Friday, January 29, 2010

'Fess Up Fridays - Beat The Babies (Wk 4)

I don't want to spend too much time 'fessing up...I'd rather be across the room sewing! :o)

And the longer I sit in this chair, the greater the probability that I will not get up.

(Maybe I shouldn't have turned on the massage function??)

(But, oh, it feels SO nice on my pregnant back!)

(I am envisioning hours upon hours zipping away from me as my aches upon aches melt away...)




Okay, then. Back to reality. So I spent all that time Tuesday night measuring, and drawing, and erasing, and coloring, and taping my mock-ups...and it turns out that I kinda didn't really need to do that. I spent the better part of Thursday night surfing the web, looking at various wonky log cabin designs and samples, and I realized that if I'm going to do this right, I need to be A LOT more improvisational than my Tuesday night plans would allow. I think I was a bit too analytical about it all. A little bit too perfectionist.

I know, shocking.

After I decided that, yes, I could do this, I got up from the computer, rearranged the stuff on my dining room table, and set about the business of improvisational quilting. Modern quilting. Scary quilting! :o)  Remember how I said I needed all that guidance? And whined about how there was very little guidance? It's just tough for me because there is pretty much NOTHING I can prepare in advance! Which, again, has to be the way it is if I am going to make this quilt honoring Angela and her baby. If I want to make something that reflects her personality, and the beauty that is Angela, then I need to leave myself behind and follow...well...nothing.  Follow my heart, I guess. Follow my impulse.

Impulse. What's that? Do I have any of that?

But to make this wonky log cabin, it's sew, then cut, then sew, then cut, then sew, then cut. Log by log. Block by block. Just like that. No plan. No stack of pre-cut strips to take from. No template. Just go with the flow.

(hurts to even type that!)

But I'm doing it!  And here's the proof.

First round of "logs", before I wonkified it:

And after I very slightly, ever so timidly wonkified it:

And here it is after the second round of logs, pre-wonkification. You can sorta-kinda start to see the wonkiness coming through:

And here it is post-wonkification.

With each level of logs, if I choose to wonkify, it will wonk the block up more and more. My plan (and hope) is to have a range of wonkiness. I'm trying to get away from symmetry and pattern and form. I know in the end this is going to be a beautiful quilt, and I will be a better person for stepping out of my comfort zone to make it unique.

But first I must step away from this computer. And away from this massage chair. Where I might or might not be planning to spend every waking moment for the next 4 months.

9:38pm Edited to add:
I have finished my first block!! (Can you hear the trumpets toot-toot-ta-ta-tooting?) :o)

Except for the part where I'm not sure how much I like the stark-white in the midst of all that off-whiteness, I think I like it! It's not nearly as wonky as I expected it to be, which is a direct result of my ultra-conservative wonkifying, but I think it might appear more wonky once I add the black border and sashing.

And I am SO glad I spent all that time researching last night because when I came up against a critical error growth opportunity, I knew how to...say it with me...IMPROVISE!!  For some of the fabrics, I'm using strips that I won in a blog contest back in April. The tiny black dot on the outside is one of those winner strips. And it's awesome, and I'm glad to have them, and I have a wonderful variety of them in a vast range of blacks and whites. Except I have mostly only one strip of each.  And when I ran too short of that one strip...
I knew just what to do! Yay! Thank you Interwebs and Bloggy Buddies!
I just inserted a piece of fabric to make the last log long enough! Brilliant, eh? I don't plan on running out every time, so I don't think this extra piece will be a recurring theme, but it might. We'll see.

I'm improvising as I go...

Friday, January 22, 2010

'Fess Up Fridays - Beat The Babies (Wk 3)

You'd think with all this attrocious weather we've been having here in southern California that I would have gotten more sewing done, but my body just wants to sit, feet up, under a warm blanket and forget about the howls and pelts and backyard furniture tipping over.  So, no. Not as productive of a week as I had hoped.

And because all 4 of you are desperately waiting to find out what I decided to do about the bathroom-rug blanket from the last post, I have decided to err on the side of laziness and leave it like it is and just pray that Angela likes it enough to at least use it, and doesn't secretly donate it to a children's home, or something!

As for the baby quilt I'm going to make her, I've been a bit paralyzed in my quilt top design (What? Me? Can't make a decision? Say it isn't so!!)  Hah. So, what I (brilliantly) decided to do was to scan the fabrics I have and I'm going to cut out the printouts and make paper quilt blocks so I don't cut the fabric and then regret my decision! Especially since I've got two retired fabrics and a pile of others carefully selected off the internet! It's not like I can just run up the street to Joann's and grab some more.  So, hopefully that goes well. It's just that I have the confidence of a church mouse when it comes to big artistic things like this. So, I did that, but I'm putting it aside for a week.

