Monday, September 26, 2011

Designing madness

I am now up to five quilt designs - none of which I've found online or in books.  As far as I know, they are original.  Which brings me to my dilemma: at what point do I attempt to sell these designs?  I know I should have the quilts done - not just to test the patterns, but to make sure that they look exactly like I want, and to have a picture of the finished quilt on the cover of the pattern.

Tonight is a night for working late at the day job - computers not terribly helpful today - so there will not be much happening this evening at home. 

At the rate I am going, I will have more patterns in a very short time.  I need to find a way to sew and quilt more.  Anyone want to do my household chores?  ;)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quilt.. quilt... quilt.. repeat

This weekend I accomplished nothing in the way of actually SEWING, but I did buy more fabric.  Technically it's fabric for the next two quilts, so it's okay.  There's a use planned for every piece I bought.  I just have to finish the Massive Quilt-o'-Doom first.

Oh, and there was inspiration for yet another quilt.  I just have to think on it some.... 

Anyway, here's the fabric for the next quilt, which will probably be called Baby's Day Out.  Grays and blue-grays.  Deliberately so.  Baby will be various shades of green, and there will be spots of color in a few locations... in my mind's eye, I see the finished product already.

Oh, and there is actually another next next quilt.  I am just not sure if the pattern will work yet.  And I am trying to limit myself to only three future quilts at a time.  I think I am about to violate that, but hey, why not?  It's a goal, right?  Plus, if I am thinking about designing quilt patterns, I should have a stock of patterns with completed quilts to show, right?  That's my excuse right now, anyway.

So, that's where my weekend went - wandering around, seeing cool and interesting things - oh, yeah.

We road-tripped this weekend to the Texas Hill Country.  We stayed at a FABULOUS Bed and Breakfast - Jolly's Haus - oh, so comfy there!  We wandered around Fredericksburg and shopped some, and went to see a bat emergence, which was TOTALLY cool despite the noisy and unruly children.  We went to an estate sale, where I found two folding rocking chairs.  (Cute and functional!  Pics later!)  Spent my roommate's birthday wandering the countryside at quilt stores and fudge shoppes (I think Fredericksburg survives on wine and chocolate!), and on the way back today stopped at Longhorn Caverns and took a hike through a cavern carved by an underground river.   Again, seriously neat and interesting and cool despite a child who decided halfway through that he was afraid.

Along the way, saw a live skunk - a little one - crossing the road.  He/she was cute!  And since we cruised the Hill Country during the evening, we saw LOTS of deer.  Didn't hit any, which is good, because those things will run right out in front of you!  Lots of cows, lots of goats, and lots of horses.  All in all, a good weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

...she finally posts a tutorial!

Right.  So.  Massive Quilt-o'-Doom is rocking along just fine, but my finger is tired of being stabbed and my eyes are telling me it's time to quit for the night.  Besides, I have other stuff to do!  Like posting this exceedingly long overdue tutorial for my version of the pennant banner.  I am still working on the Halloween one - might have it done by Monday.  Maybe.  No promises.

Anyway, on to the tutorial!

My version, obviously… for cube decorating and backs of chairs and for wherever you need or want them to go!  It’s a simple thing, really.  There isn’t a “hard” part, just the time consuming part (picking fabrics and patchworking them together)
1.       Print the pattern (and enlarge, if desired) downloadable from Google docs.

2.       Pick your fabrics (of all the steps, the most fun, other than hanging the finished product up)!

3.       Stitch fabrics together in patchwork – try to be random and go for small patchwork so you can see several fabrics on each of the pennants.  Press  the seams open. (just like you do with all your quilting-type projects, right?  RIGHT?). 

4.       Trace the pattern and cut out pennants from patchwork and from back fabrics.  It's easy - just like cutting out anything else.  I wasn't particularly particular (if that makes sense) about it.  As long as the front and back pretty much matched up, I could jerryrig it.  I'm okay with that.  If you're the type that has to be perfect about everything... well... go for it.  You have my blessings.  (I'll just mention that several societies - as distinct and disparate as the Arabs and the Irish - tend to believe that perfection cannot be attained by mankind, but only by god(s), so everything they do is slightly flawed.  Just sayin'.)

5.      Lay out lace/trim along front fabric, cut to fit.  Pin lace/trim between front and back fabrics, which should be right sides together.  (That would be a given, one would think, but best to include it here!  You never know!)

