Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Frustration

Well, progress has ground to a halt. I thought I would spend my day off sewing ALL THE THINGS and then being regarded as a hero. Sadly, my sewing machine had other plans...

At first when it made noises and stopped sewing, I thought it just needed to be rethreaded. The threads were all tangled and weird on the bottom of the fabric, which has happened before and been solved by rethreading. And it did, I guess. That solved the issue for a little while... But then it came back. So I opened it up and brushed out as much lint as I could. And rethreaded it again for good measure. And it worked for a little while longer. The third time I threw my hands in the air and walked away.

I was so upset and frustrated and discouraged, I just stayed out of my sewing room the rest of the day and worked on knitting, TV watching, and play Skyward Sword the rest of the day. My sweater is coming along nicely:

raglan knit sweater progress

It even looks like a sweater!

But I still have deadlines looming. And now I wasted my best sewing day.

BUT HAVE NO FEARS. Tonight I plan to break out the back up machine if I can't get mine running properly. PROGRESS SHALL BE MADE.

If my machine is still throwing fits, I'll take pictures and maybe you lovely people can help me figure it out... I suspect it really does need a good cleaning by a professional. But I have no idea how much that might cost and really, I have no money. Especially if I end up taking that Spanish class this semester, which I really, really want to do. I get an amazing discount on tuition thanks to my job, but between fees and books, I will still be cutting it close on the budget front. So yes. We shall see. But any advice would be appreciated!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WiP Wednesday: Trying not to Procrastinate!

I have some deadlines approaching. A couple of blocks for something secret, two swap items, and a wedding quilt (no, I still haven't basted it!). So what have I been working on?

scrappy improv grocery bag dispenser

An improv-pieced panel that will become my new grocery bag dispenser! It is high time I put some cuteness in my kitchen. I used some precious elephant scraps (don't worry, I still have plenty for the Elephant Swoon!) and other random bits. It was so much fun putting this together! I think there will be more improv piecing in my future.

I also did one productive thing and made this month's bee block:

scrappy stacked block

Little fiddly strips are not my favorite thing, but I think it turned out pretty well. She wanted it completely scrappy.  I think I got that covered!

I would also be working on my Swoon... but tragedy struck. The piece of light blue fabric I had earmarked to pair with the rest of my lime green elephants is sadly too small. I guess I need to go shopping because the only other piece I have that might be big enough is brown -.- I don't think brown has a place in this quilt. So that is tabled until I find some motivation to cut the next color of elephants or get some more fabric!

Maybe my grocery bag dispenser being almost finished and my Swoon disaster (I know I'm being dramatic!) will get me to work on the things with deadlines. Here's hoping!

What have you been working on?

Linking up to WiP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Swooning Saturday

Well, not really. I fully intended to post this yesterday. "Yes," I thought, "I will go home and make dinner and after that I'll write up my little blog post about my next Swoon block." Except after dinner I saw these sad, speckled bananas just crying out to be turned into muffins... So what could I do? I answered their call. And then because I was out of delicious nut butters to slather on my freshly made muffins, I made some chocolate almond butter, too.

By the time all that was done, all thoughts of blog posts were pushed from my mind and I drifted happily off to sleep with a belly full of homemade delights.

Anyway, though. On to the sewing!

I did finish up Swoon block 3:

elephant swoon block 3

Green and pink! I think this might be my favorite yet! I'm getting a bit faster at putting them together, too. I must be getting used to the pattern or something :)

I also gave in to the urge to make clothes. First, I made some silly PJ shorts out of some flannel I got for stupid cheap at Joann. I had never made pants or shorts before, so I decided my first try should be simple and cheap. They turned out pretty well, though it is way too hot for flannel anything right now.

flannel pajamas

But they fit and everything! I was pretty proud of myself. They took less than an hour to whip up- I will definitely be making more. Probably out of lighter fabric.

I also made a pretty skirt!

cotton voile skirt

This one is made from a nice light cotton voile I got on sale from Fabric.com a couple of months back. It wasn't bad at all working with voile and it makes such a nice finished product! I definitely want to make more clothes with it.

So that's what I've been working on. I plan to get the backing put together for the wedding quilt this weekend and get my bee block for the month knocked out. I am really lazy about bee blocks, I've found. But the obligation to the other people means I do get them done before the end of the month, so that's something I guess.

What have you been working on? Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

It's a Quilt Top!

It has been a long, silent week. I know.

But I do have an excuse. I finished my quilt top and I really wanted to share it with you... but it has been monsooning all week. For those that aren't familiar with summer weather in Southern AZ, that means it rains every day. And not just rain, but big lightning storms that dump buckets of water on us and cause fun things like microbursts that routinely take out power lines and you know, trees. Usually these storms happen in the late afternoon and sometimes the heavy clouds stick around all night and into the mornings, which has been the case this week.

