Saturday, June 26, 2010

Packing and more packing

In 3 days we will move 500 miles away. Sigh. I love moving to new states, but I sure do hate the process! I've lived in California, Alaska and Nevada, and now we are moving back to California. Yesterday I finally packed all my quilting stuff. Normally, I find some time everyday to do a bit of quilting. These last two weeks I've been hoping to snag bits of quilting time but it's been Mission Impossible! The stack of boxes in our bedroom has grown so humongous, I knew I finally had to pack my quilting area, since it was getting swallowed by boxes. It was sad. I gave up all hope of finding any quilting time and instead dove into the mess armed with only cardboard boxes. Most of everything is going to my parents house with us, but I did pack 2 boxes of quilting magazines for storage that I decided I could live without for two months.

I realize I am insane about quilting, but my internal dialogue as I packed proves it:

"Oh, a Sunbonnet Sue book. I'll probably make a Sunbonnet Sue quilt while were living at my parents."

"Can't leave this "Quilt as Desired" book in storage, I'll quilt my "Floating Lillypads" quilt while I'm there too."

"Oh, look at this Miniature Quilts book. I should make a cute mini quilt while I'm at my parents."

"Can't leave this Baby Projects book in storage either. I'll probably start working on Christmas presents while I'm living at my parents."

I already have a quilting project that's due as a gift by the end of August. I like the project so much that I cut out enough pieces to make myself one too! That's two quilts already in the works while I'm at my parents house for two months.

Guess I'll be busy!

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Sewing Space

Had to clean the house yesterday and today for our apartment inspection. That was a big job! Normally, I'm a pretty clean person, but since we are moving 500 miles away in less than 2 weeks and we won't be moving to our own house, but to my parent's house, our apartment is cluttered and dis-arranged. Seems like I have to keep opening cupboards and closets and pulling crap out every single day. So last night and today we pulled everything together and waved our magic wands to make it look like a livable house again. Whew, I'm exhausted.

But my house is clean and I thought, what a great day to show off my sewing space! So here it is:

I was very lucky to find this roomy, "luxury" apartment. When I moved here, I had just gotten divorced and had to leave my house. I wanted to live someplace where I wouldn't feel angry and abandoned. This apartment is perfect. Very roomy and huge. I'm sad to be leaving it, but there's better things on the horizon :) Anyway, I have a built-in desk in the corner of my bedroom that I thought would make an excellent sewing space. All my quilting books and magazines are on the built-in bookshelf above, and I have two plastic chest-of-drawers beneath to hold things like graph, notebook, and tracing paper, patterns, different notions and such. I have to have my flexible light so I can see what I'm doing and I have to have my small desk fan blowing right on me, because quilting is hard work!

I love having my ironing board and iron hanging on the wall and out of my way. There's only standing room between the two desks, so I put my sewing machine on the huge desk that my fiance gave me.

I like having everything within reach, so I use tacks to hang all my rulers and scissors on a corkboard. I have another corkboard above that one, which used to be a design board, but since it's so high, I never use it. I have one Thank You card for the One Quilt I have actually completed and gifted. My rotary cutter mat hangs flat from a nail on the wall behind the desk. Beneath my desk and within reach of my sewing machine I keep a plastic rolling drawer thingy with all my thread, bobbins, and extra feet.

So that's it! A place for everything and proof that you don't need a ton of footage to have an awesome sewing space!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beginner Quilting Class

Oh joy! I just discovered that I won a book from The Quilt Shoppe Bingo Blog. I did my super-excited dance in my bedroom, then went to my roommate's room to tell him and show him my super-excited dance.

"Guess what, guess what!" throwing my arms around like a cheerleader on speed. "I won a quilting book, I won a quilting book, hey hey hey hey!"

