Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Packaging is everything

To me, quilting is about aesthetics. Part of that aesthetics is in packaging. I know others have written about it, but I feel that this is important enough to reiterate the point.  I'm currently participating in two fabric clubs - one for civil war/reproduction fabrics and the other for batiks. They are supplied by different companies, but both are well-known among the quilting community (which is part of the reason why I have obscured their logos). So here are the packages that arrived for January's deliveries.

Reproduction Delivery
Batik Delivery

As you can see, their approaches to delivery are very different.  While the batiks were packaged in such a way that you could see a bit of each of the fabrics included, the repros were stacked and folded which made it difficult to determine any of the fabrics except the top. You can see the fabrics include in the repro package below.

They are so pretty, why wouldn't you want to show them?  You would think that a company whose sole purpose is to sell fabric, kits, and tools to make quilts would have a better concept of the benefits of aesthetics. I just don't get some companies. Opening a package that is also beautiful is a special treat, but by the same token, opening a package that looks thrown together is a disappointment.

That is all. Just saying my peace/piece.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Making a little progress

Classes began again on January 7th.  My classes were scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday and Monday night I went to check what rooms I had to go to only to discover that my afternoon class had been moved to Wednesday morning at 9am. Now, keep in mind that I live nearly 3 hours away from campus and this would mean getting up at 4:30am Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday to get to my classes in time.  Luckily, I had an understanding professor and I only have to get up that early on Tuesday and Wednesday instead.  I still have a crap-load of reading and homework each week, though. It's taken a few weeks to develop a  routine... to be honest, I'm still working on it.

I did get caught up on my Memories of Provence BOM. Of course, the next round of block kits arrived the following day. But for a night I was caught up!

And I started to work on my February wall quilt. I honestly haven't made much more progress than where I was in this picture, but I have made some by stealing a half hour here and another there.  

I may (or may not) have this done in time for Valentine's Day, but it will be close.

Finally, there are apparently big plans in progress for my mom's 60th birthday. So when I'm not reading or taking notes in class... I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do for it since I won't be able to travel for her day (her birthday falls in the middle of April which is pretty much the worst time for me to get away).  I have a few ideas, but I'm not very thrilled with the plans yet.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Blocks Progress

Wow. I can't believe this is my 100th post! I feel like it should be commemorated in some way, but I'm at a loss as to how... so, sorry about that.

I want to talk a little about my block progress tonight.  I'm feeling good about my 2013 to-do list so far. I've completed the two versions of block 1 for the Blogger Girl BOM.  It's the same block, just different color choices.

Blocks Progress by busybeavers
Blocks Progress by busybeavers
Blocks Progress, a photo by busybeavers on Flickr.
I'm really loving the black, brown, tan and cream colors together.  There's just something about the combination that is really speaking to me for some reason. It's not normally my style, but I'll take it!

Next, I made some progress on the Memories of Provence BOM as well. I completed block two and I've got block three cut out and ready for sewing tomorrow.
Blocks Progress by busybeavers
Blocks Progress, a photo by busybeavers on Flickr.
I just think these colors are striking as well. I love the blue in this block, but the red in the next one. I think I'm going to be quite pleased with these quilts.

Classes begin Monday, but I don't have to drive to campus until Tuesday this semester so my plan is to get the Memories of Provence block three sewn together and the Christmas BOM block one cut out tomorrow. Then to sew the Christmas block(s) together on Monday. I'm happy, happy, happy with this progress.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Updating the Sweat Shop

The hubs bought me a quilting frame that I can use with my day-to-day machine, but will give me the flexibility of a big, long-arm machine for Christmas.  I'm very excited about it, but the layout of the sweat shop was not very conducive to using this new, fun tool.  The hubs wanted to get me a new long table, so yesterday we went looking.  Something you should know about me is I hate thrift stores and garage sales. I just don't really want to sort through other people's crap, but I also knew it'd be the best place to look for a good wood table.

We went to two thrift shops and one Goodwill place without any luck. We talked about it and I wanted to check the local Habitat for Humanity's ReStore before heading home.  If we didn't find anything there, we would go home and regroup (do research and find more stores). We stopped and they had three tables that were just about perfect, but I wasn't sure they'd fit in the tiny room.  So we agreed to run home and take some measurements (Why didn't we do that before we left?), sadly, by the time we got back, one of the tables had been sold. So we snapped up the remaining two. 