I love monsoons. Really, I do. There is nothing so nice as the smell of the desert after a good rain. But it means my only picture time during the week is when I'm at work! Super frustrating.

But luckily today I had the boyfriend at home with me in the morning and (gasp!) the skies were clear! So he helped me snap a couple of (very quick) shots before I had to go to work.

stitch and flip quilt top

I'm short. It's hard to hold up a quilt top that measure about 66"x78"!

scrappy stitch and flip quilt top

I am so pleased with how it turned out! I just used some awesome coupons at Joann to buy some Kona cotton solids to put together into a backing and I got some batting on sale, too. Yay sales and coupons! I think I'm going to FMQ it with an all over meander. I don't think echo quilting would work well with the wonkiness and I don't want to do straight lines... I definitely should have picked up more thread while I was getting the backing and batting. Oops!

Quilt top info: Assorted wonky scraps on a background of Kona Ash. I used the directions to make these blocks from Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen- an excellent book! Each block finishes at 6". They're super quick and fun to make! I highly recommend giving this sort of improv/wonky piecing a try. There are tons of layout possibilities!

daiwabo elephant swoon 2 blue and grey

I also finished my next swoon block! Still blue elephants because I cut them all at once, but the next two blocks will be with different colored elephants, promise! I can't wait to get this done :) I bought the rest of the white for the background during that same shopping trip, so I should be all set for the top! I hope to get my next Swoon block done next week and hopefully won't have to wait til next Saturday to show you :P

In other news... I am not up to 40 followers on Bloglovin'! You guys are great :D I am thinking about having a little giveaway once I can figure out what to give away. Stay tuned!!

And because I am a terrible, bad blogger, here is the lineup for the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop from this past week and next week (just it case it gets cloudy and I'm unmotivated to post without pretty pictures again!):

July 12
Karen @ Karen, {Novice} Quilter
Anne @ PlayCrafts
Rachel @ Let's Begin Sewing...
Jan @ Sew And Sow Farm
Anna @ Quilting Along The Grain
Cath @ Wombat Quilts
Sarah @ {no} hats in the house
Christen @ Love by Hand
Julie @ 627handworks


July 19
Karen @ Little Birdie Quilting Studio
Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures
Katie @ Snuggle Up With A Dish From Karma
Alison @ Making Happyness
Ella and Nesta @ Ella & Nesta's Little Room
Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft
Aylin @ AyliN-Nilya
Kelsey and Amanda @ Everyday Fray

Friday, July 5, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted New Blogger Blog Hop


Plum and June


Hello and welcome! Today is my stop on the 2013 Let's Get Acquainted New Blogger Blog Hop. If you're a new visitor, HI! I hope you'll stay a little while and look around. If you're a repeat visitor, welcome back! You're awesome! Here is the schedule this week so you can take a look at the other wonderful bloggers keeping me company:

Friday, July 5
Christa @ Christa Quilts!
Alyce @ Wonderland By Alyce
Anna (ME!) @ The Crooked Banana
Rachel @ Sew Happily Ever After
Stephanie @ Quarter Incher
Shayla @ Sassafras Lane Designs
Caroline @ Carolines Craftiness
Lisa @ Hilltop House Creative Works

So here's a little more info about me along with some pictures :)

How did you get into quilting?

I decided to start quilting on a total whim. I think I was just wandering around a used book store and stumbled across a quilting book and thought, "I bet I could do that." So I picked up a book (based solely on the title because it had so many superfluous exclamation points and made me giggle: Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! : The Complete Guide to Quilt Making by Diana McClun) and read it cover to cover that night. My mom had bought me a sewing machine for my birthday, so I was set on that front. Soon I had settled on a simple rail fence quilt, bought my cheap supplies from Joann, and off I went!


finished quilt mosaic
Finished quilts left to right, top to bottom: first quilt, Christmas gift quilt, Kitchen Window quilt, Scrappy Trip quilt, Houndstooth quilt

I think you can see my progression pretty clearly in the photo above!


I didn't actually finish my first quilt right away. I worked on it for a couple of months here and there and started getting a little frustrated. My seam allowances were horribly inconsistent and it was making putting the quilt top together a real pain. So I shelved it for a while. Over a year, actually, during which time I started and almost finished my Master's degree (I don't know when I would have had time to sew, anyway!). 

Then I started reading quilting blogs while removing staples at work (being a student worker in an archives is seriously boring). When I started my first quilt, I had no idea how huge and amazing the online quilting community was and I definitely had no idea what "modern" quilting was. It was a total revelation and suddenly I decided I HAD to finish that first quilt. So I did. I let my annoyance at all the imperfections go and just decided to look at it as a learning experience. Then I decided to start a blog. Why? Mostly to keep track of my obsession and, of course, because all the modern quilt blogs I had been reading were written by such wonderful, friendly people. I knew this was a community I wanted to be a part of.

