Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013.

Hello 2013. I am happy to see you.

2012. You were not bad, I have to say it was a tough year for me, but a good one. Let's focus on the positives.

I learned to quilt in 2012. Major bonus points.

I started this blog on the tail end of the year.

I made a major commitment to my physical fitness.

I found some new, dear friends who already feel like they have been in my life forever.

I made lots of pretty things.

This is just a sample of the makes I am proud of. I need to keep my hard drive more organized and take more pictures of my pretties before I give them away.

This post is not really about 2012. I want to talk about 2013. I want to write down some resolutions.

You know they say if you write it down it becomes more real (I just made that I up, I think).

List of 2013: 

1. Do not injure myself with my sewing machine, rotary cutter, iron, seam ripper, etc. See this story. These are serious power tools. For real.

2.  Finish works in progress.

This started as mini-quilt and it grew larger. I am going to keep adding fabric to it until it looks less like a cult flag. Flawed premise? possibly. Improvisation practice? yes.

This is an honest work in progress (not just a stalled project, see above), my egg star quilt. I will talk more about this project soon. It combines two of my favorite loves, stars and architextures fabric. Trust me, this project merits a full blog post soon. I have 10 blocks done! I need 25.

My house quilt started as a little fun sewing from Elizabeth Hartman's book. Then I had six houses and I decided it should become a quilt. That was six months ago. I still need six more...

3. Work hard to fulfill commitments I have made. I have joined two bees for 2013. I have never done a bee before, but I am ready and excited. I can not wait to start the fun and get to know the ladies I will be working with. I am worried that I will be traveling for work and I will get lazy. I need to manage my time and make these bees a priority. I was always good at turning in homework on time. This is homework (fun homework). 

4. Seriously learn paper piecing. My husband gave me a membership the the Lucky Stars BOM club from Don't Call Me Betsey. I have already made my practice block. I am so excited for the next one and I can not wait to put together a star quilt next December. 

5. Get over my shyness and get out there to meet other quilters (both on the internet and in "real life"). I am kind of shy, which is why I have not gone to any Triangle Modern Quilt Guild meetings (what are you waiting for Sarah, an engraved invitation?). I did sign up for these bees, I am trying to not be a blog lurker, and I am trying to get with the flickr and instagram worlds (follow me on instagram at stitchingandbacon and flickr at lowry.sarahm). I signed up for Sew South (so excited). Are you going?

Resolution. Go to a Triangle Modern Quilt Guild meeting. They seem like good people. They meet down the road from me (at my lqs, embarrassing, I know). Resolution II. don't. be. awkward.

I know that the internet world and the in person worlds of quilting are wonderful and have a lot to offer.  I have learned that from starting this blog. Everyone out there is so wonderful, yes I am talking you.

Thanks for reading this friends.

Welcome 2013. It's nice to see you, your hair looks great. Are those new shoes?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Presents and a Story

It has been quite a couple of weeks. I sort of lost track of time. First it was December, then it was Christmas, and now December is almost over.

December was a tough month for me this year. I was in Atlanta when it started for work and then the week before Christmas I was working in the field all week. In between, we baked some Christmas treats, decorated the house, cleaned (oh family Christmas visits!) and I frantically sewed presents.

Now, I get to share some of those finishes here! The recipients all seemed to like them and I had fun trying to make them to suit individual personalities.

My mother asked for a knitting needle roll. I based this one off of a couple of online tutorials for the basic design. The hot pink framed cats, are a nod to my parents' little kitties (Although, they never get a chance to go outside and kill birds. This fabric is a called "Out to Lunch", by Tammis Keefe my selvedge cuts off the manufacturer. It is a linen I picked up on super sale a while back knowing I would make something for my mom with it. The gray is Kona Coal and the pink is Kona Camellia. The inside trim is a Liberty Lifestyles print.

I think my mom likes it... It might be a bit "modern" for her taste, but I could not resist the hot pink and blue framing of the cats.

For the rest of my important ladies, I made fold over clutches, LBG studios pattern (btw, this is a great pattern).

These were really well received.

This leads to the story portion of this post. First, let me set the scene. I was sewing zippers on these little pouches. It was Saturday before Christmas and I was working on a deadline. I had an assembly line going and I was feeling pretty good.

