Wednesday 2 September 2015

WIP: Cheer You Up Cushion

Last week I decided on a bit of a whim that Paul would like a big cheery cushion to have in Raleigh when I'm not there. It would make the place cosier and might give him a smile when he sees it. I don't know.

Initial fabric pull.

However, I'm not the titan of sewing you'll find on other blogs. I just about finished the front of the cushion before I left. So this is relegated to work in progress status. However, I tried out a new block, used non-white, low-volume (I guess?), backgrounds, and cut into some Alexander Henry Calaveras Alegres fabric for the first time!

First ever wonky star!

I wasn't sure the low volume backgrounds to the wonky stars (I used The Silly BooDilly's tutorial) was going to work. The skulls are so vibrant, that I started and then thought, oh god they need really punchy, contrasting stars, I should have just done pure white and black backgrounds, and solid, clean colours for the stars. But then, I had no white fabric.

Using the back side of fabric for better contrast.

As I made more of the stars, I started to realise that, to my eyes (and possibly addled brain), they were bringing a comic book element. Do you know when the character's clothes are coloured in on the cover with a lot of little dots for texture, and the like? And after that, I started being reminded of the paint with water books from when I was a kid.

Still amazes me how much blocks shrink with seam allowance loss.

Paul really liked the stars all the way through, which I think is all that kept me from freaking out and starting over right at the beginning. But I really like them now too, so all's well that end's well? Plus, I've learned to give my brain some time to adjust to things. And there isn't just one right answer. I don't know, I'm jetlagged, if any of this is going in and staying in I'll be amazed.

One cushion front - sewn together mere hours before my plane! Success!
(no one was looking for a finished cushion, right?)

Before I left I pulled all the other pieces I needed to make the back and insides of this cushion. I'm going for a really big one, I love sitting up in bed with a big cushion behind me. So this is for a 24" form. Now all I have to do is get back to Raleigh and finish it! Who knows, maybe I'll talk Paul through the end of the process over skype...??? Shall we take bets?

Friday 28 August 2015

Year Apart Quilt - Creating a Mini Stash

As many of you know we moved from Texas to North Carolina this summer. Paul got a much better job, with a much longer contract and the prospect of permanence in several years. We have been really wanting to be somewhat more settled for a while now so this is fantastic on all levels, plus Houston has really awful weather and a lot of concrete. Though I really like the rest of Texas.

x and + quilt laid out in full.

However, as you may have gleaned from allusions to bs, from my absence here and elsewhere, and the title of this post, this hasn't and won't be the straight road we expected. My visa is going to take longer to apply for and get than Paul's (thankfully, he's already working - woo!). A lot longer. We can ask to speed it up, but likely be rejected. What all this means is that I'm going back to Ireland on Sunday, where I'll stay for at least the next 7 months, more likely the next 11 months.

Things could be worse. Paul has a flexible-ish job now and will be able to work from Ireland for a little bit early next year, hopefully. I can look for a job and work while I'm back home - yay! Also, scary, because it's been a while. Mostly I'm looking for things I can distract myself with for when I'm lonely or ragey (because parents, again, at 33). So I've made probably a way too ambitious list, for my suitcase, let alone my time, of projects to bring home and make.

USA Embroidery Map

In July I was following Adrianne from On The Windy Side's instagram feed and her #year30quilt, and I thought, well why don't I make a block a day for the time we're apart. So I started a little notebook of daily block ideas over the last month to see if I could even come up with some inspiration each day and it's been fun! I thought I'd forget completely before the first week was out, and I do forget every week or two for like a day, but then I pick right back up. So I think I'm going to go for it, a #yearapartquilt.

I'm going to cheat on the concept slightly, and use the notebook, so my blocks will be from inspiration that happened a month previous, but it will mean I can plan what I need for a whole week on a Sunday night. Hopefully, if I actually am that kind of organized, and don't just think it at the beginning. Let's find out!

How have I never used this print?