My blog also got listed on the Blog Roll of the day, and I got a follower! Hi! *waves*

Ok, now down to quilty business. I took an Intro to Quilting class at my LQS last night. I love my LQS. It's Quiltique in Henderson and they are the nicest ladies ever. I'll do a post just for them one day. Tami Bradley taught the class. She's a local long-arm quilter here in Henderson and she does really amazing work. She was an awesome teacher, went through all the selections of thread and batting and demonstrated some continuous line quilting ideas. Then she let us loose on our sewing machines and wandered around helping us.

Confession time: This is the third time I've signed up for this class, but only the first time I actually got my butt in the seat. Long story about thinking it was a different day and the next time thinking it was a different time. Hangovers had nothing to do with it, I swear. Anyway, the first time I signed up I bought my Bernina walking foot ($160). I got home all excited to quilt my first quilt, opened the box and stared in horror.

It was Frankenstein Foot. Seriously, I was so afraid to even touch this thing. I didn't want anything to do with it. I read the instructions. They didn't help. I looked in my quilting books to see if any had a picture of what I was supposed to do with this thing. They didn't. I googled it. Nothing. So it sat in my drawer for a year. Now, I'm moving and finally taking care of my unfinished business.

This is how it works. You see that black piece that looks like teeth, or tweezers? That piece hooks around that little knob you screw when you want to change the needle. Then...(wait for it...) you put it on like a regular foot! Who knew?! Nothing to be afraid of!

There's some extra bars in there if you want a guide to do evenly spaced quilting, and an open-toed foot to see more when you're stitching. I really don't know why I was so afraid of my walking foot. I was so happy when Tami finally explained everything to me. I put it on and started quilting my project (an old table runner I use to practice quilting). She came back a few minutes later.

"How's the walking foot working?" She asked.

"Oh, it was boring. I replaced it with my free-motion quilting and that's much better."

Just goes to sew!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Christmas in June

This is a quilt I've been working on for over a year now. I pick it up between projects and work on it here and there. Since I'm still a beginner in all this stitchery business, there are some things I have to teach myself as I go. This book, being a sampler, has a ton of different techniques.

So far I've taught myself needle-turn applique (at which I am horribly slow, I don't do well stitching by hand), paper-piecing (that was a fun night), and different embroidery stitches like french knots and the stem stitch. I actually google these different embroidery stitches and then watch the video 100 times until I finally get it. I'm having a problem squaring up these blocks to size, so it's always interesting when I have to put two blocks together. I think, geez, how did that happen?

I don't know why these pictures are sideways, but I'll work on that!

Here are the first three sections all put together. The book comes with a CD from which you can print out photo transfers. I print them, then iron them onto white fabric. I taught myself that too :). When I complete a block, I just have to be careful not to iron the transfer again, or it sticks to the ironing board, or the ink gets all over the iron and the picture gets ruined. These are the kinds of things beginners like me do.

I spent yesterday devising schemes to print out the photo-transfer pictures and the paper-piecing patterns. My printer is out of ink and I really didn't want to buy any, so I drove around town thinking of all the different places to print for free. None of them worked, and I finally broke down and sent my fiance to the store for some stupidly expensive printer ink. It's been over 100 degrees here for the last week, and I feel all my productiveness being drained from me. All I want to do is lay on the bed under fans and read quilting blogs and suck popsicles. Which is what I've been doing all day, coincidentally. My first day off after six days on. I'm sucking all the laziness I can from my day off.

I have a friend in town yesterday and today. When friends come to town in Las Vegas, it seems like your normal life gets put on hold and your rock-n-roll life comes out. Instead of spending my evening cleaning my bathroom and working on my Xmas quilt, I get to spend the night at a Bacardi Open Bar wearing roller skates and a cowgirl hat. Life in Vegas is so hard. Sigh. Last night I got off work and we went hiking. Hiked up to the top of Lone Mountain, which is a horribly steep hike that basically goes straight up. Gorgeous views of the city though. I thought that would be a fun cheap way to spend some quality time with my friend. It was, until I saw the Parking Ticket I received. Sat on top of the mountain for a few hours drinking beer and enjoying the view. I'm definitely going to miss the Las Vegas lights when I leave.