6. Stitch the triangles with lace, leaving the top open for easy turning.  Following that, turn the triangles right side out.  How easy was that?!  It's all good - we're getting close to being done, believe it or not.  From here, repeat for each pennant you want to make.                                                                             

   7.  Grab your bias tape/binding/ribbon that you'll be using to suspend the pennants from.  Mark desired distance between pennants on bias tape/binding.  Place pennants onto bias tape and fold bias tape over.   Stitch with desired stitching close to edge, capturing tops of each pennant in bias tape.

Here's mine.  Almost done!  Although you can't really see it here, the stitch I used was a decorative one - a vine and leaves pattern.  Because I could, and I think it adds something when you look at it in real life. 

On mine, I used a commercial pattern for acorns to make small acorns to hang between the pennants.  The same thing could be done with pumpkins, jingle bells, or anything else that your mind desires.   The Halloween one will have little pumpkins.  Probably.  Maybe ghosts.  We shall see.

Hopefully this tutorial is clear and easy to follow.  If not, let me know and I'll make what changes seem needed.  And maybe I'll get more stuff done, now!  (Right, off to work on my September sewing project).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More designs?! Really?

I really need to sew faster.  And win the lottery so I can get a quilting machine and stand, so I can quilt as fast as the ideas are flowing.

Yes... there are now two more ideas in the queue.  One can easily be postponed.  The other... well, let's just say that I was enthusiastic enough to make a test piece to make sure it did exactly what I thought it would.  And it did.  I have quilt pattern!  (yayayayay! arms flailing like Kermit the Frog). 

But... but... I'm not done with the Massive Quilt-o'-Doom yet!  *sigh*  Right, right... put other ideas down.  Step away from the ideas.  But... it's so lovely!  And it's not something I think I've ever seen before!  (I'm almost afraid to post a pic, so I won't.  Not yet, anyway).  Right now, the newest one (the one that I made a test piece for) is called Boston Molasses Flood.  With a few minor color changes it will be called Isaac's Storm, after the Galveston Hurricane of the early 1900's.  Both events happened in the early 1900's, so there's one connection.  All the flooding and damage is another. 

I have the tutorial for the pennants almost done - except that I left the pattern piece at work, so I can't scan it in currently, which means I couldn't supply it, which I want to do... so that will have to wait for tomorrow.  And I really need to get my stamp made.  Yeah, I'm going to dabble my toes in the selling of patterns and finished stuffus.  Soon I will jump onto the Etsy wagon (and hope I don't ever wind up on the Regretsy page.  If you've never been there, GO.  Really).

But boy... I really need to get a move on!  Halloween pennant being worked on, September sewing project being worked on, Steampunk-ish jacket being worked on (well, I cut out the pattern today, does that count?), and MQ-o'-D being worked on.  Oh, and the beginnings of a doll. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

... she designs stuff

More patterns!  Yeah, I know... I have so much I should be doing - and I did!  I worked on quilting for a LONG time this weekend.  The massive quilt-o'-doom is coming along.

Which is a good thing.  I now have three quilt designs I want to try.  Two are fully fleshed out, down to fabric choices and everything.  The other one is slightly more nebulous, because it involves several different appliques which I am also having to design. 

I am thrilled in one way - I begin to think that I COULD design quilts.  Maybe not for a LIVING, but I could maybe sell a few.  I just need to be a faster quilter!  Or find other people who like to quilt who could help me out.  :)  At any rate, I need to finish the designs completely - figure out yardage, and applique patterns, and all that stuff.  Write up instructions.  See what the actual pieced part looks like put together and all.

And get a stamp made.  I need to scan my design as a higher quality pic first, so I CAN get it made. 

No pics today.  Maybe this evening.  We'll see.  I pulled fabric for the Halloween tiny banner last night, so I will try to get that started, too. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

.. she goes fabric shopping

Oh, dear... more fabric.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  I have too much fabric already.  BUT.  It's really cool and pretty and I have a use in mind for about half of it already, and... and...  yeah.  I bought more fabric.

On the plus side, we drove to Denton to a quilt store - my roomie wanted to show them her quilt, because last time we were there she told them about it and they asked to see it.  I took pics of the current massive quilt-o'-doom (halfway quilted now, yay!) and my IPad, with the rough sketch for the Baby Godzilla quilt.  (Or as I am coming to think of it, Baby's Day Out.).  They were amazed that I was designing my own quilts and told me I should start selling quilt patterns.  Yoiks!  Really??  Both women independently said so, and the other ladies shopping were impressed with the design too.  I didn't think it was all that awe inspiring, but *shrug* we shall see.  So.  Now I have to finish the quilt-o'-doom and then the Baby's Day Out quilt and make a coherent pattern/instructions for it.  And then move on to the next one, which is one I merely thought about earlier, and now am considering doing for real.  Although I'd have to get better at applique work first.  :)

So, apparently I have the glimmerings of a plan. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

... Crafting Condor?

