Libraries & Seasons

Active Crafting Content will start after the ***********.

I still need to get my new flooring installed, however I did manage to create a mini-Library in my home. I adore how this has turned out. The plastic and wood bookshelves were a quarter of the price of a standard shelf from Amazon, so I bought four. They are not ‘amazing’ quality, one of the plastic pieces did shear off, however they are working for what I need them. This is a great way for me to get out of my living room, it gives me an excuse/routine for me to begin using the rest of my home. A couple of weird things have come up that are setting me back, however I will persevere.

Upon installing daylight lights in my half-bath on the first floor I then tried to run my dryer…and the lights dimmed…and haven’t come back properly since. The, amazing, person that does things for me around the house is going to try to look at this next week to see if it is something to panic about. Yay, something else to worry about. The second thing is that I was a guide for the haunted house in my library last night…and I discovered that stretching shoes is not a substitute for breaking the shoes in. I now have a blister on the balls of both of my feet as well as 3 scraped up toes. To fix this I’ve put neosporin and bandaids on the scrapes and I have ordered some blister pads from door dash, along with soft socks I am hoping that these feel better tomorrow.

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The lace knitting class went…about as well as I expected. Some patrons were interested however they had either not knit before or didn’t like the look of the lace, though one has continued looking into making the regular pattern without any of the lace flares. The Bengala Mud Dye class I taught went much better. Everyone enjoyed quite a bit, a few had even mentioned continuing to do this in the future and possibly use this in their business. I tried to use up the dyes on the scraps I had left over, then I took those scraps to turn them into a bit of a mini-quilt/mug rug type thing.

Despite spending time trying to square my blocks, this did not turn out correctly, however I am very pleased with how it looks. I will bring that along with my dyed squares to the quilt meeting tomorrow. I have also made significant progress on my halloween quilt/wall hanging thing, however with the blisters on both of my feet getting around is not easy. Since I cannot get around easily I find myself unwilling to mess around with pulling out the devices that I would need to properly finish the quilt. I am also re-thinking why I am quilting. Right now I like getting the finished project, however I also find myself rushing through the process to get an end project, which I not what I am hoping for from this craft. I also think that is why a couple of seams have broken on my first finished quilt, I do not want that to happen with my sister’s quilt, I am already a little embarrassed about how my first efforts turned out.

I think that is everything for right now, I will give more progress as things occur. I am teaching a crewel embroidery class this week, possibly getting my floors completed, and perhaps getting my leaves raked.

Until next time Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Accidental Hiatus

The Crafting content of this post will start after the ****. It turns out when something is not easy I do not do it. Adding to my WordPress blog is not easy when the computer is upstairs and when I am upstairs getting on the computer is not on my list of things to do. Usually I am trying to quilt or go to bed, so blogging doesn’t enter into it. Due to this I have purchased a laptop that I can have downstairs with me so that I can blog when I think about it, or when I am working on a project. That is not the only new technology to me since we last spoke, I have also purchased a Nintendo Switch to try and play an exercise game, however I found that the only game I liked on my PC is available on the switch so I have been playing Stardew Valley a little bit.

Health update; Watching some TikTok videos had me thinking that I was neuro-divergent. I went to a therapist for the first time in my life, she prescribed an antidepressant. I have been on a quarter dose for a week, tonight I am taking the first pill for half of the manufacturers recommended dose. My Doctor will have me stay on that dose until I see her next. My mind feels clearer, I still have motivation difficulties, however I am working on that. I am presently working on my mental health and adjusting my diet without worrying about, effectively, going on a starvation diet. I have been about this size for 30+ years and while I am physically capable of losing the weight I cannot keep it off as a starvation diet is not a realistic solution. I am still working on what this means for me, it may mean a treadmill in the next year, however I will keep you up to date as I learn more.

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I made two quilts for my Cousin’s Daughter’s and a baby blanket for her sister (also my cousin) who is pregnant with her first child. I do have other family quilts on the go but none are at a point where I feel I can photograph them.

I did sew my first ever piece of clothing, the Anna Dress that I took a class for through Stitches At Home. The dress turned out amazingly well, I do have plans to make the upper part of the sleeves a little wider and add some length to the bottom of the skirt. While the pattern is simple I have not gotten around to cutting out the second, since the cutting takes a lot of room and my floor is the only space big enough for that.

