June 27, 2013

Picnics over Duvets

Remember when I started the Dino Picnic quilt I said I had another project in mind for my next project?

I temporarily forgot about that project.  I'm not sure when I will get back to it.  It requires a lot of attention and planning and improvising and I'm not sure I have that brain power.  I have also fallen into a trap of purchasing new fabric.  I have quite a stash building up and for some reason it seems easier to use these and create some HSTs than to create a pattern on my own with improvised materials.

I'm giving myself a pass on that 'other project' as it is for a duvet cover and while we do still have a duvet on the bed, courtesy of the great London summer, it is not the season for duvets.  It is the season for picnics.  Chilly, damp picnics, but picnics still.

That means that I need to actually try and get these quilts done at some point before picnic season disappears and it's time for duvets again.

Which brings me to the where of quilting.  I've pretty much decided I need to move out of the dining room since I don't have time to clean up after myself every time I get time to sew.  Our guest room is currently quite crowded but I think I might be able to find some space in there for my sewing station, at least until the next set of guests arrive.

In keeping with my tradition of re-using materials I have asked my 'clients' to provide a piece of clothing or what-have-you for their quilt and I would pick pieces from my growing stash based on their contribution. I can't wait to see what they give me to work with and hear its story.

The prospect of working with someone else's story is daunting but very appealing.  It is one of the reasons I started this blog (and hobby) and I can't wait to see how their story and mine work side by side. What will I learn from them or about myself?  How will my 'skills' develop with this quilt?  What will I carry on to the next?

It will be a longish journey, but I am excited to start.

June 24, 2013

A Post I Never Thought I'd Write

This post is about mug rugs.  Something I've made fun of for years.

I mean, really.  I would open quilting magazines or read quilting blogs and be snarky and think, "you need somewhere to put your cookie?  This is a real thing you're actually thinking about?"  And then I made one last year, which has a permanent place on our coffee table, for Nick's soup bowl or beer glass or whatever he's eating.  And now I'm actually planning a few...for someone else.

My sewing buddy and I (a penpal program run though Deborah at Whipstitch) are both avid tea drinkers.  We have several favorite teas in common, and when I had the chance to visit David's Tea in Chicago, we talked about it like  it was Disney.  Which is awesome!  We've decided to swap some mug rugs for each other for work, because we both drink tea at our offices, and I've spilled tea on me or my paperwork twice in the past week.  Obviously, I need some help.

I'm having a hard time planning her rugs, unless I want to stick to a basic log-cabin design, with a main fabric in the middle and coordinates blocking it out from there.  Here are some mug rugs I've seen and loved lately:

Hey Porkchop!

Two More Seconds

Pin. Sew. Press.

Saltwater Quilts

I found this on Tumblr...I'd love to know the original mug-rugger!  (Is that a word?)

The hardest part for me is knowing how to translate my ideas to a mug rug.  I'm not great at math or deciding dimensions, so I work well with tutorials.  The Hey Porkchop! example above comes with a great tutorial, which I may follow for one of my buddy's gifts.

Mug rugs: love 'em or hate 'em?  Are you judging me for suddenly loving them?  And if you aren't a hater, can you recommend any good tutorials or patterns?

June 20, 2013

Developmental Stages

I finished those last four lines of hand-quilting.  I even managed to cut the vinyl for the back.

I haven't found a way to attach the vinyl just yet.  Fabric glue didn't work.

I have found some fabric for the binding.  A pair of pleated khakis I found at my local charity shop.

Last week Pruin and I had a nice schedule going and I was optimistic we might find some time to get the front and back together.  This week he is going through a 'developmental stage' and all schedules have gone out the window.

I have, however, got two commissions for baby quilts made out of scraps and old clothes.  How I will get these out before Christmas, I'm not sure.  Actually, I've told them not to expect them before Christmas.

I did find time to make a slipcover for a pillow.  By hand.  Pruin had two unexpected morning naps and I managed to whip something up in-between checks of the baby monitor.

I find I don't have much time for anything beyond the needs of my 5 week old squirmer.  I don't miss most of those 'anythings.'  However, I do miss my quilting.  I never saw myself as a crafter, but there is something about figuring out fabric and pattern that makes me feel a bit more human.  This very traditional past time makes me feel less trapped in the cycle of babycare.  Much like finding time to iron and clean and make dinner make me feel a bit more competent.  With all the uncertainty of Pruin, accomplishing these small tasks keeps despair at bay.  These are problems I know how to solve and there is a sense of achievement when done; a clean counter, smooth shirts, a meal that doesn't come in a box.  Things are not so straight forward with Pruin.  Thus far, my only reward is contented silence.

But with quilting there is a tangible reward.  I have yet to figure out how to grab moments of cutting and piecing.  I don't have a dedicated sewing area and Pruin goes from sleeping/content to desperately needing attention in seconds.  Leaving everything out on the dining room table for hours/days is not really an option currently.

For now I have to be content with unfolding and folding the fabric pieces in-between cries and diapers changes.  In a week I should have managed to cut some binding.  I suspect sewing it will take much longer.

June 13, 2013

One Month

It's been a month.  Thanks for your patience.

I didn't finish the Dino Picnic quilt before Pruin arrived.  In the last month I managed to quilt two lines.  I have at least four more.  I had initially planned some more hand-quilting, I may rethink these plans.

I'm hoping to be back in this space from here on out, but let's not hold our breath.  I'm writing this with one hand while the other one holds a little man squirming on the boob.

We are slowly finding a routine and I may be able to find more time to work on the Dino Quilt and other projects.

We have been enjoying the quilt Emily made for us. So far it has made appearances in Greenwich Park, London Zoo, IKEA and many living rooms.

That's it for now.  I hope to see you here next week with some progress.

June 10, 2013

Inspiration: Haptic Lab

I'm currently in-between projects, so I thought I'd share some inspiration today, courtesy of the groundbreaking company Haptic Lab.  I've seen their products on Pinterest and love the look.  Haptic Lab creates quilts, but instead of decorate quilting, the stitches lay out a city or country.  They're all hand-quilted and most are whole-cloth, meaning they aren't pieced patchwork, and in a one-color scheme, so the stitches really pop out.  There are many collections available, so I thought I'd show some of my favorites!

Chicago DIY kit--I love the hot pink and the outline!

Their DIY London kit shows off some Liberty of London, which we all know I love!

Haptic Lab just reminds me of Ariel so much--maps, quilts, hand-stitching.  They're your soulmate, lady!

Paris baby quilt

DC quilt--I spy the Pentagon!
USA Map kit

Now that I've scrolled through these and the many others on their site, I might have to buy a kit!  Which one though?  Haptic Lab doesn't yet make a Charlotte kit or even a Savannah kit, so I'll have to consider DC, I suppose!  Have you seen Haptic Lab before, or, better yet, bought one of their kits or quilts?  I'd love to hear more!