 Crafty Condor?  Something?  I want this as my stamp for patterns and stuff.  Because I think he's cute!  (I also made a Christmas version for cards and so on... because I could).  I like his little spats and the fact that he seems to be smiling.

There's that done, then!  Stamp stamp stamp stamp! 

And managed to finish two other "hey, I am bored" type projects, including the one mentioned in the last post.  I went home that night and started, and now I have the finished version.  No letters on this pennant, because I'm too lazy to get out the embroidery machine and figure it out right now.

The banner of pennants for fall.  I wanted something to decorate my cube, and here it is!  Short and simple, it's all of four pennants long and five acorns.  It's all made of scrap fabric, with tea-dyed lace around the edges of the pennants.  It's cute, and for once, it's actually what I saw in my mind's eye.  Since that happens so rarely, I will take it!
I'm pretty sure I'll wind up making more for various holidays/seasons/etc.  Oh, and ignore the state of my cube... it's a little messy.  Work and all, y'know.  Here's a closer view of one of the pennants:  I think they came out rather well, actually.
And.... more pics!  More finished projects!  (Well, one more, anyawy...).   I made a pair of spats.  Not steam-punk spats, but "I want something to keep my ankles warm during winter and be bright and cheerful at the same time" spats.  :)  Pink isn't usually my thing, but I like the fabric.  It's striped on the other side.  They are completely reversable, with buttons on both sides.  The pattern was one I made up... it's not perfect yet.  I have a revamp of the pattern, so when I make pair #2, they should fit better and go higher up my leg.  But these work for a first attempt!
The other thing I finished was a new needlecase based on the purselet pattern.  Pics of that one later, because there are already lots of pics here!  And one again, I have tutorials in mind... just have to get around to doing them!

Tonight I SHOULD have time to work on the massive quilt... hopefully. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

... she makes patterns

Working away today, before lunch break... and idea for decorating my cube for autumn and thanksgiving and so forth... and Halloween.  Definitely Halloween.  Anyway... decoration idea happens.  And since I have myself half-convinced I can make anything I see, I decide I shall.

The plan is this: make little pennants on a string to decorate with.  They sound cheesy, I admit it.  In my mind's eye, however, they are a work of beauty.  I will most likely be ultimately disappointed, as rarely do the physical manifestations of my ideas match the actual brain candy, BUT I am going to do it!  Patchworked in either silk or cotton, depending on how the silk works, backed with appropriate fabric, embroidered with letters for FALL or WINTER or HALLOWEEN or whatever.  Add little buttons at the bottoms or bells or acorns... and string them together.  I will like them.  I may even add the tea-dyed lace I got at an estate sale, depending on the front patchwork. 

I think maybe the right orange and black combo, old-fashioned looking, with tea-dyed lace might be kinda neat.  Old-fashioned lettering...  Or maybe do a black and white one with black lace... hmm...

Having decided I will do this, I needed pattern.  Not terribly complex, obviously, since it's just a bunch of triangles.  But I want the RIGHT size and the right proportions... and so on.  A few shapes later, I have my finished size pennant.  A few minor adjustments for seam allowance and I am done.  Wheee!  All during lunch break!

I have this urge to get a stamp for my patterns, labeling them mine.  :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

... she makes lists

Today's list - things I need to do tonight.  And this weekend... and projects I want to make.  And things I want to learn how to do...

It is going to come down to prioritizing.  Which of the things on my list do I consider more important?  Which things am I willing to let slide so I can do others?  Am I willing to let 'take blinds down' go so I have time for 'work on quilt'?  There's only so much time in a day, and only so much motivation to get me through.  :) 

I'm not going to whine about not having enough time.  The truth is, I HAVE enough time.  It's just USING that time to do the things I say I want to do and will do.  That means less time on the computer just piddling and more time doing those things I want to do.  Or re-doing my lists of things I want to do. 