Tour de Fleece did not happen with any regularity, though did get some spinning done that I enjoyed. At present I am interested in stones and crystals for decorative purposes. Stone skulls, towers, spheres, trees, etc. I am having a blast adding my own touches to my home, decorating with what I enjoy.

That is about it for my catch up, some time this upcoming month I should have my new windows installed in plenty of time for the winter, to help keep the heat in and allow me to get some fresh air into the house.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

2 AM Brain

Starting off, I hope that everyone had a Happy Easter, Happy Passover, or a lovely weekend. I took a 3 day weekend and went through all the stages. I signed my taxes and went out to eat one day. Bleached my kitchen cupboards the second day. Went shopping for spring clothes and got caught in a snowstorm yesterday. This morning at 2am my brain decided that I had forgotten a notice about jury duty, that I could not find so I emailed the county I moved from to check I don’t have a warrant out for skipping jury duty. (The house closed though it took an entire week for the money to get to me).

What do you do when you wake up at 2am and your brain will it let you sleep? Well you hide threads on your sewing projects so that you’re ready for the next stages. I started making a lunch box and needed to hide the threads before I can put the zipper in, so I hid threads until my hand cramped.

I hope to get more done this week, until then remember to live life a little more abstract!

Walk-Throughs and Speed Bumps

**** Will denote the crafty updates, house content until then. Today the person buying the house I grew up in will be doing their final walk through. The sale should be finalized tomorrow, with the disbursements happening from there. I hope that this means I can finally get myself settled on a budget that I can stick to. Of course, it is Holy Week (if you’re Catholic…which I am but lapsed), so things are going to be a little strange anyway. Even though it is a religious holiday the secular world seems to come to a bit of a slow down anyway. I did look into the roof grant, only to be told that they were working on finalizing the application and they would have the forms ready in about 90 days…well I’ve needed something done since October so waiting until June/July to fill out an application that could cover 3/4 the cost of it…doesn’t seem like a bad idea at this point in time. When I get someone in to look at the bathroom I imagine I can ask them about the roof as well.

I did start back onto Nutrisystem, only for my monthly concerns to rear their head setting my plans back for a few days. After tomorrow I should be able to go back to my original plan. I am debating if I want to spend my 3 day weekend next week hiding or if I want to go to the buffet next Sunday since I believe they will have lamb, I Love lamb, and don’t want to buy/cook/clean up after cooking lamb this week. Either way I hope to spend at least part of next weekend planting my seedlings in the pots I will use to put them outside in. Yay! I was going to pot the plants this weekend but did not, and I don’t feel bad about that. I need to rest for a couple of days, maybe finish some projects so I’m ready to start some new ones when I am back on an upswing. I have not been to the gym this week, Friday the weather was miserable and I was starting to feel poorly, then Saturday I started to figure out why I was feeling poorly, then today I had work and there was snow on the car so…no. I know it is weird, however I do not plan on going to the gym on days where there is snow, at least not when I am on a tighter schedule. If the weather is warmer and the gym is open at least 3 hours before I have to be at work that will work, 2 hours for the gym (getting there, working out, getting back) and 1 hour to clean up for work, then I will go to the gym. If not, then my iron and cutting board are upstairs, my sewing machine is downstairs, If I feel really good I’ll go up and down my stairs for 10 minutes at a time, that got me sweating the last time I tried that.

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I took Friday and Saturday off, though I am working my other job today. I had made a ‘play date’ with a friend and former colleague to try out a solar dyeing technique, unfortunately the weather did not hold out, however we had a fun time anyway. She had some fabric she did not want to keep and offered it to me, one was a set of 5″ squares pre-sewn together into 4 patches. She told me that it might be good for a disappearing 4 patch, however I know I cannot machine sew the corners properly, no matter how much I try, so I believe I am going to edge the squares using a solid color and either make it into a baby quilt that I can practice my hand quilting on or as a pillow or something similar. She was also kind enough to gift me with a mat for my sewing machine to sit on with pockets in the front and her husband gifted me with a carved bunny that I will treasure. She has this upcoming week off and would like to show me to a quilt shop less than an hour away and I suggested next Saturday since I know I have that day off, not thinking that it was the day before Easter. Oops, I hope it happens but I understand if it does not.

