Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I Sew

Hmmm... how did I start sewing?

Well, I have to say I came from a very crafty line of ladies, on both sides. Two of my great-grandmothers were crafty.
One (my mother's grandmother) was a crocheter. She was well-known for her baby sets of sweaters, booties, and bonnets. Everyone wanted at least one for their baby. She died when I was 15, but not before she taught me how to crochet. She also sewed a bit: little blankets here and there and clothing.
Move along to her youngest (of 8) daughter - my grandmother. Now there's a crafty woman for you. She is 74 years young and for all of my 33+ years, she has been sewing, crocheting, and knitting. I don't remember any day when there hasn't been a crafty project by her side. All of her 6 kids and their spouses, her 11 grandkids, and her 5 great-grandkids all have a knitted Christmas stocking with their name on it. Growing up I always had new stuffed animals made by Ma. My kids still get some every year as well. And she has carried on the baby set tradition that her mother started almost 100 years ago. As a teenager, she taught me how to use her sewing machine to make scrunchies for my hair. That was my first experience in sewing.
Then there's my mom. She also sews and crochets. Many of my childhood clothes were homemade. I have afghans to keep me warm. She passed along the gene, but had a hard time teaching me anything (little girls never make it easy for their moms to teach them anything). One of her sisters is also a crocheter who makes Barbie clothes. It's in their blood, I guess.
And then I move over to my dad's side of the family. His grandmother sewed me a beautiful quilt when I was a baby. It's tucked away in my hope chest now, but I used it as a wall hanging when I was little.
Her daughter (my other grandmother) makes quilts. She has been my biggest quilting inspiration to date. When I was young she taught me how to cross-stitch and needlepoint. She then taught herself how to crochet (left-handed). And then she started making quilts over 10 years ago. She is very traditional in her style, yet inspirational to me. She made crib size quilts for my kids and that is what inspired me to do the same for my nieces and nephews.
That year (5 years ago, maybe?) I borrowed my mom's Kenmore sewing machine and bought a bunch of fabric at JoAnn's. I made 5 crib size quilts to send to NJ for Christmas. I was so proud of myself. I guess Bobby was, too, since he went out and bought me my own sewing machine.
And then a good friend of mine (Deni) got me hooked on purse-making. And boy, was I hooked. I have since made purses, wallets, totes, etc. for birthdays, Christmas, myself, my neighbors, my friends, my family, for fun. I have designed my own and used patterns and tutorials. I am so addicted.
And then Deni introduced me to the world of Local Quilt Shops and Moda fabrics. Wow!!! I knew I had to make a quilt for my own bed. What a huge undertaking to make a queen size quilt. I only allowed myself to use Moda fabrics from different lines. I made the top in 2008. In 2010 I added to the top and pieced the back. And then - oooohhhh then - then I got to use a longarm machine to quilt it. Eek!! Thank you to my mom's friend, Judy, for having this wonderful piece of equipment in her home and for allowing me the chance to use it. How much fun did I have? You can see the finished results in my earlier posts here .
And now... well now I just sew whatever feels right at the moment. I want to make more quilts. I want to design more bags. I enjoy making baby shower gifts, etc. I think the crafty sewing gene is something I cannot shake. It's in me and it's not going anywhere. Ever. I love to sew because of all the inspiration I have had in my life. I read sewing blogs every day, but were it not for all those wonderful women in my life, I would have never had the interest to get started.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Confessions of a Sometimes Blogger

I'm thinking of adding that post title to my byline. "Confessions of a Sometimes Blogger" seems like the perfect blog name for someone like me. I rarely blog these days. Not sure why. I spend hours on end reading other sewing blogs. Maybe, since I spend so much time looking for inspiration and so little time actually sewing, I have nothing to blog about. Well that's not true. Maybe. I haven't been sewing lately (CTR Surgery, you know) so I have no pretty pictures to post of my fabric goodness. However, I have taken pictures. And I have been living my life. This morning I read a post by Rachel at I read all 308 comments prior to mine. I realize that I am not alone in this weird blogosphere. I have confessions to make. I feel inadequate in my sewing abilities. I'm afraid to sell what I make because they don't live up to the big-name bloggers'/sewists' works. I shop at JoAnn's and Wal-Mart instead of my Local Quilt Shop because I am poor. And also, because I like the fabric at JoAnn's and WM just fine. I have bad days in my life. A lot. Sometimes I wish things were different. Then I reflect on that wish and realize that I like what I have. Of course I want more, but don't we all? I secretly wish that I had a ton of blog followers, and published works, and a book contract, and sponsors to send me free fabric. But is that what blogging is all about? I'm starting to realize that I have a blog for my own sake. It's a journal of MY things that I have made. If people care to read it, great! If not, oh well. Is it really that important in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. If you're reading this, THANK YOU! It means a lot. And if you're not reading this, then I guess I'll never know and it's no skin off my back, is it now?
Oh, and since blog posts always have pictures, here's a picture for you:

My family: It's what I work on every day :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pillow Party!

So as I've been "laid up" and not able to sew for the past week (and who knows for how much longer), I have been reading many many many sewing blogs, entering contests, commenting on other blogs, etc. Oh, and fondling all the fabric I can't wait to cut into. When I cam across the Bloggers Pillow Party at Stitched in Color I figured, why not go for it and enter. So here I am, entering a sewing contest with my String Quilt Pillow (oxford style: I learned that this technique actually has a name!). So here it is again. My scrappy, funky, crazy, not-perfect-but-I-don't-care, String Quilt Pillow. It holds a sacred place on my bed with my lovely quilt. I can't get enough of it. I just love it. And I think my husband does too, but I won't let him use it ;)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday and Chrysalis Quilt Part Deux

A few days ago I posted about this quilt, which I started on Saturday with Moda's Chrysalis by Sanae charm squares and some Kona Bone. Yesterday I worked on it a little more. I have 2 of 7 rows complete. I used my handy dandy JoAnns coupons today to get more thread, Kona Bone, and Warm & Natural batting. I don't plan on finishing it entirely for a few weeks due to my carpal tunnel surgery next Monday, but I still have 4 days to get the top done. I also need to figure out what I want to do for the back. I know I want it pieced, but just not sure how to do it yet.
I also finished up a few baby items for my cousin's shower (I seriously hope she doesn't read my blog). It's a boy so I hope she likes these Debbie Mumm fabrics. Sorry for the horrible pictures. I have a very tiny house and horrible lighting so it's impossible to get a good indoors shot. And outside, with all the mud, well, we just won't talk about that. Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chrysalis Quilt Part 1

Saturday, I had the good fortune of being alone from about 3pm until 11:30pm. Bobby was working and the kids were off at sleepovers (one with a friend, the other with Gramma & Pa). So I sewed! I finished some baby shower gifts for a cousin (to be posted next week, just in case) and I finally started a new quilt. I bought these charm squares a few weeks ago and got some Kona Bone to accent them. I knew I wanted a lot of white space to accentuate the Chrysalis fabrics, so I went with a wonky log cabin style. At first, I thought I was being silly by using so many pieces of the white fabric instead of just 1 wide strip on each side. That certainly would have been quicker. However, I kinda like the look of the seams showing through. I think it adds dimension. I plan on using all 42 charm quares, each in its own 12" square, to make a twin sized quilt. I really like the idea of having quilts available throughout my home for us to randomly use whenever we want, either on the couch for snuggling or on our beds for extra warmth. Now the dog will be able to have all the fleecey throws for herself!