Monday, January 24, 2011

Setting up my new Inspira frame

My dear hubs helped me set up my new quilting frame this week. Tonight I put my machine on it with some nice contrasting purple thread, assembled a test quilt sandwich, and installed the stitch regulator. I still need to iron out some kinks with tension, etc., but so exciting to have everything set up! ^_^


<3 Kelsey

PS. Setting this up was my One Week One Thing challenge for the last week. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crafty Organization

In preparation for getting my new machine, I had started to organize my sewing stuff, which was split between being shoved in one side of the nursery closet in assorted boxes and bags behind the Rockband drumset, and the other half strewn all over my living room. The sudden appearance of my new machine and frame meant I had to finish. (And rearrange some furniture. :P)

So now, in my nursery closet I have all of the fabric not yet slated to a specific project like this:


The blue box on the right holds my non-quilting fabrics. Not pictured on the left are three neat boxes: one for patterns and templates, one for notions, and one with my yarn/crochet/knitting supplies.

Then in the living room, I have put together little bundles for each specific project I've bought the materials for. I also have a box for my fabric scraps, and an old comforter plastic thing (what are those called anyways?) for my batting scraps. It may not look as neat/pretty, but it's actually really great to have each project in a little bundle like that.


From top to bottom, left to right: My scrap bin. The first quilt I started that is still part way through being hand-quilted. This quilt has been done entirely by hand so far. Then a stack of fabric my dear mom bought me for Christmas to make a quilt for myself. I'm planning on doing the New Wave pattern from Oh Fransson! Then my apparel stack, including fabric for a Schoolhouse Tunic for myself and fabric for two sleepsacks for Paul. Down on the bottom I have fabric for a couple new receiving blankets, a half cut shirt I started before I was pregnant, but had to go on hold since it was sized for pre-pregnant me, some planned pillows, and some fabric for some curtains in Paul's Nursery. Yikes. I clearly need to get busy.

The right of this cabinet also has three drawers I used to store my frequently used tools: rulers, rotary cutter, scissors, thread, needles, etc. My box of thread makes me happy. :)


<3 Kelsey

Happy {Early} Birthday to Me!

Sew, I mentioned yesterday that I got distracted most of last week with an early birthday present from my husband. Without further ado:


And what is this hiding under here?


Now those of you who know me may be thinking, "Wait, but isn't your birthday in *March*?" Why yes, yes it is. "And isn't this January?" Yup. This wasn't always the plan. My husband is notoriously bad at keeping gifts secret. I almost always know what I am getting as a gift for any gifty holidays well in advance. So this is how it went down:

December
Hubs: So, for Christmas, I'm going to watch Paul so you can go to a quilting class.
Me: Ooo
Christmas passes
Me: I was thinking I might go to a Modern Quilt Guild meeting instead.
I go to the January meeting of our local modern quilt guild.
Later that evening...
Hubs: I still want you to take a class at our LQS.
Me: But I thought today was supposed to count for that?
Hubs: I want you to take it because I want you to get to try out the different machines they have. I'm getting you a new sewing machine for your birthday.
Me: flabbergasted
Hubs: I want you to get a nice one.
Me: Immediately gets laptop and starts researching sewing machines.
Me: Hey, look, our LQS is having a birthday celebration in two weeks to celebrate their birthday - all their machines are going to be 30% off.
Hubs: We should get it then then.
Me: Continue researching what I want all week. Long arm is out of price range, but looking to get something better than the 6.5" throat space my little Kenmore has. Also decide I really want a quilting frame and automatic stitch regulator. I see how much stitch regulators cost.
Me: I might have to get a stitch regulator for Christmas next year. ;)
Next Saturday
Hubs: I'm surprised you aren't going over to look at the machines and pick out what you want so you know for next Saturday.
Me: Gets dressed, goes to store to look.
LQS: You can get any of the machines at the sale price now actually.
Me and LQS: Go over what I'm looking for. I don't really want lots of fancy stitches. I just want a sturdy machine that can straight stitch with a bigger throat space. I don't mind loading my bobbins manually, etc. Two features I would enjoy: stitch up/down and a thread cutter. Keeping my Kenmore for clothing, zig-zags, etc.
LQS: Shows me Janome 1600, which is just about exactly what I want.
LQS: Calls shop owner to ask if there is a frame that came with it. There isn't, BUT, they just got a used 2 year old Viking that, I kid you not, is just about the exact same machine, with some different icons. Made by the same manufacturer. And it comes with a quilting frame AND an automatic stitch regulator for the same price as the Janome 1600.
Me: Falls in love. They place it on hold for me.
Me: Goes home, feeds baby, talks to husband.
Hubs: Go ahead and get it now, but you have to set aside some time to play Rift Beta with me next week. [a video game]
Me: Goes back to LQS and brings her home. :D