This means that Saturday was a ton of fun, however I tend to drive myself mad sometimes. In preparation for Saturday (and to just get it done) I worked on getting my third quilt attempt finished. I like how it turned out, learned a lot of lessons, and think I am going to give hand quilting a try next.

Wrestling a quilt that fits the top of a queen sized bed through a domestic sewing machine that sits on one of those small square tables you can get from certain craft stores is NOT how I recommend quilting. It did the job, I have a quilted quilt with the binding sewn on the edges. I did a ‘wavy lines’ quilting pattern, which means I tried to do wavy lines and I’m just going with, “Sure, I wanted it to look like that” as my answer when I am questioned about the weird peaks, dips, and straight edges in my wavy lines. The quilting is about 5″ apart, the batting says that the quilting can be up to 8″ apart so I should be alright there. The binding is just the backing folded over like you would do for pot holders.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a Weaver’s guild meeting half-way between where I used to live and where I live now. I love the guild, and it was ironic that the meeting was held at their public library (where I had interviewed for a job 2 years ago). The meeting was lovely, I had a chance to pull out my spinning wheel and show some individuals how to spin. I also reminded myself how much I enjoy the quiet of spinning. I am presently thinking that I will spin on my front porch while watching the world go by. Of course in order to do this I need to get 2 things accomplished. I need to get the porch level again, it looks as though one board likes to swell in the rain which causes it to buckle the porch, and purchase a chair for my front porch. I have been looking online thinking that I would order one, however if I plan on using it for a spinning chair I really should get a good idea of how it feels before actually spinning in it for any extended length of time. I am hoping that this is a once every 30 years purchase. While in town I discovered that they have a quilt shop which I was thrilled to find out…until I looked at their selection. I know that I have particular tastes, and that I do not want to purchase fabric until I KNOW I like it and will use it. This means that I bought a small, simple, pattern and a bag of essentially colorful scraps and asked the owner to keep the change since that was the only way I could spend five dollars in the shop. I feel bad, but I am not buying fabric I cannot see a good use for. I do have plans to use the pattern as a sort of border for one of the panels I hope to create a quilt from next. I also have 3 jelly rolls, not to mention most of a black jelly roll, to still use. Well, I did not know until I was typing that up that I had really decided on the quilt panel next, however that makes sense. I am still working on my EPP Project.

I have started to figure out how I want to place the glued pieces for my first EPP quilt, I have 10 out of 25 pairs sewn for the second part and these bundles put together for the first part that I hope to start sewing soon. I am trying to get some long languishing projects worked on so that I feel a little more freedom to work on this huge project. I am about a dozen rows away from finishing the pillow that started with a new colorwork class that had me knitting what were almost quilt block pieces. I love how this looks and cannot wait to see it finished. I am a little apprehensive about how I am going to finish it since at present I am planning on knitting some extra rows of the back to create a flap that tucks inside the pillow. I thought about just seaming the pillow blank inside however if I ever need to wash it that would cause too many problems.

Next I hope to start getting projects ready for progress. I need to find a charm pack that will go with the panel I hope to work on so I can get that border started. My 16 shaft loom needs to be warped with the towel warp I wound so I can start weaving that up. I need to straighten out my Saori Loom’s warp so I can get back to using up some of that yarn. There is the possibility that we will be playing with weaving looms next month at the guild meeting so I should have my looms ready to be warped and played with, not to mention possibly finding the alpaca tweed yarn I bought to weave a blanket from. Possibly that got lost during the moth-ening though I hope not. Oh, on a not so fun note, I just realized with spring possibly on the way I should consider putting together the push mower I purchased so that when my lawn dries enough I can mow. yay.

I am honestly excited by all of the changes coming, to myself, my house, and my crafting. I have been finding by leaning into what I am feeling and what my body is trying to tell me I can get more done. Some of this is certainly down to having 1 full-time job, no person needing me to take care of them, as well as having the second house off of my shoulders. However I do believe by resting when I need to, finishing things when I have the urge, and starting (some) things when I also have the urge I am completing more than I ever have in the past. Normally I would have become overwhelmed by the quilt and stopped, instead I leaned into wanting to finish it, took it step by step and leaned into binding when I felt like it instead of waffling.