I was having some trouble with the zipper on the teal bag. I could just not get it straight and I did not have TIME to be taking it out and redoing it. So, I gritted my teeth and started using my fingers to line up the zipper with the bag edge. Then, I felt the needle go right through my finger tip. Next, this is the worst part, I saw my impaled finger. I will spare you the grizzly details. Needless to say, I lifted my needle immediately and pulled my finger out. Umm, I am not proud to say I began freaking out at this point and my husband came running and he had to pull out the thread. That's right, I sewed my finger. To the fabric. Yeah.

It turns out there is nothing really to be done for this type of injury (as long as it is not near the base of the nail and does not get infected). I am current on tetanus (professional archaeologist here).  We did not even have to see a doctor (we called to ask). It is actually pretty much healed at this point. I just can not unsee that needle. through. my. finger.

My husband gets major credit for taking care of me and throwing away the bloody thread and needle. Although he did point out the needle seemed perfectly usable, to which I responded, "I am NOT sewing with something that has been through my body."

Most importantly there was no blood on my gift. I finished it that evening.

There are no pictures for this story (you are welcome).

Anyone else had sewing related injuries? I need to learn what to protect myself from in the future... Rotary cutters are coming to get me...

I hope you had a Merry Christmas friends! I am going to post about my New Year's resolutions soon. Happy Sewing!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crazy Time Sewing

This weekend was full of crazy time sewing. We need to get our boxes in the mail full of Christmas presents.

I ran around like a crazy lady trying to get it all put together. I thought about showing you a picture of my messy sewing space. It was just too embarressing

This is just one example...

I decided I wanted to make a mini-quilt for Derek's grandparents and ended up having a couple of fits and starts with this project. I mean, seriously, I made this quilt three times.

I stared with these tulips. Then, they were taking too long! I love them though...

Then I put together these little flying geese. Except when the little quilt came together it did not look quite right. I could not put my finger on it, so I put the top on instagram (btw, follow me at stitchingandbacon). My friend Ashley defined it for me when she told me it looked like a cult flag. Yup. Sure does.

Scratch that idea.

I used the scraps from the "cult flag" to make this little pinwheel quilt. It came together super quickly and the quilting was really fun. I think that Gammie and Grandad will really love it.

Sorry for the instagram and iPhone photos! I did not have time for fancy camera pictures.

Back to work! I still have presents to make that need to be ready for Christmas. I know, I am down to the wire right now. Only zippy pouches left!

I am in the field this week, but I get to work from home. No sewing will get done, but I get to sleep in my bed every night. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Christmas Presents... [WIP]

I am crazy.

There are 13 days until Christmas (something I think most of us know). Derek and I have to ship many of our presents across the country.

So, naturally, I am nowhere near finished with my presents and I started a new project last night. Btw, these photos are terrible. It is dark when I get home from work, so the light is awful.

I am making my husband's grandparents a mini flying geese quilt. I got all of little geese cut and pieced last night and now I just have to lay them out. Gammie and Granddad are two truly amazing people who are special to both Derek and I.  Gammie is a quilter, so I know she will really appreciate my efforts. We share our work, one of her quilts is on our bed, and she constantly inspires me.

I am making my dad a roll-up tool kit (sort of like a knitting needle case). He requested this custom organizer for his airplane tools. Did I mention that my father was a private pilot? To get the custom fit he is looking for, he sent me the tools. From Portland.

This is going to be the outside of the roll. Love Architextures.

This is what I have so far. Now I need to get the pockets all together, labeled, and sent out. Ha! That is a ton of work.

Okay, enough internet time. Back to sewing.


PS-I got my fabrics back from the color wheel swap. I am in love with this gorgeous rainbow. Thank you Megan from City Stitches for organizing. I love fun mail!

Linking up with Works in Progress Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Magical Weekend at Home! Embroidery!

After nine days in Atlanta, I am finally home. Woot!

Coming home after a work trip always feels like a party. My husband usually has one of my favorite beers and a special dinner waiting for me. The cat runs circles around the house (I think of this as a greeting of sorts). Our bed seems extra comfy. 

This time it was extra awesome to come home because I had happy fabric mail waiting for me!

This is (from right to left) Heather Ross's Playing with Horses and Nursery Versery, two Liberty Lifestyle Bloomsburry Collection prints (don't ask me which prints...), and oh deer by MoMo for Moda. These may have been my black friday splurges. Can you believe those Heather Ross prints were on sale?