And that is how I got my birthday present two months early. :P

My husband is the best. ^_^

I used it to sew the Disappearing Nine Patch I talked about in my last post. It sews like a dream. ^_^

<3 Kelsey

P.S. And just to be fair, we got my husband his birthday present this week too. And his birthday is in { MAY }! ;)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In Results

So, I fully intended to take lots of pretty pictures today while there was nice natural light, but the day somehow escaped me, so here we are with indoor night time photos yet again. Sorry. Again.

Last night I spent my Friday Night Sew-In putting together this quilt top. I started with a package of 8 Superman and Batman inspired fabrics, and added in some Kona Black for a 9th fabric.  This gave me the flexibility to cut whatever sized blocks I wanted for the 9 patch and my total number of blocks would still be a multiple of 9. :) Many of the prints were rather large and I wanted to preserve them, so I did a large 9"x9" square size, so each 9-patch block is 26" x 26", for a total top size of 52" x 52". Perfect for a little boy. :)

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I did try to fussy-cut when I could given I only had a few inches extra to work with on the width of the FQ, and only millimeters vertically. This was favorite of the fussy-cut blocks:

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The plan is to back it with a black minky, do some straight-line quilting, and bind it with some more of the Kona Black.

I'm thinking a nice little Superman cape may be just the thing to round out this gift. Or should it be a Batman cape? Hmmm, decisions, decisions....

<3 Kelsey

PS. Linking up to Fabric Tuesday and Too Cute Tuesday. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In

Hope you are all enjoying your Friday Night Sew-In. I know I've been remiss in posting anything crafty much the last couple of weeks, but I promise to remedy that tomorrow. Last week I was busy working on my entry for Project Quilting, and this week I got distracted when my husband got me my birthday present early (which I will share tomorrow) and I finally got around to organizing my stash (which I will also photograph tomorrow, if only because it makes me so happy. :) ). For tonight, I'm going back to work on my latest quilt - my first disappearing nine patch, and my first quilt I didn't design myself.




<3 Kelsey

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Project Quilting: Challenge 1 Voting

After being up all night sewing (literally), I finished my entry for the first challenge of Project Quilting. Be sure to head on over here and vote for your favorite!

Kelsey

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday



(  B e s t   P i c t u r e s   E V E R ! ! !  )

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another great giveaway

Wow, this is really a great week for giveaways. Be sure to head on over here for a chance to win some Heather Ross and Denyse Schmidt! :)


<3 Kelsey

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heather Ross Giveaway on Fussy Cut!

Eek! Fussy Cut is giving away a set of Heather Ross Lightning Bugs fat eights over on her blog. Be sure to check it out!

<3 Kelsey

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I don't usually do resolutions, but this year I thought I'd give them a shot.

1. Lose 2 lbs. per month. Each month I'll try to eliminate/limit one unhealthy habit or integrate a new one. For January I'm starting with no more than one sugared soda per 2 weeks. I figure I'm more likely to keep it with some exceptions worked in. :)

Starting weight: 159.25 lbs

2. Blog at least once per week. I know I keep missing recording things I want to. Mostly because I don't want to be pained with taking pictures and downloading them to my computer.

3.  Cover one chapter per month in Introduction to Algorithms. Take enough time to really put it into my long term memory. (The fact that will only get me 1/3 of the way through this book in an entire year makes me sad....)

Wish me luck!

<3 Kelsey

Family 2010

This was a big year for our family as my husband and I welcomed our first child into the world.


Most of the year was spent in preparation for his arrival. Then the last 3 months have been a blur.  He is a little smiling machine!


We went to Grandma and Grandpa Wright's house in Colorado for Thanksgiving:



Where we also celebrated an early Christmas.


Daddy taught him some of the important things.



Then 3 weeks later we flew out to Grandma Prantis' house in New Hampshire for Christmas.


Just look how big my little elf has gotten!!!



