Friday, July 31, 2009

Valet Sewing

I am heading out to my 'class' in just a bit. I love this set up. It is at Quilter's Cottage in Fallbrook. One Friday a month they pick the pattern, you pick the fabric for your kit, they cut it all for you, you show up with your machine and tools, dinner is served, you sew, they iron, and Voila! - most times you come home with at least the center of your top pieced. It is called Valet sewing and I just love it! A little mini-retreat.

Here is a quilt I made in one of the 'classes' a few months ago. It was for my brother and his wife who both celebrated 'big' birthdays within a month of each other.

I think the pattern is called Easier by the Dozen. And I didn't quilt it, I leave that to the professionals! I tried quilting once for one of my first creations. And wow, was that harder than I expected. Especially on my little Brother machine. But with all of the quilts I have been making lately I may need to take another stab at it, just to be able to afford to make more quilts!

So I am off to enjoy an evening dedicated only to sewing, oh, and visiting and eating and chatting. But mostly sewing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oh, that isn't what I was expecting.....

I need to learn how to get into the habit of posting regularly. Just add that to the list of things to do....along with figuring out how to rescue my Old Red Barn quilt. I just loved seeing it all come together for so many people. And I really wanted to be a part of that. But when I went to get my fabrics I got sidetracked by a grouping of paisley fabrics, in three colorways.

I have to admit I am not great at picking fabrics - it kind of intimidates me. So I basically announced to the room I was in at the LQS (converted house so fun rooms filled with fabrics) that I needed help. And help came to my rescue. Wow, did it ever. I think 4 or 5 women gave various suggestions, timidly at first and then when I encouraged them it truly became a group effort. We had bolts piled all around, switching back and forth to find the perfect combinations. And in the end I came away with the 12 that I needed. And I really liked how it all looked - as folded fabric sitting next to each other. But it was definitely not the bright and fun fabrics that many others were using. And that, in hindsight, is what probably 'made' the quilt for me.

I learned a few things. As I seem to do with each quilt that I make. Especially the ones that somehow did not turn out like I thought they would. Plaids are not good for me, or some stripes for that matter. Turns out I am not the best fabric cutter. And it becomes very obvious in that kind of fabric. And in this particular pattern, it becomes very obvious that I am a bit 'casual' when it comes to a 1/4" seam allowance. Wow - I had some blocks that were 11 1/2" and others that were the 12 1/2" they were supposed to be. I am now an expert at easing to make sure things line up. In the end it all turned out. I have the center finished. I think it needs a little 1" border and then the extra strips will be the outer border.

Now to just get into the habit of taking pictures and downloading them on a regular basis. I'll get to that as well. And then you can see my results. So my Old Red Barn quilt is not bad, but definitely not what I was expecting. More on that to come.

EDIT: I finally got a picture of the top, what is now just the center. And here it is. I have since made a few additions and am liking it better. But now I have to get a photo of that as well. Don't hold your breath.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One for you, and one for me

Over the past weekend I made a gift for a friend having surgery. It actually came together pretty easily, and it was by no means a hard project, just a rag quilt. But since I have a one year old daughter things need to be broken down into smaller chunks, each with their own time frame and negotiations. I guess that is how it is for everyone. It just feels so much more challenging now.

1. Get fabric - which requires juggling a nap schedule with Dad and then worrying about how much time I spend in the store to get home in time. This also entails seeing everything that is on sale for the holiday weekend, endlessly debating exactly how much fabric I can buy and how many projects I am willing to have sitting and waiting for me. And then the inevitable 'guilt' at possibly buying too much at one time. Knowing I won't get to these new projects any time soon because they go to the end of the line on things I want to do. Turns out this time it was all flannel so the projects won't take too much time once I get into them. Its just a matter of prioritizing within the big 'to-do' list.

2. Cutting the fabric. I find this to be my least favorite part. But this time it was easy - what size squares will make the easiest cutting and mximize the fabric - why 10" squares will do that just fine. There is a LQS somewhat near my house (okay, an hour a way, but worth it) that once a month has a valet sewing night. They pick the pattern and you basically buy the kit plus a small fee. The nice thing about the 'kit' is that you get to pick your own fabrics. The store then cuts it all for you. You show up on Friday night with your gear, they feed you dinner, you start sewing right away since it is all cut for you, and THEY IRON AS YOU SEW! How fantastic is that? I don't know if I would necessarily choose those patterns on my own, but the night is so fantastic I keep coming back. It is a wonderful little mini-retreat for me and I am learning so much by working with new patterns.

3. Sewing. I love rag quilts because they do come together so easily. Seems silly that this one is all the same fabric, so basically I just cut up one big piece into smaller pieces and then put them back together in one big piece again. But it was exactly the soothing pattern I was looking for. And hopefully will comfort my friend in her recovery. When I brought it over I realized it will work nicely in her understated family room. See, rag quilts aren't only for babies!
(I loved the fabric so much I made one for myself at the same time! I love it.)