Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Taking sewing to the next level

I'm home sick today, and though I am sipping my tea and getting some rest, I don't like sitting in bed all day. I feel like it makes me worse. So I thought I'd take my tea into the office and share a little bit of what's going on with me, here with you.

I know I've been a little silent here on the blog lately, but we've been busy.  2014 is definitely going to be an adventure of a year, and we'll keep you posted throughout. But on my downtime, I've been sewing. Quilting to be exact.  Some of you might remember the quilted table runner I made in fall (you can see it in the picture of our buffet table below), and if you follow me on Instagram (@lovewellcrafted), you might have seen some photos already. Last year I took Elise Blaha-Cripe's Get Quilty E-Course and instantly loved how easy it was to teach myself how to sew something that always seemed so complicated: a quilt.

A bit on my sewing past:  For my 17th birthday my mom bought me a sewing machine. And while I was so in love with the idea of sewing, my mind always wandered and sitting down to sew my clothes wasn't a priority. I'm pretty sure we still have the fabric and pattern to make the skirt I wanted to make (I need to dig that up and finally make it!). Needless to say, my mom probably used it more than I did, with the exception of our Halloween costumes (in 2009? 10?) when E and I went as Fred and Wilma Flintstone. My mom walked me through the stitching of the straight seems up the sides of the felt. They came our pretty good (mostly thanks to her) and then it went back in to the corner, only to emerge again when I moved and (for some reason) insisted on taking it with me.

Thankfully I did because somehow, in my brain, marriage = a time to become domestic. I became the un-domestic goddess and decided to make our first Christmas Stockings.  The concept seemed easy enough, and while it really should have been pretty simple, my machine kept jamming, and I kept re-threading and re-turning knobs that I didn't understand until they were finally finished. Considering I was basically sewing blindly, they came out a little small, but over all pretty decent.

The machine got put away again until fall and the Get Quilty E-Course. I spent hours at Joann's picking out fabric and I did what I should have done with the stockings - I downloaded the manual for my machine! Suddenly it all started to make sense! That knob I had been turning wasn't for the thread tension it was for the width of the stitches. And my thread was breaking because I was using the wrong bobbins! Oh and my needle... yeah I put it in the machine wrong.

So a change of the needle, finding the right bobbins, figuring out the right settings, that all took a little bit of practice, but it started to make sense, and it all started coming together. Before I knew it I had a table runner, and while in my picky, judge-y eyes it is far from perfect, those little imperfections are proof of what the whole process really was...a learning experience.

I wanted to try again, with something a bit bigger, something we could use around the house... another blanket! So another few hours were spent at Joann's picking out the right patterns and colors. I decided to go with the e-course's "ombre" quilt, but in my own color scheme. Something fun and out-doorsy, as I thought the blanket would be good for picnics and other adventures.

I decided on five color schemes: light gray, deep purple, royal blue, light blue, and light green. The backing is light gray with white polka dots and the edging will be white with gray cross hatching. Then I had to cut the rectangles. This is the only reason I would have to space out the quilts I make in my life... the cutting is ridiculously tedious and time consuming. Not my thing.

But I finally finished that and got my rectangles all (somewhat) equal (or so I thought), and laid them out in the pattern I wanted. 

Then I stacked them back up and got to sewing. All the rectangles got stitched into color rows.  When I lined them up again, I found that the light green, light blue, and royal blue rows all had perfectly lined up rectangles, but the purple and gray rows were a bit wider. A little disappointing after all the time I spent cutting them exactly, but really, whatever. I still think it's going to look pretty darn neat!

The next step is to stitch all the rows together, then attach the batting and the backing, then sew those together, then finally (the part I'm most scared for), sewing on the edging!  But... like I said, it's all a learning process, and one that shells out some pretty fun end results, even if they aren't perfect! 

So that's my sewing story. I'm still working on it, and it will take a while with everything else going on, but it's a fun release at the end of the day (or while E is playing Call of Duty or watching Walking Dead - plus side - the machine drowns out the sound of zombies!).  I'll post more progress as it comes, but for more updates, you can follow me on Instagram @lovewellcrafted and follow the hashtag #soanisews for any pics I snap along the way! For now, I'm going back to bed with my box of tissues.  Good night!