Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Baltimore, MD (2013)

This year the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo came to Baltimore.  Last year, it was further south, down by D.C.  The change of venue made it so much easier to get to.  So easy to get to that we could take public transport.  Much cheaper than paying for parking downtown.

I was amazed by some of the quilts they had on display.  I took pictures of a few of my favorites.  I tried to be consistent while taking the pictures so I could capture the description of the quilt and all the particulars.  I've joined the two images together for ease of viewing.  If I've made a mistake and given credit to the wrong quilts, please let me know.
I liked this one for the story it told.  Our lives are made up of choices.
Everyone knows I'm a big fan of scrappy quilts.   
They can showcase a multitude of fabrics and bring a little bit of order out of the mostly (for me) unplanned chaos.
I love the idea of working through my scraps.  I've been playing around with it for a couple weeks.  Not enough to share, but it is a start.

That's it for today.  What kind of quilts do you like?  Something with chaos or orderly blocks marching along?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Storage Upgrade

This is pretty much my level of organization.  Stack things up until they fall over.  Then, curse at it, organize it and wait for it to fall over again.  It was time for an improvement.  Some quick measuring and a trip to IKEA got us everything we needed.
First, I put together another shelving unit.  
Then, a smaller one to go on top.  Due to my sewing suite being in the upstairs of a cape, I'm a little restricted when it comes to building anything tall.  It's all got to fit under the roof.
Then, I did some sorting and folding and organizing.  After about two hours of this, I had finished.  
Well, as finished as I'll ever be.  Look at all those quilts waiting to be made!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cutting Table Upgrade

Today Darling Husband and I trekked out to IKEA to pick up the parts to upgrade my cutting table.  It worked great as a cutting table, but I felt like there was so much space just being wasted.

This project requires two peeps to complete.  DH was kind enough to be my second peep for the project.  He also helped me carry the heavy boxes from the car.
Here is the old cutting table (I posted about this back in 2011).  He'd seen this IKEA hack on the IKEA Hackers site and thought it might be modified to fit my needs.  I took some measurements and did some math to make sure it would work for my workflow and comfort.  I like a cutting surface at around 36 inches high.  This is about what most kitchen counters are in height and is a good working height to help me avoid back pain resulting from hours of cutting.

We picked up the pictured pieces from IKEA to complete the upgrade.  I'm not going to give a step-by-step, just some pictures of the major assembly points.
First, we assembled the EXPEDIT bookcases.  The upside is that DH didn't smoosh my fingers during any of the assembly.  Which resulted in at least 50% less cursing than past IKEA projects.
Then, we attached six 4" CAPITA legs to each bookcase and stuck the little fuzzy feet that came with the bookcases to each of them.  If you plan on doing something like this, make sure you bring your drill.  Pilot holes are must for this kind of thing.  Trying to screw through that laminate layer will not make you happy camper.
Two peeps were also required to turn the shelf units over onto their little legs.  We added some of that no-skid drawer liner to the tops of the shelving unit.  I didn't want to screw the tabletop to the shelf units, so this will keep everything in place.  I spaced them far enough apart that there is a small overhang on the outside edges. 
Two peeps were required to put the top on without mishap.  The top is actually made of two IKEA tabletops (LINNMON) held together with flat bracing screwed to the underside.
I don't want to fill up all those little shelves with bins, drawers or doors until I understand what I want to do with the space.  I did pick up a couple bins, but I'll wait until the next time I go to IKEA for more, if I decide I want more.

I did decide I wanted at least on drawer unit on the right-hand side.  This is where I'll keep my scissors and rotary cutter.  The drawer below is for pins, seam ripper and pencils for marking.  I'm sure more junk will find its way in there, but right now this is what it holds.
I took a couple panoramic shots of the room in an attempt to capture both the amount of stuff in here as well as show how helpful this added storage space is.  This is the "before" picture.  Mostly because it shows piles of stuff all over the place.  I'm generally an organized person.  That means I know what is in every one of those piles.  (I know the panoramic is a little weird in a space this small.  For reference, you're seeing two sides to this small space in one image.)
Here is the "after" picture.  I've managed to tidy up a bunch of the surfaces and even put up some idea boards.  Everyone should have at least one of these.  A place to pin all kinds of things: scraps of fabric, pictures from magazines or printed from the internet.  Anything that inspires is fair game. 
I still have some work to do in the organization arena.  At least I've got a good start on it.  I should quit fooling around with the furniture and go back to sewing.  Although, now I think I need another shelving unit and some kind of storage that will be the base of my ironing station.  Hmmm... I need to make some kind of plan.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

Yesterday, we went to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  I took a bunch of pictures of the working dog show.  I love to watch these dogs do what they love to do.  Herding is really in their blood.  Everyone should have that kind of passion about something.

I did very little actual shopping.  We did brave the crowds to browse through all the stalls.  Plenty of vendors, just too many options for any one crafter to contemplate in a single day.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

To carry all my mad loot!

This weekend I'll be going to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  I wanted something that would both suit the occasion and be a great sewing project.  I found a tutorial for a fun bag over at Sew Hooked's blog.
I started with some denim I picked up at the thrift store.  I'm not sure how much yardage is there, but it seemed a great beginning for my bag.  With denim, I won't have to worry about interfacing.  It should hold up just fine on its own.

When I pulled the tape off, it left some sticky residue behind, but it didn't really affect my cutting.  Sure, this might be plug for Goodwill, but I do some of my best shopping there.  Besides, I'm not sure you can buy a single yard of denim for that price.
Since I can't make only one of anything, I cut out two bags.  I wanted to make sure that I had a couple to pick from.  Besides, I'm going with a friend and she might like a bag to hold some of her wooly loot.  I followed the basic directions provided by Sew Hooked for cutting and some of the construction.  I made some changes to the construction order and some of the methods to fit in with my own work-flow.  Not everyone creates the same and sometimes what works for someone else just doesn't work for me.  I'll post my construction instructions some time in the future. 
I picked this wonderful, playful floral and the blue which is something like a batik, but just a print.  I had enough that I cut a piece for an inner pocket.  I stitched it down around the middle so it makes two little pockets for the inside.  Great place to hold my wallet and my cellular. 
I picked up a great embroidery design as part of a sale over at Urban Threads.  They have amazing designs.  These aren't those cute and cuddly applique and embroidery designs that are more suited to the nursery than to your shirt.  Great stuff!  This one really works for this project since we'll be looking for fiber (both spun and un-spun) from around the country. 
I used small pieces of some scraps to cover up the fold of the fabric.  It was dirty from being on the bolt so long and hanging out on a thrift store shelf.  I'm not even sure it will come out in the wash, so covering it was the best option.  This adds a little bit of style and hides the imperfection  of the underlying fabric.  It also brings the lining fabric out into view. 
I learned that I would like the strap to be longer on this bag.  It fits, but I'd like to have it fall closer to my hip than my waist.  I'm not an overly tall person, so if it bothers me, it will likely bother taller people.  I'll have to add to it for all future bags.  (Yes, there are more of these in my future.)

I can't wait to head out to the festival.  This bag begs for yarn to nestle inside. 

UPDATE:  The bags were mentioned on the Urban Threads website Flickr Roundup for May.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hometown Hugs

All quilted up and ready for the binding.  I just went for a simple meander.  Don't want baby quilts to be too dense, they need to be snugly.
A close up of one of the blocks.  I really like this set.  Subtle but still bright and fun.
Here you can see the light blue flannel backing and the label with the quilt name, the recipient's name and the date.  (I blurred some of the label to retain privacy.)  Now, it's ready for giving!