Last night was chore night.  Dusting, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms... that sort of thing.  It needed doing, and doing it makes me feel better.  Yup, that whole clean house helps depression thing.  *shrug*  Open blinds, consider taking them down.   And yes, it made me feel better.  But there's only so much cleaning that can be done in an evening.  There's still so much left to do.  Again, the prioritizing.  Which do I value more in my time - mopping the kitchen (which isn't even my chore to do) or quilting?  The answer is... well, yet to be determined, honestly.  It will depend on how I feel when I get home.  Right now, my list for the night only includes 5 things, including dinner, so I could do both quilting and mopping.  We'll see....

The bigger thing about prioritizing is this: I want to learn all sorts of fabulous things!  I have to find a way to free up time for that.  And still have time to read, clean, sew, and make.  Boredom doesn't seem like it would be an issue, does it?  :)

But the truth of it all is that no matter how many lists, no matter how much prioritizing I do, there is always more.  More things to do.  More to learn.  More life that feels like it's escaping while my back is turned....  I am not dissatified with life.  I am just... always wanting to learn and do more.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

...she wanders

This weekend was First Monday, in Canton, Texas.  It's gone on for years and years, and it's relatively close to home.  So we went.  (Yay! Giant flea market and stuff!)

We spent 5 hours solid walking the First Monday grounds and didn't see anywhere NEAR everything.  However... I did manage to purchase a couple of interesting things, and got LOTS of exercise.

I got: a McCoy goat planter - small, but elegant.  I like goats, what can I say?  :)  Also, a lightweight bow that I will be using (hopefully) in a different form out at faire.  Hopefully.  And an automatic rug hook needle that's really scary looking!   And... we had to go to a fabric store.  Of course.  I didn't buy any material, but I did get buttons.  For projects.  Honest.

It was a little weird.  We stayed at my Grandmother's house.  She died earlier this year, and there's not much left in the house.  We slept on air mattresses, and I lay awake the first night thinking "What will I do if I hear her?"  Not that I did.  And I thought "Well, she wouldn't be a ghost.  She has no reason to stick around."  I slept all right, but it was still a little weird.  I was okay until the morning we came home.  Then I got stressed out a little.  Getting pulled over for speeding didn't help.  (oops!  Just a warning from the nice state trooper, but still!)

I have hopes of quilting and stuff today.  And working on a hat.  And making little purselets.  And taking pictures of some of my stuff.  We'll see if it happens.  I might wind up sitting on my butt at the computer, playing games!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Craft Area

Eeek!  Also known as... that area that is NEVER clean, no matter HOW hard we try! 

We've got LOTS of crafts in the works, obviously.  This mess is past of our shelving/cubes... holds books, sewing machines, and stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.  Beads, ribbons, magazines, the aftermentioned books, fabric, glue guns (about 7 now, I think), bobbin lace equipment, dolls either finished or part finished, mannikin headsm and at times, like now, a quilt square or two.

There's the requisite cat on the floor (say Hello, Belanna!  Yeah, yeah, whatever....), and fabric scraps for the cat to lay on/play with/completely ignore.  And cat treats on the table to make sure she stays out of the current project.

And on this side of the room, more sewing machines, and dressers full of quilting fabric.  Yup.  Over two hundred yards, currently, thanks to a good buy at an estate sale.

It's not tidy by any stretch, and it's small.  (Though you can't see the cutting table or the pattern boxes underneath said cutting table, or the other fabric storage...). 


It suffices.  We do rather well here.  We get things done, dream up new things to do, and discuss things to do.  We find homes for everything we have.  Kinda.

And yes, a lot of the time it is actually neater than this, but I thought I would show it in the "normal" state when one or both of us are working.

So here it is.  Craft area/sewing area/"what am I supposed to do with this" area.

Wrist straps and such

I made several wrist purses recently.  When I showed one to a co-worker, she said "Oh, you should make the little strap to put your id badge on."

So I did.  :)  Because it only took a few minutes and really didn't cost anything but those few minutes.

Here's the prototype - a strap that fits over my hand but isn't too too loose, and the back of my badge.  :)  Oh, and a skull button detail because I was using pirate treasure map fabric and it just felt right.   Several of my co-workers have commented on them, so we shall see.  I might also make a few lanyard-types to fling around the neck, because the beaded ones are pretty but tend to pull. 

I picked up the fabric for the Burda jacket - a nice brown striped linen.  So nice.  I am looking forward to it.  But tonight is quilting.  MUST work on quilt.

If another strap gets made, well.... that won't take TOO long.  Just have to decide what fabric to use that will go with the copper clip.  Or gold. Hmmm...

And maybe even pics of the craft/sewing area in what was once the living room.