That is me for the week, it has been busy. I’m going to take the next couple of days to lean into recharging and see where the world takes me from there. I am uncertain if I will post next week, it will depend on how much I get done and how I am feeling. Until next time, Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

434 Out of 471 Glued Down

Catch up about life and the house(s) before crafting. Crafting content starts at ****. According to our real estate agent the closing date for the sale of the house should be within the next 2 weeks. This is a little sooner than anticipated, however that will likely work out in our favor in the end. When we get the final closing date I will call the oil company so that we can be reimbursed by the new owner for the oil left in the tank (they will essentially buy the oil off of us) and we can notify the insurance company as well as the electric company. Yay. I’m feeling relieved about this, not as sad as I expected (it really was too much house for me and mom had gotten into some minor hoarding tenancies which made it more difficult to keep up with than it already was.) My supervisor, that was supposed to pick up the loom, is on medical leave….I don’t have any details and feel that if she wanted me to know she would have told me so I’m not asking for any details….so her Father picked up the loom yesterday. He also worked for the city works administration where I now live and had plenty of advice about my getting a new roof and fixing up my bathroom. About the roof, apparently where I live doesn’t qualify for financial help getting a solar paneled roof, however they do offer financial help in installing a new roof. So I will look into that on Monday and make inquiries. He also advised that since the floor is going to have to be semi-leveled to fix the problem with the toilet I should think about just getting the bathroom completely redone. He pointed out that if the toilet had been leaking then it might have caused structural damage anyway, and if I’m going to possibly pull everything out I might as well budget for it and get it done the way I want it to be in the first place. It’s a little strange, however I think it also makes complete sense.

For some reason the shower in that bathroom doesn’t have any doors or rod for a shower curtain, I’ve been making due with a tension rod but that sort of sucks as well. When I try to hang up some things to dry, if it is more than some hand towels or underthings the weight tends to bring the rod down…which is not fun in the middle of the night. Getting the bathroom done the way it needs to be and the roof on the house should be enough for this year. I would like to get a heating/air conditioning unit installed since I don’t do well in the heat, however that will likely have to wait for another year. Part of why I have never done too well in the heat is simply being overweight. Since stopping nutrisystem I have been finding myself falling back on old bad habits. To counteract this I have decided to resume Nutrisystem, and to stop delaying any further I reinstated myself today. This combined with going to the gym, yes I only managed once last week however that was more than I had been doing before and I have plans for this upcoming week, should lead to results I enjoy. I will not be purchasing a scale, instead I will be looking into how my clothing fits at a given time.

Of course, if these two fixes to the house do not cost a huge amount I can look into other fixes for this upcoming year. If they do, then I will choose one fix each year until the place is the way it needs to be. Alright, I’m back. Thinking about a new bathroom promptly sent me on a spiral to look at Victorian Bathroom Fixtures and two hours later I have emerged from that rabbit hole with several ideas. I will have to work with the individuals doing the renovations to ensure that I do not have too many conflicting points of interest, especially since I would like to minimize the white in the room. Enough of this for now, decisions will be made when the time comes, and I have a chance to speak with a couple of contractors my friends and colleagues have recommended.

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As in the title I have 434 out of 471 pieces of Tula Pink’s Tula Nova English Paper Piecing quilt glue basted. I did start sewing together the second set of pieces where the initial step is to attach two pentagons together along one side. The first step is to actually attach 5 triangles around a pentagon then attach diamonds in between each of the triangles to completely encase the pentagon. I have not taken the first step since I am still gluing down diamonds and have not made a design choice about these pentagons yet. As I will be making 11 of these they are the focal points of the quilt and need quite a bit of attention, I believe. After that I make some stars which will be modified to create the next portion of the quilt. I’m thinking of laying several pieces down to try and form a semi-cohesive view of the finished product before I do any intense stitching.

Oh, you didn’t think I was only doing one project did you? As stated before I tend to go in fits and spurts as well as leaning into my need to have more than one project on the go at a time. I have made progress on the sampler quilt top I am playing with, when laying it on the bed it goes across the bed rather well despite being only about 60″ wide however the length leaves a lot to be desired. I have another strip ready to add on to the initial portion so that I can decide where to go from there. I thought about adding more onto this smaller strip and then adding that onto the larger quilt, however upon reflection (which is why I didn’t add it on right away) I believe I would be better off seeing how this strip adds to the pattern before making any drastic design decisions. While I do have some blocks that I could add on, and at looking at what I have now I think it might be neat to add on some 10″ squares outlined and baste in my EPP flowers as centerpieces…hmmm. What if I add strips of 10″ squares to the length of the top and bottom of the quilt, balancing them out. This might complete the project if the strip I am going to add on tonight or tomorrow means that I only need about 20 more inches added onto the length of the quilt. I don’t think that is going to be the case, so I might be cutting some more strips to add onto the top and bottom to flesh things out so to speak. Adding in EPP Motifs as I play around with them on top of the 10″ square border pieces would certainly add visual interest. It might take me a little longer….unless I give my current project a sewing pause as I make some more EPP flowers…it would give me a chance to play with some of the ideas I have going on regarding patterning in my second Tula Nova Quilt…