After getting them home, I tried rearranging the furniture, but was getting frustrated because stuff was not working right. So, I left for the night and brought my graphing paper and measurements with me. I sketched it out and figured out what would work in the 9x11 room.  The drawing on the left is what was in the room and the right is how it is now. My sewing U is facing the double window.

These are from the door.

The tables we bought (for $25 total!) are from a hotel renovation (we think).  They each have a single drawer and a space for plugs - although, only one still has the plug, but that suits my layout perfectly!

Because it means I am FINALLY able to unpack this beaut!

I am so happy to have two cutting spaces, a new place for my serger, and plenty of room for my new quilting frame.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 Unfinished Projects (UFPs) Update and 2013 Plan

At the beginning of 2011, I recapped my progress on projects here and in 2012 here.  I think this is a good thing to do each year and helps keep me honest.  I always think I'm going to get more done and I get a lot done normally, but not always.

In 2012, I planned to complete:

  • Haunted House large wall quilt
  • Four anniversary wall quilts
  • Two Christmas wall quilts
  • In progress - Witch and Candy wall quilt - all cut out, but needs to be pieced, quilted and bound.
  • In progress - Full quilt (blue, green and pinks that I began in the 12th grade which no longer fits my style, but we could use another quilt around the house.)
  • Nine patch, Mother Goose baby quilt - need to finish piecing, quilt and bind
  • Winter Penguins wall quilt - almost done, I just have to finish the binding
  • Three potholders for a friend
  • SIL3 new baby gift
  • SIL4 new baby gift
  • Mary's Tea Cozy
  • Two Christmas stockings to fill an order

  • I think I got a lot accomplished last year - especially since I have no idea what the two Christmas wall quilts I planned on making are.    AND I made some progress on the witch and HS quilts which I think is even better!  

    In 2012, I plan to complete (among gifts I can't mention):

  • In progress - Witch and Candy wall quilt - all cut out, but needs to be pieced, quilted and bound.
  • In progress - Full quilt (blue, green and pinks that I began in the 12th grade which no longer fits my style, but we could use another quilt around the house.)
  • 4 Anniversary Quilts
  • 3 Canvas pouches for the hubby's chisels
  • Valentine Wall Quilt
  • Memories of Provence BOM
  • Blogger Girl BOM
  • Oxmoor Christmas BOM
  • August Wall Quilt

  • This year, I plan to take on a couple new projects as well - like applique.  I had hoped to begin applique, but in all honesty, I didn't have the time.  However, this semester, I have almost two hours between classes on two days a week. While I expect some time will be spent reading and working on school work, I also expect to be able to work on some handwork. The hubs bought me a book on how to applique for Christmas (he's the best!) so I'm hoping that will help encourage me to take this leap.

    I'm also hoping to complete a few Block of the Months (BOMs).  I signed up for one paid and one free BOMs by Monique Dillard.  The paid one is Memories of Provence using pre-determined fabric and the free one is Blogger Girl for which I have some fat quarters in black, brown and tans.  Then I also want to complete the Oxmoor Christmas BOM.  When I married into this family, my MIL was completing two of these - one for her and one for my husband's youngest sister.  She told me at the time that she had wanted to make one for all her children and with those finishes the girls would be complete. For any number of reasons, ten years later, my husband still doesn't have one. So the last time we were visiting them, I grabbed the binder with the patterns.  This BOM is about 20 years old, but I've got a lot of Christmas fabric and I think I can modernize it a bit.   If it's not too difficult, maybe I'll make my sister(s) one, too.

    Finally, I want to work hard on limiting my spending on quilting and supplies.  My teaching contract was not renewed and I have a sizable stash that I can draw from.  I have so much Christmas fabric that I have not opened a single fat quarter pack from this year's club.  I've decided that until I use a significant amount of it, I'm withdrawing from the fabric club.  I've also been acquiring fabric that I know my sisters like so I don't think I will need much (if anything) to complete their bday or Christmas gifts. 

    So those are my sewing goals for this year.  What are yours?