Thursday, September 22, 2011

Work in Progress: Studio

Every fall I get that "going back to school" feeling. Since I'm not in school and can't get it out of my system by color coordinating my folders, notebooks and book covers...I clean the house. Well, only the fun rooms. Like my studio!

my studio (2011)

This is where I keep my stash. I just ordered some solids and a few prints that were on sale and they're supposed to arrive today. I have no idea where I'll put them. This is why I'm trying to shop only from my stash.

I keep my scraps in bins sorted by color. My painting table is tucked behind this shelf...it may or may not have lots of unfinished quilts piled on it.

Where I keep all my fabric scraps

Did you catch a glimpse of my two "helpers" in the first picture? Here is Vector. There's a chair by my sewing machine and he likes to sleep in it while I sew. He and I are the only ones in the house who like to curl up in quilts.

vector

This is Bitty Cat. Ian calls her Extra because she's the extra cat. She also goes by New Cat and Little B. I'm not really into naming animals. I tried, I really did...but as Mr. Bluefin, Mr. Redfin and Mr. Bluefin II (my childhood beta fish) can tell you...I'm just never going to be good at coming up with creative names. Little B is so tiny compared to our two boy cats...so, there you go...

bitty cat

She steals my seam ripper all the time. And she's always blurry because she does not stop moving!

There's one side of the room left to show you but there are a few spots that need to be organized first. Not that this is a very special part of the room (I prefer the side with the fabric!) but you know...it's where the sewing machine lives so you might want to see that too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Work in Progress

I'm working on a new Nicey Jane quilt. It's a little bitty one this time.

nicey jane quilt top

I'm going to be sad when I run out of this fabric. Of course, actually using it in quilts has made me really happy. I've been going through my stash, reacquainting myself with the fabrics at the bottom of the stacks. I even found one fabric that's on my "to buy" list. Embarrassing! And convenient.

I've been shopping mainly from my stash and I'm excited to see how many quilts I can make without buying anything new. Of course, I've recently become obsessed with crosshatch and text prints so I'll probably pick some up soon. But that's it! Well, except for solids because I run out so quickly...and I prefer them for bindings. Can't finish a quilt without a binding! Well, you can but...I'm getting off track here...

nicey jane quilt top

I've decided that since I never seem to finish anything, I'm going to start showing "in progress" pictures. I don't normally like to show people what I'm working on...I've been this way my whole life. I remember the supreme mortification of people looking at my unfinished drawings and school projects. I only wanted people to see a perfect, finished project.

nicey jane quilt top

But you guys won't judge, right? I'd like to be more open with you, to let you into my studio more often. And besides, I don't finish enough quilts to keep this blog going properly...so hopefully you'll enjoy spying on my unfinished (and maybe never-to-be-finished) projects.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cathedral Windows Redux

So, remember when I was obsessed with cathedral window quilts? And remember when, two days later, I became un-obsessed with them?

I've been thinking about them again, thinking about how much I love them. But then I remembered how much I hate making them. In fact, I even made a list:

1) I can't stand making the folded base pieces. I have the patience for about 1.5 before I want to quit. A quilt takes significantly more than that, I think.

2) I hate those flappy triangles. I hate them when I'm sewing the bases together, when I'm sewing the squares in, basically I just hate them altogether.

3) It bothers me when the flappy triangles don't all meet in the middle, especially when they're not even pointy!

4) I don't like that the back is all one color. My preference is to use white for my base fabric...and I don't want an all white quilt back. I'm too messy for that!

So I've been thinking about how to make a cathedral window quilt that eliminates everything I hate.

And I did.

Cathedral Window Mini Quilt

But the problem is that I'm not sure I like the new process any better. It's just a tricky block and it takes a lot of work no matter what.

Cathedral Window Mini Quilt

I made this super mini quilt as a test for a bigger mini quilt. I'm glad I did because I made quite a few mistakes. Like how I hand-quilted the whole thing only to realize I'd forgotten to put fabric in the four corners. Or how I got a knot on the back while re-quilting but didn't notice until I'd quilted about half the block? Or what about that red binding? I'm kicking myself for not going with white...but I didn't even consider white until the whole thing was finished. And check it out...someone cut her binding way too wide:

Cathedral Window Mini Quilt

Oh well...at least I learned what not to do next time. And yes, there will be a next time. I'm determined to find an enjoyable way to make these.

Until then, is there anything you love/hate about quilting? Is there a particular block, pattern or style of quilt that you love but can't stand the thought of making for yourself?