Oh, I did mention that I was making a second Tula Nova Quilt despite each quilt being positively huge right? I’m sure I did. Anyway, the Wolfsbane print from Spoonflower arrived as well as a yard of rainbow stripe fabric I ordered from amazon. I have cut the pieces that will act as the star centers out of the wolfsbane fabric so that each wolf is howling, it took some time to fussy cut each one out, however I LOVE the effect. I was thinking about fussy cutting some diamonds out of the same fabric, however I do not want to risk overusing one print in a potentially dynamic quilt. To that end I am going to do some experimenting with how the wolfsbane fabric looks as hexi flowers since I have about a 1/2 yard left, and I will play around with the stripes as well.

Once I have the new quilt top finished I intend to use the cotton batting as well as one of the 108″ backing fabrics to create my quilt sandwich. Then I plan on doing some form of free-motion quilting, trim the batting down and folding the edges of the backing to act as my binding. It is a little unconventional, however I haven’t followed a pattern for this quilt yet, why start now?

So, selling houses, potential bathroom renovations, new roofs, English paper piecing, diets, exercise, quilt tops, did I forget anything? Actually I did! My cousin’s daughters are very into Fairies right now, and I am into playing with resin. As with any of my projects I wanted to ensure that I was making something that would get some use, so I decided to figure out which colors the little girls would like. One likes rainbows and the other purple (girl after my own heart). So I made up two resin fairy pieces, and it took several weeks since I attempted to mix two different brands of resin to create the second (I was out of one type and added in a second). It turns out that doesn’t work…at all. No matter how much you try to cure it stays tacky. There is a vague possibility this was due to the humidity over a 3 day period that I tried to get the dang thing to cure…but I have Natural Gas heating and I believe the house gets quite dry. I finally got these pieces in the mail yesterday, YAY! I also told my supervisor to purchase Roxy Epoxy if she wants me to do this craft with the teens, so I had a bottle of that waiting for me. I have found that the three brands I tried, one from Michaels and 2 from Amazon, worked just fine if they were cured on their own and not too much coloring was added in. When I did try Mica Powder (which I will not be using with the teens) the result wanted to take a very long time to cure, which I did not find out until I stuck my finger in it.

It is my fondest hope that the girls like their little fairy friends.

Until next time Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Why Not Go All in?

So when I start something I tend to go all in. Case in point, I decided to give English Paper Piecing a try. Learning one type of quilting at a time wasn’t enough for me apparently.

Lesson 1. 1.5” hexagons measure 2.5” across and 1.5” on each side. this means that getting a jelly roll so you have 10 coordinating fabrics of 40+ inches each….does not work. Oh well.

Lesson 2. Why plan one extremely complicated pattern for your second try at English Paper Piecing when you can go for 2?

To clarify these lessons, I am having an absolute blast with English Paper Piecing (EPP). I have finished 2 flowers and have most of the pieces cut out for Tula Pink’s Nova Quilt Pattern. I purchased the pattern and papers as a kit from Amazon along with the Acrylic templates to cut the fabric out. I think I could have done fine with cutting the fabric, though not very fast, without the templates however I plan on doing some fussy cutting for the second quilt and the templates will be invaluable then.

The pattern, there are a lot of small squares to this
The paper templates are amazing, however it is going to take me forever to get the fabric pasted on

It has taken me several hours to get most of the pieces cut out for my trial version of the quilt. I love the colors and I am looking forward to seeing how it will turn out. Right now I am working on pasting the 170 tiny paper triangles onto the tiny fabric triangles and tacking them down with the fabric glue. I use Wonder Clips to hold the three points down to ensure a good seal, then stack about 10 in the clip for about 15-30 minutes. Then I make sure each triangle will separate, since I like using a good amount of glue, and stack them in the box. About 3 hours in and I have about 100 of the 170 ready to go. Of course this is just the first of 7 shapes, it is also the most abundant. After this the numbers drastically reduce per shape, the largest has only pieces 11 to it.

