In the Intro to Sewing Class we’ll be making bookmarks while learning about the sewing machine and the basics of operating the machine.
In the Sewn Fabric Collage Class kids will use a piece of fabric as the “canvas” & use fabric pieces to create a design of their choosing. Then they will sew the pieces & embellish as desired. By the end of class they will have several of these pieces they can put on a ring & build upon later at home.
In the 3-D Creations Class kids will learn how to take an idea from a sketch & turn it into a reality. There are no limits on what they can make in this class!
This is my third semester to be teaching at Art at the Center & I’ve never been so excited about these classes! I’ve changed the format greatly to incorporate more play & more room for individual creativity. I want to write on this is more depth, (once my head clears from this sick fogginess), but know that I think play learning benefits more than just toddlers- that elementary kids *need* to play with sewing machines!
One of the advantages of moving around is that I’m constantly meeting people smarter than myself that challenge my thinking in ways I never imagined.
This move back to Virginia led me to met Kathryn who runs Art at the Center. Aside from teaching me the wonders of process art & inspiring me creatively in innumerable ways, I admire her pursuit of community art.
Last Friday she hosted the “Big Chalk Draw” & Teapot & I walked down to join them at the insanely early hour of 8am (we take mornings easy around here.) We discovered the parking lot empty of cars & filled with buckets of sidewalk chalk. Parents & kids had already started drawing and the parking lot was slowly being remade into a giant canvas.
Here’s a labyrinth (they’re nuts about labyrinths at A@TC! You should really read Kathryn’s musings on them):
I added a chalk quilt- a simple sampler quilt with nine different basic quilt blocks:
Before we left though, I noticed that someone/someone’s had added to my quilt:
I love their blocks! See that middle block on the third row from the top? I envision enlarging that & turning it into a baby quilt!
On the way home I was thinking about the morning & here are my thoughts:
- Art was built upon art. I may have started a drawing, but it was fair game to be added upon & become something new. This didn’t ruin my work- just changed it. I wonder what new things we would discover if we approached more situations like this in our lives.
- You can always start something if you’re willing to move to a new place in the parking lot. I’m guilty of this- I get in my comfort zone & I don’t want to move, but if I just scooted 2 feet, I’d find the opportunity to work on a new project in a new light.
- Most drawings start with a line. A LINE people! A simple little line. You don’t need some impressive plan in your head, you just need to start with a line. We can take this into the quilting world too- what if we just started a quilt with a block & looked to see where it can take us?
- Draw with your kids. I noticed striking moments of bonding when kids & parents worked together on a drawing. The art connected them together in a new way. They both contributed to the final piece. They were both makers for something that wouldn’t have been without both of them.
Finally, here’s a time lapse video of the entire morning in 2 1/2 minutes!
Around week 39 of pregnancy I suddenly couldn’t stand coffee. I tried for about two days to choke down the stuff, but I finally gave up & made some tea- I’ve been drinking tea ever since.
I’ll give everyone a moment to process that- I’m not drinking coffee anymore! (And I haven’t completely lost my marbles!)
I realized a tea cozy would be helpful to keep my tea from going cold in the mornings & a few weeks ago I had the sudden need to do some improv piecing, so I decided to finally make the cozy.
I used the template and basic directions from Lily’s Quilts. Which was an excellent tutorial! (Although it I were to make this again I’d tweak the template to fit my teapot better.) For the piecing I used a foundation piecing technique with my scrap batiks. (I keep all my batik scraps, no matter how small- batiks are far too expensive to be throwing away the remnants.)
There was little planning involved with the piecing, I just pulled fabric out of the scrap bin & looked to see how I could incorporate it into the design. It came together quickly & was just the freeing type of creativity I needed that day.
I knew I wanted tight quilting & I threw the pieces onto the longarm with some Warm & Natural batting scraps & did some straight line quilting approx. 1/4″ apart using Bottom Line thread in silver/gray. Some lines are closer than others, basically I just winged it, wanting the same freeing quilting experience.
For the lining I used some old teapot fabric from my mom’s stash that was a Mary Engelbreit or Debbie Mumm design from the 90s. Not my favorite & doesn’t match in the least, but hey, it’s a tea cozy lining- let’s not get too uptight about things.
For the binding I used some leftovers from some project I can’t remember but I made waaaaay too much for! I used a machine binding technique since my hand sewing time is precious.