Here's me and my wonderful fiance kissing on top of Las Vegas. In the blur of lights on the top right you can kind of see The Strip. It was super windy last night, which made things interesting, to say the least.

Until next time...

Monday, June 7, 2010

What a Giveaway Monday!

I originally had other plans for this post, but after reading about all these other fabulous giveaways, I just had to share them with you!

Cutie Pinwheel is doing a giveaway to celebrate her 200 followers here. I gotta say I'm in love with her blog look, so welcoming and eye-catching!

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts is having a 7 day giveaway, so make sure you get over there everyday this week!

Puking Pastilles is giving away some gorgeous fabric and some patterns here.

Joanne is having a quilt kit giveaway at Splitting Stitches

Jaybird Quilts is hosting a giveaway from The Quilt Shoppe (BTW, I'm playing Quilt Bingo right now with them!) She's here. PS, it took me awhile to notice it, but she's the designer of the quilt "Circle Around" that was on the cover of this month's Quilts and More magazine. That quilt has been "circling around" my brain ever since I saw it, and I've chosen five perfect recipients for that quilt!

Little Lady Patchwork is giving away some beautiful Candy Bars from Moda (these ones don't even stick to your butt!) here.

Quilting Arts is giving away some awesome fabric here. You have to sign up to be a member, if you're not already. And if you're not already, then why not?!

Sherri Howard is giving away a fabulous book (I have my eye on it, but I'll share it with you!) Not Your Grandmother's Quilt.

Sugar Stitches is giving away some so-amazing fabrics at her blog here. These are really gorgeous, and her blog design makes me crave candy. Seriously, go see.

Then head over to Ragamuffin's Etsy shop to check some things out and sign her guestbook. I'm sure you'll find something you love and in the meantime she'll enter you for a chance to win some charm packs Ragamuffin's blog here.

Whew! That took forever. It's like a mini-tour of blog giveaways. Is your head spinning too? Next time I swear I'll post the beginnings of a project I'm working on, until on!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hello Blog-world!!

Hi everyone, I'm Jen and I'm addicted to quilting blogs. (Hi Jen!) I figured it was finally time to throw my own hat in the ring and get to journaling some of my own quilting experiences. I am a brand new quilter (a year and a half of floundering with beautiful pieces of fabric) and have finally earned my "Experienced Beginner" title. I have exactly one finished project under my belt, and about 10 more in-progress projects.

A little bit about me: I am 29 years old, engaged to my fantastic man, and live currently in Las Vegas. We have plans to flee Las Vegas at the end of June and are looking forward to moving closer to my family in Sacramento so that we can start our own family. I have a psychology degree which I put to good use waiting tables in Las Vegas. I have always been creative, and have had affairs with poetry, writing, and...well, that's it I guess. I live my life by my own creative code, and often do things that surprise people. My fiance and I met through an online dating service about 6 months ago and are madly head over heels in love with each other.

(I tried to put the above photo ~here~ but Blogger keeps putting it at the top, any suggestions?)

Ever since I was a little girl I was enchanted with quilts. I always knew I would get into making my own and that goal has actually been at the top of my Bucket List for years now. Last year I finally took the plunge and bought a Bernina Activa 220. Before that, I had never sewn before. I know buying an $800 sewing machine for a new hobby is crazy, but I didn't want to take any chances of my quitting before completion. I am totally in love with my sewing machine. I have 3 finished quilt tops and 1 finished quilt, which I gifted to my little brother who will be bringing my first nephew into this world any day now. When I get into something, I get into huge. I read everything I can on quilting and try to do something everyday, even if it's just reading everyone's quilting blogs! My goal is to deck my own happy home out with lots and lots of quilts everywhere, thus...The Quilty Home!