<3 Kelsey

Crafting 2010

While I don't have nearly comparable accomplishments to those making these out in crafty blogland, I still thought it'd be fun to see all of my projects for the year in one mosaic. :)


1. P5220014, 2. IMG_20100822_082240, 3. IMG_0174, 4. IMG_0214, 5. IMG_0318, 6. IMG_0368, 7. IMG_0536, 8. IMG_0535, 9. IMG_0531, 10. IMG_0532, 11. IMG_0624, 12. IMG_0614

crafting2010, originally uploaded by kelsey_rose.

Buttercup Purse

So I had fully planned out a gift for my sister-in-law. I found out what color she is into (turquoise), and bought a whole set of coordinating red, aqua/turquoise, and grey fabrics for it. Then, as a showed my husband what I bought, he said I should make her a purse. My sister-in-law and I have enjoyed purse shopping together in the past, and as soon as he said it I realized he was right. Too bad he didn't think of it about 3 hours sooner before I bought a bunch of fabric that is now just going to be added to my stash. Oh well. My life is so hard. ;)

I used two prints from the stack (ironically neither containing turquoise), and decided to use the Buttercup pattern from Made by Rae.  I was worried about the cotton being too weak for a purse, so I sewed in a layer of home decor weight fabric from my stash in between the exterior and the lining.

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Doesn't it just look so cute hanging with all the stockings? ^_^

<3 Kelsey

My first completed quilt!

My mother-in-law is a big fan of lighthouses. Her house is full of little lighthouse models and lighthouse themed decor. So when I decided I wanted to make her a quilt for Christmas, I began to look for lighthouse-themed fabrics. Then I found a single yard of this on Etsy (forgot to take a before, so you can already see the quilting lines on it in this picture. Oops!):

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I really loved this fabric as it reminded me of a little new england town. (My husbands family lives in New Hampshire.) But I couldn't think of a way I wanted to cut this on a top that wouldn't destroy the picture or wasn't too simple. So I ended up deciding to use it on the back where I could leave it as one piece, and designed my own lighthouse-themed quilt top.

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I'm really pleased with how it came out. I love that it looks like a lighthouse, but uses blocks rather than a more literal applique.  If I did it again, however, I'd use yellow and white for the lights rather than two shades of yellow - it would make the lights seem brighter.  I also think this would look great using Kona Ash for the sashing and border instead of the blue, but the blue lent it a more traditional feel that I felt would go better with her home. The top is almost entirely Kona solids.

Here is the pieced back using that fabric I initially found:

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And here it is happily sitting on my mother-in-law's recliner:

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The lighting isn't the greatest, but that is what you get when you're in New Hampshire in the middle of winter. :)

It is quilted in straight lines along the blocks using a light grey thread. I didn't want to use blue as I thought it would look funny on the green back. If I knew how to FMQ better, I'd do water inspired FMQ in the sashing instead of straight lines, but I've never done any FMQ other than all over stippling and didn't have the time to practice. I made this quilt in less than 3 weeks (2 if you exclude hand finishing the binding when I could steal away after we got to my in-laws). Not bad for being sick. :)

I decided to use a ladder stitch instead of a whip stitch to finish off my binding because I liked the look, but it leaves me wondering - is there a specific reason people use whip stitch instead other than it being faster? 

Firsts:
  • Completed quilt (!!)
  • Machine quilting straight lines with my new walking foot.
  • Making my own starch from scratch.
  • Washing a quilt.

Things I learned making this quilt:
  • Don't just mix our cornstarch into cold water,  it doesn't suspend the same and leave a nasty white residue all over your fabric.
  • The above white residue does wash off when you are done. 
  • Just buy starch - making your own from cornstarch and water is a major hassle. ;)
  • Get a spray bottle that has a hand pump, not a finger pump - or you'll get a really sore index finger.
  • Put something under your ironing board when you steam iron in your starch - or your work surface will end up covered in starch residue.
  • (At least some brands of) furniture polish will remove starch residue from said table.
  • Make your blocks slightly larger than you intend the final block to be and then trim down. A couple of my house blocks were slightly narrower than they were supposed to be once sewn, and if I had cut my blue on the sides of the light a little wider than needed it would have been fine.
  • You can find some really cool old fabrics on Etsy. :)

<3 Kelsey

Linking up for Hoo's Got Talent. :)