was intended for, but I won’t be seeing him for a while, so I suppose that’s okay.

I just bought a batik dyeing kit, so in the next few weeks my SIL and I are going to try our hands at that.

And obviously, my UFO was an absolute failure. I did remove two projects altogether, but I didn’t make any real progress on the two remaining. Perhaps I’ll give it another try in the fall.

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It’s been a busy week and a half

Yay! I’ve got pictures this time! AND I’ve actually finished a few things. No major projects, but a few little ones.

I finally got my blocks for the livejournal block of the month group I’m in. I picked out the fabrics two weeks ago, and got them cut a few days later, but I’ve only just lately been able to sew them. I’m very pleased with the way these turned out. After all the distortion I caused with super aggressive pressing on the bargello quilt, I am learning to press more carefully (and pay more attention to the direction I press). I have also started setting the seams before I press. I don’t know if it’s making a difference, but I’ll keep doing it. I also took the time to measure my seams this time, and discovered one of my machines doesn’t stitch at exactly 1/4″, so I marked it on the machine and sewed these with the proper seam.

The one major issue with these blocks is that I made a super dumb mistake and CUT THE PIECES TOO BIG, so now these two blocks are a full 1/2″ larger on all sides than they are supposed to be. Since the first blocks are the proper size, and these are so much larger, I don’t know what to do. I guess I’ll wait until this series is done and go from there. I don’t just want to cut off all the extra, since my points are nicer, but maybe by the time I’m finished I won’t care as much because my points will be AWESOME.

(I forgot to mention, this is where I got the block)

Moving on, the next thing I finished, which I actually completed the construction weeks ago, is one of the flannel stash busting quilts I’ve come to loathe.

There are several reasons I didn’t like this quilt. First, I’m not a fan of pink and girly, but I have so much fabric, and I know there are plenty of little girls who LOVE this, so I went with it. Second, I did a terrible job of paying attention to my seams. This was originally supposed to be a rag quilt with 1/2″ seam allowances, but I only realized that partway in, and since I wasn’t doing a rag quilt, I had eyeballed the 1/4″ seams (this was before I measured and marked my machine), so then, instead of staying consistent, I did just stopped paying attention to seams altogether, so nothing matches up at all. Everything got all stretched and distorted as I sewed this, so that didn’t help either. The center square is puckered, and the seams don’t match in it’s corners, so borrowing from a book I recently read (called Quilty as Charged), I opted for goofy applique to cover some of the more glaring mistakes. I had also just recently, upon the advice of another, more experienced quilter, started following the free motion quilt blog by Leah Day, so I am using this quilt to practice a few really novice techniques. I guess one of the good things about having a quilt like this – one you make so many mistakes, one you don’t like very much – is that you learn a whole lot, and since you don’t have a lot of attachment, you can try new things without a lot of worry about how it looks. I haven’t finished the quilting with it all, but I plan to soon.

I’ve made zero progress on my other UFOs. This month is a total and complete failure on that front, and I’m a little ashamed of that. My etsy shop has been a lot busier than I anticipated, and I am so full of new and fresh quilting ideas that I worry if I don’t spend a little time on them, I’ll lose them (I’m reminded of a stack of fabric for a queen sized quilt that I haven’t cut yet, and a shipment of a beautiful line of Christmas fabrics that I fell in love with and decided I needed – still working on a design for that one). But I do have the projects out, and I will finish them at some point. Maybe the fall would be a better time for catching up on projects.

I didn’t do anything this week.

I’ve been so terrible at updating this week. There won’t be any pictures in this post either, because I’ve not really done enough to warrant taking a picture to show.

My etsy shop has been very busy, and so I have spent most of my sewing time trying to keep on top of my orders. I have a lot more custom orders this month because there are a lot of weddings, and so that tends to take up a lot more time. I’ve also orded lots of new fabrics for the fall and winter, and getting those ready to be photographed and then listed will take up a great deal more time. I’ve realized I have to start work on new fabrics about six month in advance of when I want to get them out because it takes me FOREVER. I was able to get out a few 4th of July fabrics for next month just a few weeks ago, and there are still some I haven’t finished (and so they probably won’t be ready in time… I’ll just have to list them next year).

I did go to a quilt guild meeting last Tuesday, and met a lot of wonderful ladies and saw a lot of lovely quilts. I think I may join it to expose myself to other quilters.