Once that first quilt was finished, I immediately started the Christmas quilt above, which was a gift for my boyfriend's parents, who are awesome. And since then, the obsession has just grown! I have completed just the five quilts you see above, but I have also made a number of smaller sewing projects.


finished small project mosaic
See labels in the sidebar for more info!
This is just a sampling- there are several labels in the sidebar you can click to see more! 

What else do you do besides quilting?

Other than quilting, I am also learning to make clothes (slowly but surely- these projects usually take a backseat to quilting). I spend a lot of time with yarn and hooks/needles (see below). I learned to crochet long before I got into quilting. Lately I have been knitting more than crocheting because it is a new skill I picked up, but I still love both! I hate having idle hands while watching TV, so it's great to have some yarn projects to work on.

finished yarn project mosaic

When I'm not crafting, I am generally reading, baking, or spending time with my two dogs and boyfriend. Or you know, working. There was a period of a few months after I graduated in December 2012 with my Master's degree in Library Science that I was only working 10 hours a week, which left tons of time for crafting. I loved that, but I love being able to pay rent more :P Now I'm working in a library (I know! That's what my degree is in! AMAZING!) and really enjoying my first big-girl job. It was a struggle finding the balance between work and hobbies, but I think I've got it down now.

What are you working on now?

I currently have three ongoing quilt projects: my Elephant Swoon, my scrappy stitch and flip quilt, and a pinwheel quilt (that I haven't touched in over a month). I have news on the first two, though! I have finished my first swoon block and I absolutely LOVE IT.

diawabo elephant swoon


Look at all the elephants! LOOOOVE! I may notice my Swoon block has a few extra seams... That's because I had to piece together a few of the bits in order to have enough yellow fabric. But I think it looks okay. This is the only block I'll have to do that for, so it should be no big deal. 

I also finished all my blocks for stitch and flip quilt! I didn't snap a picture because I've shown you so many pictures of stacks of those blocks already, but soon I should have some new progress to show you! YAY!

Well, I hope you found something interesting in that long winded post! This blog hop has been so much fun so far and I have gotten to know so many new people. I really appreciate Beth putting it all together for us- you should go give her some love! 

Here is the remainder of the schedule:

Friday, July 5
Christa @ Christa Quilts!
Alyce @ Wonderland By Alyce
Anna @ The Crooked Banana
Rachel @ Sew Happily Ever After
Stephanie @ Quarter Incher
Shayla @ Sassafras Lane Designs
Caroline @ Carolines Craftiness
Lisa @ Hilltop House Creative Works


July 12
Karen @ Karen, {Novice} Quilter
Anne @ PlayCrafts
Rachel @ Let's Begin Sewing...
Jan @ Sew And Sow Farm
Anna @ Quilting Along The Grain
Cath @ Wombat Quilts
Sarah @ {no} hats in the house
Christen @ Love by Hand
Julie @ 627handworks


July 19
Karen @ Little Birdie Quilting Studio
Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures
Katie @ Snuggle Up With A Dish From Karma
Alison @ Making Happyness
Ella and Nesta @ Ella & Nesta's Little Room
Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft
Aylin @ AyliN-Nilya
Kelsey and Amanda @ Everyday Fray


July 26
Vicki @ A Quilter's Mission
RobinSue @ RobinSue Quilts
Elisa Lea @ Lovelea Designs
Elizabeth @ In The Boon Docks
Jenny @ A Note To Follow Sew
Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Sonia @ Fabric & Flowers
Emily @ Sew E.T. Em @ Sewing by Moonlight

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fresh Sewing Day

I can't believe June is already over. Wasn't it just May? Do I say this every month? Time just flies, I guess.

I feel like I got nothing at all accomplished in June, but I guess I did do a few things...


Left to right, top to bottom: Wonky Star Tote, June Newbee block, Stitch and Flip layout, Drawstring bag,
TARDIS wall hanging, first knit socks, stitch and flip block pile, first knit sweater.

I really love all the projects I've been working on this month. I have gotten a little sidetracked from the stitch and flip quilt, but I should really get back to it. I want to send it to a friend as a wedding present and his wedding is at the end of this month! EEP!

I have also starting cutting and sewing my first swoon block as of this morning! I'll post a picture as soon as I have an actual block to show. I am allowing myself to sew one block before I get back to my stitch and flip quilt...

What did you get done this month?

Linking up to Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet at Lily's Quilts!

Before you go! This week is my week on the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop! Come back later in the week for a swoony picture and some fun facts about me! :) Be sure to check out the other awesome ladies this week, too!

Friday, July 5
Christa @ Christa Quilts!
Alyce @ Wonderland By Alyce
Anna (ME!!) @ The Crooked Banana
Rachel @ Sew Happily Ever After
Stephanie @ Quarter Incher
Shayla @ Sassafras Lane Designs
Caroline @ Carolines Craftiness
Lisa @ Hilltop House Creative Works