I do have this quilt finally completed, there is a flower on the back and writing on the front to hide where I messed up the binding, however I love how it looks. It is really just a lap sized sort of thing, however I adore it. I have also made some progress on following patterns and made the 29″x29″ heart below, I am hoping to add other squares and sashing to make this a 90″x90″ piece so I can use it as a queen sized quilt.

I had a quilt night at my library and my machine kept jamming up, despite just having been serviced I was spitting mad. Luckily enough one of the patrons, the step-mother-in-law (ex?) of one of my supervisors, had a Janome LE she was not using and offered it to me. She would not take anything in return, which was very nice of her. I made the heart up in the week between classes, since I had the idea floating around in my head, just no reliable machine to use! Eventually I am going to have to consider getting the Janome professionally seen to, however I might see who else does that in the area.

If that were not enough I also have been doing some work on my house. This is crafting related I promise. A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends house for a sewing day, it was amazing. Her set up was so inspiring I immediately went looking for something similar, and promptly got sticker shock. A week or so later and I found a sale at Michaels that would go along with my $10 coupon, and for under $100 I had a table that was 55″ unfolded by over 22″ deep, and waist height. I have found that as a responsible adult, I have to trick myself into doing stuff, lol.

In this case I was not able to assemble my new table until I had called the garbage company to arrange pickup of the carpet pieces from the third floor AND hauled the carpet to a point where taking them out the afternoon before pick-up would be easy. (I have to put them out after 4pm the day before, no earlier.) Right now they are on my front porch, looking really ugly, however I did not really have anywhere else to store them until pickup.

Well, now that the carpet is done, okay so I still have one more small piece….and all of the padding…and the linoleum that someone put down on top of the hardwood floors…other than that the carpet is done, I could assemble my new table. The plan was, yes was, for me to use the good table to sew and a card table with adjustable height to press and cut. I put the card table, well it is a bit closer to picnic table length, up and started to do some cutting. Only to find that even at its highest the table is a bit too short for me to comfortably cut on it. I think it’s a good height if I am sitting at it, however, so this might become my sewing station instead. The rolling cart however, with the 55″ width when unfolded, is just at my waist height making it virtually perfect for cutting and pressing. While assembling this I had to run downstairs and put two different bandages on, one was due to the folding nature of the particular screw driver I was using, and I still have to tighten a couple of screws down before I trust that flap for cutting. Other than that the entire thing is assembled.

I also have an origami rack in the odd corner, right now it is going out into the room, however I think I will turn it to nestle into the corner to give me more room around my sewing table. You can see that the white table has considerably more height on it. The floors are a bit scarred looking, I was thinking of seeing how much it would be to get them professionally refinished, however someone pointed out it might be better to just get a faux wood laminate or something similar over top. This wood is so scarred and there are such gaps between boards I think the entire floor would have to be relaid and there is a lot more that needs done to the house before that. (Such as a new roof, heater/air conditioner, etc.).

I am very happy with these wall storage pieces. The spool rack is from amazon, but the other rack is from 5-below. I was able to bend out the hooks on the bottom so they can fit a pair of scissors and some other small objects. While I love the look of table top storage rack things, I knock them over. I just do. This is a similar problem I am going to have with acrylic ruler storage…I knock them over. There are some really neat ones with slots and places for pins…One bad bump and I have pins all over the floor along with ruler (just my luck I would break one).

My sewing room is coming along wonderfully. I hope that I will be able to keep the other pink desk in there so that this can be a multi craft room since I have too many interests to make a room for each one. When the second leaf of the tall white table is unfolded I cannot get by the pink desk. If I move the white table or the black table then I lose maneuverability. If I move the pink desk any closer to the window I cannot get into the closet…which I am only worried about so that Orkin can make sure I don’t have mice…but that is important to me. I might move the pink desk back into the corner and make a nest of tables with my resin and possibly paper craft supplies by the pink desk. The white table is just about 1″ to shallow for the entire width of my largest cutting mat, which frankly sucks, however I believe I can live with that (and being careful about cutting) since it completely fits my pressing mat.