Because...I've got a LOT of other work to get done if I want to send stuff for Angela's shower next weekend! I found more fun flannels for receiving blankets than I wanted to, and had to whittle down my decision to 4, and I will use 2 of those to also make some fun burp cloths.

Even though I want to vegetate tonight (like I did Wednesday night instead of sewing!), I am planning on getting each of these pieces of fun flannel sewn into receiving blankets tonight. Planning being the key word, there! :o)

And in the midst of my search for uni-gender flannels, I came across some yummsterlicious butter yellow satin and matching soft minkee which is going to be the snuggle blanket I was planning to make. I'm planning to wrap the satin around to the front and do a self-binding.  (and I have enough to make one for sweet will that be that Ang's baby and my baby will have matching blankies?!)'s the internal debate I would like your opinion on: do I (A) make the snuggly and send it now (for her shower), or do I (B) wait till I know the baby's name and embroider the baby's name on the binding and then send it immediately? (I think I can do most of it ahead of time and machine embroider the name later).

What say you? Name or no name?

Hope you have a great, productive, super crafty weekend!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Well, Alley Approves!

(Warning: this is largely a stream-of-conscious post. Good luck following my train of thought!)

So I'm almost finished with the stroller blanket I'm making for my best friend's new baby, and I have not only struggled with the new type of fabric (hairier than any German Shepherd I've ever met!) (and stretchy, too!), but I've also struggled with not being confident that Angela will love it as much as I do.

I know it's totally simple, so there's really not much to love (or hate, I suppose). And she picked out the Alexander Henry Diamond Eye fabric...but she didn't pick out the reminds-me-of-my-bathroom-mat red minkee for the backside. :o)

I know black/white/red is supposed to be the ideal color combination for new babies, and the soft fabric, and bold pattern, and a couple of textures will delight the little budding genius.  But what I don't know is if Angela will love it because I made it, or because it's awesome.

I think it's awesome. But I tend to like more traditional color combinations, like black/white/red. She tends to go for the bolder, modern, retro color combinations. Like her wedding colors were brown and green. They were stupendously awesome together, and she did an amazing job of creating a perfectly coordinated wedding, and I love that color combination now, but it just didn't turn my head before her big day, you know?

I've gone back and forth and back and forth, again about whether or not the red was the right color for the backing. I could have gone with white, but the AH is not a true white, and it's too dingy to kinda/sorta go, you know?  And I know I could have ordered any number of colors from the web, but I didn't want to blindly order "off-white" and not like it. And I could have gone with an orange (again from the web), but, well, I was kinda doofy about that. Basically, I just didn't think about it! I went with the VERY BASIC color selection of minkee fabrics at my local Joann's, and fell for the red.  Am I a bad friend for not going the extra mile and ordering the orange from the web, so that her baby would have yet another black/white/orange thing for its room? Or for not ordering off-white from the web and hoping that it would be "off" enough to go with the front fabric?

I've got another piece of the AH Diamond Eye. Should I just order the orange minky dot off the web, and start over?

Help. I can't make this decision alone!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

'Fess Up Fridays - Beat The Babies (Wk 2)

Doggone it, this week went fast!  For you, too? Did you get much accomplished? I made some Christmas thank you cards for Mookie to send out. Come to think of it, I'm pretty good at making Christmas cards when I've got sewing to do! :o)

As for beating the babies, I learned a bit of disturbing exciting news -- my best friend, Angela, is having her baby shower on January 31st! Since we live about 1200 miles apart, I'm not going to be able to make it (though I so desperately wish I could! It kills me that we're not together for her first pregnancy!)...but I'm hoping that some of my handiwork will make it to the shower. :o)

Before I learned that, however, I went ahead and washed and ironed all the fabric for the wonky crooked lumpy cabin idea. And by "ironed", I mean cursed at the deep, deep creases that seem to have taken up permanent residence in the fabrics after washing. It irritates me. I need to figure out what I'm doing wrong. Or buy a new iron, one of the two! :o)  I've got some more black-and-white strips from another quilter who was giving them away on her blog, so they're not included here, but below is the photo of the fabrics I purchased for this quilt.

