Thursday, July 31, 2008

Butter Boat

Today I thought I would share a bit of crafting by my guy. During our trip he got the hankering for a little crafting, next thing I know he is carving a wee boat. It’s a pretty cool little boat with a keel and most importantly it floats! I guess I am not the only crafter in the family, and based off the three day carving marathon I can say that I am not the only craft-o-holic in this house.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Cow Bell!

My guy and I are back from a delicious week in upstate New York where many a project was finished. As you all know by now I hate finishing work…sewing in ends, fusing with bindings, blocking. I like the meat of the project; the planning and creating stage once that’s done the oomph goes out of my sail. I think part of my hopes in blogging about my projects was to encourage, okay obligate me to finish some stuff up.

With that in mind we set off for a relaxing week with my project bag overflowing with finishing work. I am happy to report that I sewed in all the ends to the little sweater and I FINISHED THAT DARN BABY QUILT. As predicted once I got serious about finishing that binding Sara’s little tadpole made his grand entrance! Congratulations he is beautiful!

Perhaps the best part about finishing any project is the finial triumphant moment: the ringing of the cow bell moment. And because our friend's Bill and Michelle are the type to have a cowbell in their house I was actually able to ring in my triumph in style.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Speaking Terms

I am happy to report that the quilt and I are now back on speaking terms. The little tadpole that this quilt is for has decided to make a late entrance into the world and I can’t help feeling responsible, I mean who wants to be born into a world without your very own quilt? So hear my words little guy it is ok to come out your quilt will be done very soon.
As with most things that frustrate me in life I needed a little break. I needed to walk away and not look at it for a bit so I could come back with a rational mind. I consulted with my sister on my next move, which in hindsight is pretty funny seeing how: A: she does not live here and can’t see the problem and B: has sewing skills but isn’t going teach a sewing class anytime soon. But her advice was based on the frantic tone in my voice on the message and her 32 years of experience with her crazy craft-o-holic sister, she said go back, make it square, and then move forward. As she pointed out I am always happier ripping out the sweater then living with the mistake for years to come. And the moment I heard her say it I knew she was right. I was filled with relief that I wasn’t going to have to try to make this work, that I was allowed to make it better.
So I ripped out the binding and then set about squaring it up. I am now sewing the binding on by hand which gives me a little more wiggle room when it comes to lining things up. Why is it that fixing funky crafting problems always comes down to sewing by hand?
My guy and I are taking off for a nice week alone in the country and I am pretty sure that when I return this quilt will be done! And with any luck the tadpole will be born.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

G May be Hard

I was thought those monogrammed cards where just so darn cute that I had to make myself some. Now the letter G may be tricky to work with in a monogram but fortunately I don’t need one with my cool Mahka Crafts logo.

Aren’t these nifty!

My First Monogram

My guys cousin is getting married this coming weekend and I have been trying to help out with all that last minute wedding stuff. I volunteered to make the programs, mostly cause it meant I could go to all my favorite paper shops in the city.

The mother of the bride requested a monogram at the top of the program. The only monograms I have ever made were when I went through a period in middle school where I wanted a cool logo from my initials, it never quite worked because G are hard to work with, but I digress.

My technology was holding me back so I went to the big tech guru, my dad. Yup, I know what you are thinking a father having more tech skills then his kid is impossible and all I have to say to that is not in my family, trust me. My dad loves computers of all kinds and he loves design programs even more. So I set off to make a monogram. After explaining what a monogram is to my father (if Frank Lloyd Wright or the Eames' didn’t do it he is pretty clueless, plus he has a pretty strong ability to ignore things existence that he doesn’t find esthetically pleasing) we were on our way.

He showed me some fancy photoshop layering moves that allowed us to move each letter individually. We spent quite a bit of time debating font and white space, in other words we had a blast! It was the perfect daddy daughter quality time.

After having the programs printed and cut I still had some paper left over. So I took the new monogram and made it into cards for the bride and groom. I think they are pretty neat. In fact I think they are so neat that I am thinking of revisiting the world of personal logo’s again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh Fickle Crafting

The quilt and I are currently not speaking. It is really for the best that it stays safely on top my sewing machine while I calm down and stop cursing. The problem is that while embracing Gees Bend for the blocks I am not so willing to do that for the finish. This was an exercise in controlled imperfection and right now it is not controlled. By having the entire blocks be a little more irregular the outer edge has become a bit irregular, doing a binding edge instead of a rolled over edge demands things line up, hence we are not speaking.

The good news is for the Last Minute Gift sweater which I finished when I needed to feel like a craft and I were getting along. Isn’t it cute!