That is about it for my big news. I am loving these new crafts, and using the momentum to make progress on other things. This is my active cycle, which according to traditional wisdom this should be the end of my resting cycle but whatever, so I am going to lean into it and enjoy while I can. This week I am taking the second in a two part book binding class and the first in a two part embroidery class. While I have a full week of work ahead of me it is exciting to know that I now have some room and freedom to explore. I still do better when I plan my days out and stick to them within the parameters given, I have the freedom to change those parameters as well. No pet or person waiting on me to get home, no major obligations other than to myself, work, and my bills. The freedom is a bit heady, I can get involved in other organizations without worrying that it will cause problems for my ill mother or that it cannot be worked around my crazy work schedule (I now have a regular work schedule). It has taken a bit over a year for these facts to begin to sink in, now that they have I ensured that I would be available for every meeting of the 3 guilds I belong to as I could. 2 meetings of one guild occur during major events at work I need to be at. Okay, enough pseudo therapy for right now.

I hope to have more crafting news for you next week, until then Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Falling Hard for Quilting

So, the truth of the matter is when I start something that I enjoy I tend to fall very hard for that craft. Here are the quilt squares that I have made and that I am presently working on squaring up…

Spools were a theme then I moved onto other things. I love how everything is turning out, though I know that they are not perfect and will not be square in the end. I did have a binding mishap on a quilt I finished rather quickly and have learned what I did wrong to fix that in the future. On a similar note…quilting leads to fabric design. I know, not for most but go along with me here.

I have been watching episodes of Quilting Arts TV online via a monthly subscription, and it is giving me ideas. One of those ideas is about Cyanotype printing, or printing on fabric using sunlight/uv. I tried something similar withy Cyanotype paper last year for a program and absolutely hated it. Well, what I hated was that the results were not consistent. Some of the papers printed fine while others would not print at all. This made for disappointing results for several children and I hate disappointing children. I have already told my bosses that I am doing some experimenting but this is not going to be ready to go as a program until next year at the earliest. Of course, I cannot be content with just one exploration.

I am also playing with the ideas of block fabric printing, fabric painting, and wet fabric paint dyeing. There is a medium that can be used to turn acrylic paint into heat set fabric paint. Using that and some stamps I plan on giving block printing on fabric a try. Fabric painting is straightforward, use the acrylics with medium to paint onto fabric. The last is a little different, again on Quilting Arts TV they had a wet fabric painting technique that I would like to explore.

You may think me mad, however you cannot say that I am linear!

I was also fortunate enough to have been gifted a Janome sewing machine, it is a bit old but the manual is available online and I have been able to start sashing several squares already in hopes of turning them into a quilt top.

*Unrelated to crafting, I have had confirmation that the buyer of my family home has financing, so that will be one more worry off of my mind in a few weeks.*

Remember to Live Life in a way that is A Little More Abstract.

So Much Happening

So, last Sunday my side hustle was on break and I wound up having a quilting day with an amazing new friend/colleague from my full-time job. The afternoon started off worryingly, I shut the top of my metal storage rack on my finger…that was not a good time to discover I did not have any band-aids in my new house! One trip to the pharmacy later, and I went to my friends house. She is a part of the Pointer Rescue Organization and had a foster dog that I was able to meet. That makes it so hard to remember that I do not have time/space for a dog right now. I was able to get some ideas about how I can/should set up a sewing area. Since she is planning on making a long distance move soon she offered me her folding table…until her husband found out how much it would cost to replace that table, lol. I deeply appreciate the offer, and I do realize that this is the sort of table I am going to need. I gained a deeper understanding of cutting and pressing.

I am having so much fun sewing and quilting right now that I cannot believe I have allowed myself to be intimidated by quilting for this long! The aspects that have allowed me to get into this form of quilting is the understanding that there is more out there than half-square triangles. I am working better when I do not have to meet corners perfectly (though there are certainly arguments that there is no perfect in quilting). I finished a 6 column quilt that comprised of 4 colors in different saturation points that were sashed by black jelly roll strips on all sides. Since this was made of 24 blocks with simple sashing I was able to finish in 2 days. I then made the quilt sandwich, switched out needles when the machine started ka-thunk-ing, and sewed 90% around the edge of the quilt sandwich. Changing the needle once more after the tip broke off at a corner ( digging a sharp needle tip out of quilt batting is not fun). After I cut the excess of batting and backing off of the edges I turned the quilt inside out before I sewed about a quarter inch around the edges to close the seam and get a more finished edge.

