Sunday, November 23, 2014

A few finished projects

While I've been in Denver, I've taken advantage of being near my sewing machine to finish up a few projects.


First, I did as I promised and turned my crazy quilt patch into a purse. It is more of a prototype than a professional project. I didn't think it through from beginning to end, so there are quite a few things I would do differently. Most importantly, the narrow sides should have been made of one piece. If I had had my edging book with me, I could have looked up how to make a neat fit around the corners, but the book is back in Rhode Island. Instead, I struggled with piecing each side and it isn't all that neat. I also should have made a facing with a snap closure and made my interior pocket smaller. But live and learn. It isn't something I would give as a gift, but I am enjoying using it.


Two weeks ago, I also mentioned bringing home some fabric for a skirt. Here is the almost finished product. I may need to take out a little fullness and adjust the elastic to get a better fit.


Finally, remember the embroidered North Woods panels I did last winter? One of them disappeared when I moved some of my things home in May. I expect I will find it sometime. But the other one in sewn up and will be my brother-in-law's Christmas present this year. Unlike my purse, this turned out exactly as I planned. It will look great in their Adirondack cabin!



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Languishing lovebirds

Last week I mentioned that one of the things I brought back to Denver in my suitcase was a blackwork kit. I alway thought blackwork was beautiful, so I signed up for Tanja Berlin's blackwork "Lovebirds" class in August. Lessons were sent out every two weeks through last week. Unfortunately I didn't get my kit until just before the third of five classes was published. Somehow the U.S. and Canadian post offices let us down. By the time it came, I was so busy with other things, that despite my resolve to keep up with the course, I only finished lesson one this week. Unfortunately, my critique wasn't so good. I found myself rushing to finish and made some mistakes. Not big ones, but big enough. I'll have to work through the rest a little more slowly, and sadly on my own since the class ends next week. I'm disappointed with myself, because the materials and the critiques are great. I just couldn't keep up.


Here's what I have done so far. I'm looking forward to working on it over Christmas--which means that these little birdies are going back to New England with me. Too bad they don't earn their own frequent flyer miles!



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Travel priorities

I had to laugh last weekend as I packed my suitcase to fly back to Denver. It was such an odd assortment of things to be flying with--especially for a three week trip. Not for the first time I was glad security doesn't question me about my choice of baggage.


For my flight I brought home a 19" suitcase and a computer bag packed with the following:

1 pair jeans

2 long sleeve shirts

1 q-snap frame that I had finished using and some patterns

A black work kit I am working on (more on that next week)

Fabric for a skirt I want to sew

A crazy quilt book

A cross stitch book

A bag of fabric scraps for crazy quilting

2 novels

My work and home computers

An ipad

Some work papers

Medications and a little bottle of hair goop


I focus on my projects and making sure that I have the proper supplies where I need them, rather than on my appearance and what I'll be wearing. It helps that my wardrobe is split between the two homes, but if I didn't cart the supplies back and forth I could travel with just my computer bag!


It is more frustrating than I want to admit having a sewing machine in only one location. If I had one in Rhode Island, my skirt would already be sewn and I could have started my crazy quilt blocks. But maybe it is better this way. When I am back east, I spend all of my non-work time with my husband and when I am in Denver I have concentrated time to work on projects. Not having a machine back east keeps my perspective on what is important in my life--my family. But sometimes I still miss sewing something fun, as opposed to something necessary, when I can justify borrowing a machine from someone. It also means that I have to finish any outstanding Christmas presents before Thanksgiving, or I'll have to start shopping when I get back to Rhode Island!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Halloween kind of

I didn't quite finish my Day of the Dead sampler for Halloween this year. Luckily it is just a play piece. There is a lot wrong with it, but it has been fun to work on a colorful piece with no real purpose, deadline or even pattern!


My idea started with a desire to embroider a skull and grew from there. Here is my initial drawing. I wanted skulls and flowers and hearts. My idea was to sink my stitches into thick black felt, but I couldn't find black wool felt, so I bought grey. Then I had trouble having my white markers show up on the fuzzy felt, so I cut the skulls out of interfacing to trace around them. I liked the white against the grey so much, I decided to embroider right through the interfacing


Here is how far I've gotten. I have to finish the flower and one more skull, then add vines, hearts and a backing. I may put it aside until I return to Rhode Island though, I've got other projects to work on in Colorado and the less I carry back and forth, the better.

At least I can be early for next year!