In deciding this I realized I don't own any fabric in Ireland anymore. Buy more, you say! Just moved state, I say! So I decided to cut a 6" strip off every piece of fabric I own (ok, I skipped a few of the more ugly ones). I still filled two of those plastic shoe boxes. I didn't even cut all the solids, I figured I'd defo buy them locally. This is just a starter pack? Have I gone too far?  Sometimes it's hard to tell where too far is.

I also have a pile of large print/multicolor fabric equal to the one on the left,
and a pile of solids equal to the one on the right not pictured.

I've also started a very pinterest-cliche USA embroidery project. By started I mean, gathered all the materials, transferred the map outline, and packed it back up again. I plan to color in the states that I've been to, as I visit them. So far I'm good for 13 states and D.C.

Trimmings not looking that much smaller...

I've reached the point where I'm beginning to worry about suitcase limits, even though I'll be buying a 2nd one (have to bring home the winter coats, because I will freeze - I'm coming from Houston, people!). Even so, I'm still pondering whether I should bring my x and + blocks and finish that off, along with a quilt for my parents, and an AMH footwarmer for us. (not going to mention the quilt I already have in Ireland, or the smaller clothing projects I also plan, nope, they don't count)

Bit more like it, that's yellows and oranges.

I think the packing will provide a natural culling point. And Paul gets a 2nd bag for free, so he can always bring me more stuff at Christmas, right!??? I think that's how marriage is supposed to work, fill your suitcase with fabric for me, that's defo a vow...

All the neutral and warm fabrics in one shoe box.

This is approaching rambling territory, it's getting late, and I'm getting hungry. So it's time I let you go. I guess I just wanted to update you on why after one move, I'm making another one so soon. Why it's only me this time, and why not to be surprised when another one hopefully happens next Spring/Summer. Wish me luck, even if only with the packing!!

A :)

Friday 21 August 2015

The New Addition Quilt

It's been a long summer, filled with mostly non-sewing bs. But there has been one quilt that has gone from beginning to end and found its home with a little girl I haven't gotten to cuddle yet but will find in just a few more weeks.

Sometimes the wind wins.

As the newest addition to a family, I thought it fitting I use plus blocks for this quilt. The colours are inspired by a photo of a mountain at sunset I have pinned, on a background of cream. I had a lot of fun looking for just the right fabrics, and then fussy cutting little details here and there - kids in trees, butterflies, baby toys.

We found a still spot ahead of the rain.

A navy binding with a thin zigzag gives lots of directional changes and a nice firm frame. But the backing was so perfect - Ann Kelle's superkids;girls in pink! I just LOVE this fabric. I bought extra.

The Supergirls are Flying!

I free motion quilted this one. The very first time I've done anything larger than a 10" square. I just chose a loopy variation on a straight line, some baby pink thread, and went for it. It went surprisingly quickly and well. I tend to lose concentration as I get further down the line and speed up as I go around the loops and so my stitch length can get a little funny in those areas. But I definitely improved as I went on. And I enjoyed it, in an 'enter the zen' kind of way. If I was trying to do a lot of different designs I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy that right now, but my skills aren't there yet so no need to fret about that for a while!

Girl in a Tree and loopy FMQ-ness.

I finished sewing down the binding when we arrived in Ireland at the start of July and tried to find a good day to take some photos. However, the nice days were incredibly windy and the non-windy days were wet and overcast (and freezing). But it was fun trying to find the still spots, or the calm between the gusts, and eventually for close ups I reverted to the clothesline in the back garden.

Just realised this picture is taken on the seam line of the back, but here
are the supergirls!!

At the moment I find myself overwhelmingly just wanting to make things. But by the time I've figured out what and how and gotten the sewing machine out I don't want to anymore. It's like I'm overthinking the quilts right out of me. One part of me wants spontaneous creation to feel better and another part of me feels I can't start until I know exactly where I'm going, and the two parts don't seem to be able to co-exist. One saps the joy from the other. Does anyone else ever feel that way? Or have I finally started to unhinge?

Lovely post-wash texture.

Overall though, I made something this year and it has a snuggly home! There's definitely some joy right there.