The last two steps involved the binding around the edge of the quilt. I sewed the binding strips together, then with the right sides together (with the bulk of the binding on top of the quilt, then once you have sewn around the edge you flip the binding around to the back) I sewed the binding onto the top of the quilt. Next I folded the binding over the edge of the quilt, folded under the edge of the binding and faced hand felling this binding….and I decided to take a shortcut. I decided that I was going to use a decorative stitch from the top of the quilt to machine fell the edges of the binding. In retrospect I really should have at least watched a video on how to machine fell a seam…so after I did that I went back to fell the parts of the seam that did not work, embroidered some text in a corner that the stitching did not work in, and now I’m embroidering a flower on the back so that the embroidery stitches from the text do not show as random thread on the back… Oh well. The batting and backing I used were left over from earlier purchases and I plan on using this as a rug once I have shown it to the quilt guild I joined because my new friend is a member. This experience has also taught me that I need to take some in person classes about quilting, and properly finishing a quilt. Hopefully I can find some that are not cost prohibitive.

One of the main take-aways that I have from this experience is that I really enjoy quilting. For me to do this new craft properly I am going to need a space to create within. My Library room is likely going to become my sewing room. Before I can start using my second and third floors I need my second floor bathroom to be usable, so once the old house has sold this has become my second priority (the roof is still first). I also am going to need a better sewing machine at some point in the relatively near future. I am half thinking about getting a machine that also does embroidery so that I can use the hoop to do some pre-programmed quilting designs on the quilt.

Not everything has been about the quilting however, well there is work and how I will be starting a teen crafting class every week in April but that is a different post, as I have been working with UV resin. UV resin is a form of resin that is quickly set using ultraviolet light, it is said that sunlight works however I have found that UV nail lights work well. The kind that nail salons use to set acrylic nails. I know that this sounds really scary, however with the exception of using mica powder for coloring I have found UV resin to be relatively easy to work with. Small bookmarks turned out well, The medium journal cover needs work, I’m not sure if it is because the mold was not on a flat surface or that the mold warped a little due to the heat of the reaction but this cover is not flat. I’m going to try again with the small cover when the new resin arrives. I am experimenting with different brands of resin to obtain the best value/quality ratio. My boss is already planning on how this can be used at the library, which I am all on board with.

I think that is enough for now, sorry I don’t have any WIP photos.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Never Content

I swear I am not going to be happy until I drive my mother completely around the bend.  I went to a quilt trunk show, the quilts that this woman produced were remarkable, beautiful, intricate, and so amazing!   The most remarkable fact, she Hand-Stitched every one of them!  Well, from what I understand she hand stitched the front, back, and the pieces on the ends (they are called something I cannot remember right now) and then someone else did the machine quilting in the middle that has the top, batting, and bottom holding together.

Now I admit, I have dabbled at sewing every now and then.  My Grandmother  was an amazing seamstress, and could sew about anything you can think of.  My experiences with my sewing machine has always been, “Push gently down on the pedal, no a little more, a little more, now you’re sewing at 120 MPH. Now your line looks like there was an earthquake, what are you going to do?”  Right about then, I give up.

My only real consolation, and there isn’t much of it, is that Mom cannot even get that far.  However, I now have hope.  I freely admit, I want to be able to do anything and everything.  However, I know that isn’t a realistic goal, that will not stop me from trying.  On that note, and with some wonderful encouragement from the woman displaying her quilts, I am going to give hand quilting a try.  I think I have the concept of the rocking stitch down. I know how I want to start sewing the squares to minimize waste, I even know how I want to cut the squares.  Right now it is just a matter of getting a couple of supplies and giving it a shot!

While I am getting the guts up to try my hand at this, I have decided to try weaving some spring towels for Mom out of 8/2 cotton.  Three spring colors and a cheerful variegated.  I have the warp wound and about 25% of the reed threaded.  One good Nap on Mom’s Part and I should be able to finish threading the reed and start on the heddles, LOL.  I have  few days off here and there throughout the month in addition to my one day off that I usually have so the extra time can be partially spent toward crafting.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed!