Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I've got a new toy!

Last we talked, I was lamenting my poor dead sewing machine. While I was at the shop, I was introduced to the Pfaff Ambitions line. Mr. Sewing Machine told me all about the nice features Pfaff machines have for quilters- an integrated walking foot that can be pulled up and down from the machine, a quarter inch piecing foot, a sweet computer, lots of features and stitches, etc etc.

I decided on Monday to put on my big girl pants and go buy the machine! It's my first big purchase EVER and I am financing it, which is scary and exciting. But it's mine! I went with the Pfaff Essentials 1.0, the middle model in the line. I've only gotten to use it once, because of school, but I'm liking it so far!

It's not really that pink in real life, more a dusty rose color.

I've decided though that I wish someone would make a sewing machine with JUST an integrated walking foot, the four most basic stitches I use all the time, a speed control slider and button, and an automatic threader. Those are the only features I want. Well, those and the ability to back stitch. But just think, if they made a moderately priced machine only with the features I use. I don't really need an arsenal of 200 stitches and the ability to embroider my name.

PFAFF PFAFF PFAFF PFAFF. Dat German Engineering.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kitty has the Sads

I am sitting here, heartbroken and nostalgic.

I should be excited- I'm all moved into my new apartment for school, I'm checking out my new classes, Alexandria is awesome, etc. But, as you may remember, I've been having trouble with my sewing machine. I ran it hard for Christmas, and it looks like I may have killed it. Legitimately killed it.

I oiled it up and cleaned it out a few weeks ago, and it looked like it was working fine. But I tried to sit down and work on the wedding quilt, and it was struggle bussing. The needle mechanism had shifted, so the needle was hitting the metal part of the machine, and not going into the hole where it's supposed to.

I took it to get looked at today, and Mr. Sewing Machine Repair said it would cost about $125 for them to take a look at it and fix any problems- he also said I may have broken something inside, which would explain the needle thing. But I bought it for $140, so I don't really see the point of fixing it... I don't know if that's a normal price for repairs either, so who really knows.

Now I'm machine-less, and I'm looking to upgrade. I'm looking at Pfaff right now, if anyone has any opinions on the matter. But I'm sad! I had my brother for hardly more than a year. I bought it last January. I've made 8 complete quilts with it, plus quilt tops and other things. I'm so sad at the thought of throwing my machine away. But I don't know what to do!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Preparing to Move

Once again, I'm getting ready to move, this time from Nashville to Alexandria, VA. I spent this weekend finishing up my Sister's Ten BOM quilt top, and then packing up my sewing equipment.

It took me an abnormally long time to put together this quilt top, partly because the blocks are not all the same size, and partly because I kept messing up. I sewed so many pieces incorrectly to each other that I probably spent a third of my time just picking out what I goofed on. sigh

But hey, it's done now and it looks nice!

My sewing room, on the other hand...

My fabric stash fits into one bin. Is that sad?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I'm having a hard time finding good time to sew. My weekdays are busy: wake up, go to work, do work, come home, eat dinner, [block of time], talk with long distance boyfriend, sleep. It doesn't leave much time for the two friends I have here in Nashville, and my weekends are usually eaten up by the sewing goals I didn't achieve during the week. Have a wedding quilt to work on? Ehh, just churn it all out on Saturday! And Sunday! And cry a little on Monday because you realized you sewed half of it on upside down!

I'm making more mistakes in my sewing, now that I have to sew at night. Once I'm home from work and have eaten dinner, all I really want to do is some yoga and then watch TV. But I'm pushing myself to finish up some projects, so I sit at my mom's machine and churn away.

But my mom's machine is not my machine. And that has become painfully obvious with my Sisters' Ten BOM quilt. Since it was completed over the course of a year (plus however long it takes me to finish...), I've had to use two machines on it. Seam allowances aren't consistent, tension settings are different, blocks from January have settled and faded a bit while the November block is crisp and unforgiving. And like I said in my last post, the squares are not all the proper 12.5" they should be- some are more, some are less.