I'm really hoping all of the oranges go together well and don't totally clash when I'm finished!  The only one I'm really worried about is that light one next to the black/white (that looks like wallpaper). I think the others will be fine.  What do you think? (hint: leave comment below)

On that note, though, I've kinda-sorta-semi-quasi-pseudo decided to do a "quilt-along" with Randi at i have to say. I'm going to have to deviate, though, and go off-the-grid and make my own pattern, so I won't be 100% along with her, but I'm sure I can learn a ton, and boy, do I need to learn a ton!

So, anyways, once I learned that I've got to work a bit quicker to beat the baby, I decided to shift my focus to the gifts I can actually, you know, complete and send to Ang at the shower. :o)

I'm going to have to do a teeny bit of flannel shopping this weekend (Danger, danger!), and I hope to find some really fun, gender-neutral, bright flannels.

But before I can do that, I need to start on the Diamond-Eye/Minkee stroller blanket. Which I hope to start tonight. Which requires that I finish this post. And then clean off the dining room/craft table to make room to cut my fabrics. And not give in to the tired that seems to be taking over my body at the moment!

Hopefully by next week, I'll have quite a bit more to show you!

Hope you have a great, productive, and crafty weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

'Fess Up Fridays - Beat The Babies (Wk 1)

Honestly, does your creativity end in December?  Does your need for handmade gifts end in December? Does your desire to buy new stuff use up what you've got end in December? Nope. Me neither.

So I decided to keep up 'Fess Up Fridays. And since I need a deadline goal, I'm going to be posting 'FUF - Beat The Babies edition.  And we all know that it's important for crafters to beat the babies, right? :o)

And by "beat the babies" you know that I mean that I have to complete the project before the baby recipient gets borned, right?  Okay, good. I didn't want anyone reporting me for baby abuse.

In my little world, I know of 4 babies getting borned sometime between now and June. Two boys, one girl (mine!), and one yet-to-be-revealed (dangit).

The first baby is due to my bestest friend, Angela, in early March. They're the meanies ones that want the gender to be a surprise. Ang has picked nursery colors to be in varying shades of orange, and is using black (and some white, if I recall correctly) furniture. She's going to be adding some other colors, too, to keep it from being too Halloween-y.

And, for the record, this is the baby whose gifts are going to be the most complex. Mostly because I'm probably going to be more generous with these babies than with (at least) two of the other babies. So, for now at least, I'm going to concentrate on beating Angela's baby.

Here's the list of desired gifts, not necessarily in baby-beating order: (Angela, you don't read my blog, right?)  :o)

  1. Crib quilt made with variety of fabrics, the focal point to be Katie Jump Rope Dots in Geranium.
  2. At least one, hopefully more, receiving blankets made of soft and snuggly flannel.
  3. Sweet burp cloths made with flannel to match the receiving blankets. (I much prefer the Gerber Premium Prefold Diapers for this.) (I only needed to make that mistake once!)
  4.  A snuggle blanket* with satin on one side and something like velour on the other. (It could be anywhere from 12" square to 36" square, depending on what I find) (Mookie absolutely adores her two like this)
  5. A stroller blanket with red minkee on one side, and the Alexander Henry Diamond Eye on the other.
And, well, yes, you are right. Her baby is due in about 8 weeks. And it's probably going to take me that many weeks of FuF-BtB to even get the fabric cut out for the crib quilt, much less COMPLETE any of the other projects!!


The good news is that I finally got the book with the pattern I want to use for the crib quilt. Angela is not as, hmmm...shall we say, symmetrical as I am. It's not that she's funky in an artsy-fartsy kind of way, it's just that she doesn't feel the need for everything to be as square symmetrical as I do. So I wanted a quilt pattern that would reflect the non-traditional, funky mom she is.  Thus, I've chosen to make a bit of a wonky, crooked log cabin, based on the quilt pattern by Denyse Schmidt. (She calls it "What A Bunch of Squares" in her book). Pat Sloan does one, too, called the Crooked Cabin.)

And, me? Making something "funky" or "wonky" or "crooked"? Is going to S-T-R-E-T-C-H me to the outer bounds of my comfort zone, and probably take me far, far away into a galaxy of discomfort the likes of which I have never seen.

But I am committed.

Or I will be committed after this project is done, one of the two! To the Funny Farm! :o)

And, so, hopefully, by next Friday, I will have made some progress, and can show you my handiwork! Hopefully!!

So, now it's your turn to 'fess up...what are you working on? Any babies deadlines you're trying to beat? :o)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcome to We Shall Sew...

This is my foray into quilting, and sewing in general.

"We Shall Sew" came from a moment of fear when I was about to cut some fabric for a quilt without a pattern (gasp!) and instead of saying "we shall see..." I said, "we shall sew..." and knew I had a name for a blog I didn't even know I wanted to have! :o)