Overall I’m incredibly pleased with how this turned out- I love coming into the kitchen in the mornings & looking at my beautiful tea cozy! And it’s been very effective in keeping my tea warm so three cheers for my idea working out in reality!
J recently got me a new camera. Nothing big & fancy, just a small point & shoot, perfect for tossing in the diaper bag or my back pocket.
Obviously it needed a case with my tendency to toss things in the bag of the day, & I’m never quite happy with the selection of cases, & there’s my “be a maker not a consumer” philosophy, so last weekend I dug through my stash & drafted a nifty pattern.
I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. I’ve never made a zipper pull like that before & while it was a bugger to make (note to self, leave 2″ of zipper at end, not 1″), it adds the professional touch I wanted.
I pre-quilted the pieces with straight line quilting on my domestic machine. Normally I would have done the quilting on my longarm, but the pieces were so small it wasn’t worth the time.
Speaking of my domestic machine, here’s a story you might find humorous. Do you know I have a degree in Economics? Even studied it in grad school. At one time I wanted to research Labor Economics, but I decided to move to Alaska (yeah, that’s another story.) Anyways, the point is that I’m from the business/finance world & I never even took Home Ec in high school. So when I decided to leave that & become a longarmer, let’s just say there were some transitions to be made. I remember coming home from my first longarming convention & telling J “these people kept talking about their domestic machine & I don’t get it.” He gave me an appropriate stare. I went on to say “I can’t think of any sewing machines that’s made in America anymore- they’re manufactured overseas. Any anyways, I have a Pfaff, it’s German.” (Well *mine* was made in Germany, but let’s not get into that discussion right now). He then burst out laughing. I still didn’t get it. (You do of course, right?) Yes, he had to explain to me that it’s not an issue of foreign/domestic, it’s an issue of a machine made for commercial versus domestic use.
Yeah. I know. I love quilting & longarming life, but there’s still a part of me that thinks like an economist!
I recently got a new laptop & so I’ve been going through files & came across a trove of pictures of quilts I’ve longarmed that never made it onto the blog. So over the next few weeks I’ll be highlighting some of these great quilts I’ve worked on for customers & charities.
Today’s quilt is a great civil war reproduction quilt my customer made for an auction at the Micah House in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
She chose the Arabesque panto & it was the perfect choice! Arabesque is a fairly dense small scale design which complemented the small blocks beautifully.
It was impeccably pieced and a joy to quilt!
I hope whomever won this quilt is enjoying the talents of this piecer!
Is there anything cuter than looking at pictures of babies on quilts? Well, maybe babies in bluebonnet fields if you’re from Texas
I made this tumbling block quilt about 2 years ago as a class sample & like so many of my quilts, it ended up in a heaped pile.
We recently discovered however it fits perfectly in Teapot’s new play space in our living room.
Aside from the joy I get from choosing fabrics, trying new techniques & creating custom quilting designs, I love the warm fuzzies I get when we use my quilts around our home. It’s more than a sense of accomplishment, it’s the satisfaction that only comes from creating.
When I create something from raw materials that we’ll use, so many things are happening, but most important to me at this time is that we’re teaching Teapot she doesn’t have to be a consumer of finished goods.
Think about that for a second. Take a second to think about what it means to be creator of good rather than a consumer of goods.
Making things requires us to slow down & think about the process. The time & resources make us decide if this is a need or a want. It requires us to gather materials and make a plan. It requires us to adjust when plans change or hiccups arise.
It requires us to think.
When we make quilts to live with, we’re reminding ourselves of what we’re capable of. So yes, you should feel pride when you see that quilt you said more than a few curse words over but persevered & completed! You struggled through that quilt & made it happen! Now go do it again! Go make another quilt (or something else like clay bowls, or go grow some food), only this time make it more challenging- this is the best medicine for your brain!
I recently finished this gingham baby quilt in order to practice a new quilting design: Easy Orange Peel. The end result blew me away!
This was a baby quilt I pieced back in junior high for the AIDS Baby Quilt Drive, the first of my quilting for charity. (Does anyone remember that crisis? It was the early 90s & I remember learning about the babies dying from AIDS complications at my LQS & pestering my mom that I needed to make quilts for them. It still gives me upsets me to think of those poor babies.)
I made a lot of quilts for the babies, but somehow this one never got quilted. (hmmm, seems to be a trend with me….) I was digging around the studio for a quilt that would take the Easy Orange Peel design well & came across this one.