All that is left is sewing in the ends, which I admit is not my favorite thing to do but given the fact that I can’t speak to the quilt right now sewing in ends sounds great.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Quilting Mania

Things that are working in my favor:
1) First babies are often late

2) First time moms are so distracted by their baby that they don’t notice you haven’t sent the goods

3) Babies in California don’t really need baby quilts in the summer, if ever

Things that are not working in my favor:
1) I have never done a binding on a baby quilt before, I have always done a rolled edge
2) I keep sticking myself with all those pins and have to try not to bleed on quilt

3) The water in my building has been out all day due to street work. (true this doesn’t directly relate to my troubles but I feel a good shower would help a lot)

As of right now I have managed to do the crazy diagonal sewing to make one long strip, despite many miss-sews which I blame on the lack of water. I have managed to secure the very long strip to the quilt top AND not bleed on the quilt. I am now ready to sew the binding edge down. So here is the question for the day: do I drink before or after sewing the edge?

Knitting Maverick?

Is it just me or does everyone ditch the pattern half-way through? I have been working on my little sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts this week. I was diligently following the pattern though the main body and sleeves but then it came to attaching the sleeves and decreasing for the shoulders and well, what can I say? I hate the way patterns are written. In my perfect world I think knitting patterns would be completely written in a combination of plain English and pictograms.

I am a fan of the conversational pattern that doesn’t force you to follow hard rules but rather makes suggestions like Elizabeth Zimmerman or the Wonderful Wallaby pattern (only my favorite pattern of all time!). So I changed the pattern. I love the sweater but hated the way she had me add additional stitches for the placket. So I picked them up behind the front of what will be the placket, much cleaner and cuter.

It is funny how I have absolutely no problem winging sweater patterns all willy-nilly but when it comes to crochet I am absolutely stymied. And when it comes to putting a real binding on a quilt instead of just rolling over the edge I am down right cagy and have to wait for the calming crafting presents of Amber and Ben before I even think of beginning.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Baby Blitz

I suppose some of it is due to my age but it seems that everyone I know is either having a little one or trying to have a little one. This means I am making a lot of little things these days, which leads folks to believe that either I am having or trying to have a little one. To my mother’s great sighs this is not the case. But I admit I am very happy to be a fairy godmother to many.
The best thing about making things for little ones is speed. I love quick crafting accomplishments especially after battling with some bigger long term projects like the beast.
This sweater is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts which is for once living up to its title; I have put in less than 2 knitting days and I already have the bulk of the body done and have just started sleeve #1. It is going to be for a UK bun in the oven coming into the world around October (aren’t we very impressed at how ahead of the game I am on this one!).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Now That the Cat is Out of the Bag

Now that the cat is out of the bag on secrete sewing project #1 I thought I would share the next level of indecision: quilt borders. Alright I just admitted it is a quilt but I think she already new that…
My problem with quilt borders is I can never really predict them before hand when I am buying fabric for the top. This means I either buy way too much fabric in the hope that one will reveal itself as the perfect border or I, as is the current case, don’t even try to think about it until the top is done.
Unfortunately the latter approach leads us to today level of indecision: five fabric potentials. In my defense (don’t you love how I always have one) I did whittle it down before the finial cut of five and one of those puppies is going to be the back so really I only have three extra fabrics and I think one may be the back for the next quilt I do. Oh the excuses.

The good news is I have a border and backing winner (to be revealed soon). The quilt now has borders and is nicely sandwich and pinned ready to quilt!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Secrete Sewing Project #1

This is all I can show you of secrete sewing project #1

It is for my most faithful reader whose Bun is due to come to come out of the oven any minute now.

This has been a year of big learning for me. I have had to learn to set limits and say uncle instead of gritting my teeth through whatever crazy thing I have found myself and I have had to learn to ask other for help. It turns out I hate asking for help, unless it is craft related help. Recently, I have had several experiences where I realize that crafting is almost always better with others.

I have been having some motivational issues with secrete sewing project #1. I have had the fabric since January and really it has all been washed and cut since February but it wasn’t until my friend Amber and her son started coming over for some crafting time that I actually started making progress. And it wasn’t until a fabric shortage prompted the words “why not Gees Bend it” that things got interesting.

Now for the record this is a really big growth moment in my crafting that I am sharing with you all. From that little picture you can see that there are some serious non matching seams going on, in the past this would not be something I could stand but today I sewed them purposely. I have always loved and admired the ease of the Gees Bend quilt, the beauty in the mismatch, yet the controlled perfectionist in me could never have let it happen. Maybe I thought that others wouldn’t see it as purposeful or maybe it always seemed like a glaring error that told all that I wasn’t perfect and maybe this is a discussion for another day in therapy. But today let us celebrate non perfection! I admit it is still controlled imperfection, artfully placed here and there but it is still a big step.

This will all make more sense in the next few weeks once I finish secrete sewing project #1 and get it mailed off and can reveal more. But until then lets all hear it for collective crafting and bending the rules every once and awhile.