I sewed half the quilt together this weekend, making sure to figure out what the quarter inch allowance on my mom's machine is. Her presser foot is larger than a quarter inch, so I had to line up the fabric with the middle of the foot. Very unscientific. Well, tonight, I went to whip together the other half, and completely did not think about keeping a true quarter inch. So I just sewed to the edge of the presser foot. And now my 1" sashing is like 3/4" on the lower half of the quilt. Go me.

One is wider than the other....

On one hand, I really want this to be a nice quilt where points match up and everything goes together and it WORKS. On the other hand, I'm really tired and things don't line up anyway so why bother.

It's times like this where I want to throw all my fabric into the air and fly away. Have you run into a project that just wears you down? When do you find time to sew? Obviously, the nighttime shift isn't working for me.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Start 'Em Up Saturday

I am the opposite of Finish it up Friday right now. Today, I have started MANY things, and I am very excited about it all.

1. I have laid out my Sisters' Ten BOM all over the floor and have started piecing the top together! Sadly, during my sewing adventures, I realized that not all of my blocks are the right size. The sashing between each square is 12.5" long. Some of my blocks are longer, some are shorter, some are SIGNIFICANTLY longer (as in more than a quarter inch, so really hard to fudge it into place).

Love those wrinkles- NOT

2. I laid out the wedding quilt on the floor and felt much better about everything. I think it looks really awesome- busy and loud, but awesome. It lost the "maritime/nautical" feeling it had when it was just half square triangles, which I am STOKED about. Now I don't have to name it some cheesy one liner about marriage being a ship on the ocean, blah blah blah. It's a small quilt, which I'm sad about, but hey, I'm doing the best that I can.

A banana for scale

And I made this little heart with the leftover HSTs- I'm going to put the label in the center and put this on the back :)

3. I pulled fabric AND made my first block for the Fierce Quilters Bee! My palette is low volumes and earth colors- right now, I have green and red to contribute to the stash I'll be mailing out. I'm really excited to see how it comes back to me. I have few rules for this Bee, I really want everyone to contribute whatever they like to the mix.

Stashy stash

So, I posted some photos from my trip to Europe to our group page as inspiration for my quilt. And I created this block straight from one of those photos. And when I say created, i mean it. I had no idea what I was doing, I just pulled fabric, made some slashes, and faked it til I made it. WOO.

This is a window at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland. I wanted to see if I could re-create that patten in fabric, within my color scheme. I think I did an ok job of it, to be honest!


And to top it all off, I cut the pieces for a new pair of pajama shorts! I AM SO AWESOME.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Projects Projects Projects

2014 looks like I'm going to be up to my ears in quilts- how fantastic!

I'm working on a half square triangle quilt for two friends who got married on the 27th. I found inspiration from Adrianne's Pistols at Dawn Quilt,  I'm so excited to be making a quilt for them, buy once I ordered my fabric, I started to worry. 

See, I ordered some Bella Solids charm packs, to make my half square triangle making easier (less cutting!). I ordered four packs- silver, red, dark blue, and orange. Except I realized once they arrived that the orange pack was in fact not orange, but a multi-colored pack with an orange square on top.

Way to go me.

So I'm scrambling to make it work. Silver, red, and blue look a LOT like a 4th of July quilt, which is super mega awkward for a wedding present. So, I added some of my Architextures fabric that I got last christmas to break it up, plus a blue scalloped print, PLUS some orange fabric I had lying around. I'm still in the process of pressing and trimming, so we'll see how it all lays out in the next few days. Here's hoping for gravy, and not a mess.
So. Many. Triangles.

Back before Christmas, I ordered some fabric for a quilt I've been DYING to work on. I found Kate Conklin's Sierra's Forest pattern last year, and knew I'd make it one day. And this summer, I found and fell in love with Sarah Watson's Indian Summer line, and I knew it would be perfect for this pattern. So, thanks to a fortuitous pay period, I was able to finally buy the fabric I wanted! I'M SO EXCITED TO GET STARTED.
Indian Summer Fabrics- SO STOKED.

Plus, I've laid aside some fabric for the traveling quilt project I am in, the Fierce Quilters' Bee! I need to get my butt in gear here in January!

Bee fabrics!