What I can’t believe is how striking the quilting design made this quilt! I mean, look at the quilt- there’s nothing special here, just squares arranged in a diagonal pattern. And gingham squares at that! But the quilting just makes the whole quilt look all snuggly & precious, like you can’t wait to find a baby & wrap her up in it!
But Teapot doesn’t need another quilt. Really. She doesn’t. And I did piece this with the purpose of donating it, so I’ll bring it to the next guild meeting & see if we can’t find a good home for the quilt.
My second pattern is now for sale on Craftsy! Thank you to everyone who has already purchased my first pattern, the Patriotic Star Runner! The success of that pattern gave me the much needed *umph* to prepare this pattern for sale.
You may remember this star quilt from last year- I had so much fun quilting the feathers! But this is really a great pattern for a beginning quilter since it uses only half square triangles & squares to construct the star. I did throw in partial seams for the border, but I promise the directions hold your hand through it, although nothing says you have to do the borders the way the pattern directs!
I love this quilt for the fact that it’s a beautiful holiday piece, yet it’s traditional enough to keep up all year. You can also change it up & use a charm pack or 5″ scraps from your stash and this would make a great baby quilt!
This Christmas Star Wall Hanging pattern will be available until the end of August for $2- so don’t miss out out- there’s plenty of time to make this before the holidays are here!
Here is the sweet mystery quilt I talked about in the last post!
I finished up the binding during a sew day with a good friend & somehow managed to sew on the binding while holding Teapot. (Granted it took about 4 hours, but I still got it sewn!)
So here’s the story of this quilt (I honestly can’t remember if I’ve shared this, so here it is again.)
I picked quilting back up while living in Alaska right after getting married & right before J deploying (circa 2006). I spent the bulk of his taking classes & having a permanent quilting retreat in our dining room- you know just making the best of the situation.
During that time I discovered the quilting groups on YahooGroups (ahhh, YahooGroups, life before Facebook groups!) One group I joined hosted mystery quilts throughout the year & I knew they were going to have one over Christmas. This seemed like a great idea in October, before J had come home & I picked out my fabric (completely from stash!). Then J came home, then Thanksgiving happened, then it was Christmastime & somehow life exploded into us hosting a wine tasting on Christmas Eve & then Christmas dinner for anyone & everyone who didn’t have a place. (Side note here, this is the aspect of military life I love- the impromptu family gatherings where one person/family creates a homey atmosphere with an open invitation. I still remember who came to that dinner & the coziness that filled our home. One couple is now married with a little baby, another friend lives near us & we still see her regularly, another woman we haven’t kept up with her, but I think about her.)
Ok, back to the quilt story, so we had a lot going on between the Christmas Eve wine tasting & Christmas dinner complete with turkey & me being me of course, still wanted to participate in this mystery quilt! So between cleaning, cooking & being social, I pieced this quilt as the clues were released. Needless to say I was exhausted at the end of the weekend & I had to go back to work on the 26th (I was working in Finance at the time & I swear all major holidays fall at the beginning of month-end or the end of month-end!) & then it just sat as a flimsy (unquilted top) for years!! This was partly because I had one block turned wrong & it needed to be fixed & I was too distracted with other things to make that change & partly because I had grand custom quilting plans.
But now we’re here & my studio is small & I really need to make some space so I decided to quilt it with an edge to edge design (popcorn!) & move on. This decision was incredibly freeing! It gave me the motivation to switch that one block around & pop the quilt on the frame & get it done! In the end I must say, having it done is much better than waiting to come up with the “perfect” custom quilting design & the Popcorn design adds to the sweetness of this quilt.
The timing of coming to this realization & finishing this quilt seemed to be almost kismet. My friend that joined me on that sew day knew a midwife who was gathering supplies to take with her to Haiti. The timing couldn’t have been better & it serves to remind me that things do happen in time for their own reasons.
Here’s a detail picture of the stars & loops design she choose. Perfect for the fun Dr. Seuss fabrics.
I also worked on “mastering the art of maximizing nap time.” Most of the time I’ve used nap times to nap myself, but Friday she took an extra nap & I found myself with a little bit of time & no dishes to clean (yay for J being home!) So I was playing in the studio & pulled out a UFO & realized the only reason I hadn’t quilted it was because a block needed to be turned. See?
So I took the 10 minutes & finally turned the block! Ahh, that looks much better! (It’s amazed me how it sat like that for 7 years….. it’s the little things that can really hold us back…)
I also prepped the backing & it went on the frame Sunday morning! Quilting is almost done & I can’t wait to show you- it came out great!