As far as my UFO June is going – it’s going pretty poorly. I did go through my projects, and I was able to discern whether or not some of them were even worth it. I looked through my Christmas stocking that I had begun, and the quality was not something I liked very much. I started those when  I was still so new at sewing, and didn’t understand things like interfacing, or that I could choose different ones other than what the pattern called for. What the pattern called for was so hard for me to work with, and made everything so stiff. My stitches were awful, too. So I salvaged the big pieces of fabric and threw the rest away. Maybe some other time. Or maybe I’ll just buy nice stockings.

I also went through my apron pattern. I had only cut out the pattern pieces for that, and not any of the fabric. I decided that since I didn’t even have a kitchen at the moment, and I don’t wear aprons when I cook anyway, that there was no point in making something that no one was going to use and would probably look bad anyway, so I put the pattern pieces away and incorporated the fabric into my stash. I may try some simple cotton skirts in the future.

I don’t know how much I’ll get done in this coming week, either. I have to take my son to the doctor and get myself in for some issues and a physical, and finish more etsy orders.

UFO June

I meant to get to this a few hours ago, but my son fell asleep in this office chair watching episodes of Pingu, a silly Swedish claymation cartoon that he just loooooves.

Last entry I mentioned I’d like to try something I’m going to call UFO June, UFO meaning UnFinished Objects. I’m pretty sure all crafters have at least a few of them, and depending on your craft personality, some remain UFO’s forever, some for 30 years, and some for just a few years. For me, after sitting for a few years, I think the materials need to be either made into whatever they were intended for, or dissolved into other projects. I hate having too many UFO’s around. My time threshold is usually between 3-5 years, but ideally not more than 2 or 3.

So, in preparation for this month, earlier today I dug around in my craft tote where all of my non-quilting stuff is stashed, and looked for unfinished projects. This is what I found –

I had forgotten that when I packed this over a year ago, I was actually planning on this day! Well, not UFO June, but the day I’d pull out stuff to finish because I’d either need the space, or would just get so tired of toting it around.  In this box I found the four sewing projects I can remember starting and not finishing (I’m not including the several crocheting projects that are in various states of completion because I haven’t been in the mood to crochet in over a year).

These are what I hope to finish, or make significant progress on, in the next month –

Ugh, the first one I pull out is also the most dreaded Hanukkah Table Runner. This has been in this sorry state for going on five years (my husband and I weren’t even engaged, and our fourth anniversary is next week). I found this table runner in a magazine after I pieced my first lap quilt, a simple rain fence pattern. I knew ( and still know) nothing about foundation piecing, but I thought it was pretty and my mom saw it and requested it, as she’s always wanted stuff to decorate for this holiday. Most of the fabric is already cut, and I have all the supplies. I don’t think this one be the one I start with, but I promise I WILL start on it.

These are Christmas stockings I started last summer, but set aside when my etsy shop took off. Another request from my mother – our family Christmas stockings were falling apart after 25 years of use, and we had additional family members to take into account, so we needed more anyway. They look a little shabby now, since they’ve been shoved in a bag for a year, but I think a little ironing will do some good. I will share one breakthrough memory I had with these – electric scissors! My wrists hurt SO MUCH after cutting out the pattern pieces, so my dad gave me his Black and Decker Electric Shears. They were amazing – I could cut through 8 layers of fabric around wacky angles and save my poor wrists.

My third project is this apron.

I originally intended this apron to go to my cousin, but then I took too long on it and she went and bought a handmade apron that’s probably about 1000x better than this one is going to be. Maybe I’ll use it. Or maybe I’ll give it to my mom. I’ll see I guess. The fabric is covered in cat hair, and so I’ll need to launder it all before I start. This or the stockings will probably be the first thing I work on.

And last –

This bundle of wadded fabric are the beginnings of some quilted placemats. I’ve made a few of these four piece sets, and they are really simple strip piecing with quick in the ditch quilting. I have no idea who these may go to. I may keep them for myself and my future kitchen table, as I have no placemats.

As for my ongoing projects, I’ve got the borders on the bargello, and I’m about to start hand stitching the tiles on the Cathedral Window pillow.

With all that, plus the revamp of my etsy shop and staying on top of that, it looks like I’ve got a lot on my plate this month!