I also got some more Kona grays. Lately I have been using gray for everything... My stash was really looking depleted. I feel like gray really allows bright colors to pop without showing the dirt like white. This is great for babies and purses... Lately, I have been finding myself using more and more solids. I have aspirations of making an entirely solid quilt top soonish (After Christmas for sure though). 

Speaking of Christmas, has everybody else been buried under present making this year? I sort of over committed myself to handmade presents and I have been going a bit nuts.  Speaking of me going nuts...  um, normally I sew way more quilts. All of my little embroidery projects, pouches, purses, etc. are totally a product of the Christmas season. I miss you quilts! I will come back to you soon! I promise!

I finished this embroidery project in Atlanta and got it mounted and pretty today! I am not going to talk about the line at A.C. Moore to get the canvas. I am still traumatized.

It is even stamped on the back. Right on.

This is for our friend Julie to put next to her desk while she works on her dissertation (I do not think Julie reads this blog, if you are reading this Julie, sorry). I hope it makes her smile (and she does not feel like she has to hide it from polite company).

It has to travel to Germany now, so travel like the wind cheeky embroidery!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hotel Room Sewing...

I have been in Atlanta for nearly a week now. This is a work trip and it is going pretty well, but I am really ready to come home. Eventually, eating out wears on you and you realize the hotel staff know you a little too well...

I am working in downtown Atlanta. Archaeology in downtown Atlanta.

I grew up in Portland, OR and I was super sheltered. I do not think I really knew what a bad part of town was until I started this project in Atlanta. I am working in a BAD part of town. I have witnessed homeless person fights, stumbled upon bodily fluids, found drug paraphernalia I did not even recognized (thank you boys for explaining that all to me), and worked in the parking lot of a strip club. Don't you worry, we are super safe. The police know we are there, we are never alone, and always work in broad daylight. It is just strange for me to think about people being so bad. I know people have problems not entirely within their control and different is not bad. It is hard to explain, and so outside of the scope of Stitching and Bacon... One of my friends told me I should start a blog detailing all of the crazy stories I have from my various stints in downtown Atlanta. There are so many.

Now, are you still with me? This is one of the areas we are working. Totally crazy right? This area is so desolate it is regularly used as a set for crazy little things like, The Walking Dead and some movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger that is not out yet. We actually had to wait to start our work because the film crews were out working. No biggie.

When we got there the parking lot was smeared with fake blood (I know it is fake). We found these blood packets. Gross right? I generally cannot watch these movies because, well, I get nightmares (I know I am a grown woman). If someone has seen Walking Dead, do you recognize this building?

I did not bring my sewing machine to Atlanta (this time...), but I did bring some embroidery and some EPP hand sewing. I made this little embroidered sign for a friend for Christmas while sitting on my hotel bed watching reality TV. It is kind of inappropriate, but she will love it. I am going to add some more little flowers and maybe a vine around it, then I will mount it.  Easy Christmas gift!

My paper piecing project was sort of thrown together while I was packing. This is my first English paper piecing project and I am loving it. It is so relaxing. I do not think I could do a whole quilt, maybe this will be a pillow? Any ideas?


 I went to a great fabric store here in Atlanta on my day off. Let me just say, Intown Quilters, is an amazing place. If you are in Atlanta, go! It is sunny and warm. The ladies there are happy and full of suggestions. The selection is spectacular. I managed to rein myself and only bought three fabrics.

This is a fabric by etsuko furuya for Kokka. I love how it looks like a classic wallpaper until you look closely, then you keep seeing little hidden surprises.

I also got some Washi and some chevrons. I am obsessed with the Washi. Look at how pretty it looks like the chevrons.

Happy Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Finished Quilt + Small Blog Meet

This summer I fell in love with an entire book of quilts. When I first started to see pictures from Elizabeth Hartman's Modern Patchwork, my jaw dropped. I wanted to make all of the quilts. How rare is that? 

Then my birthday came and my husband got me the book. That day, I bought these fabrics and started planning this quilt. 

Our friends had just announced their engagement and I knew I wanted to make them a quilt. I tried to make it a appeal to both of them. Derek helped me pick the fabrics and together we chose some nice geometric prints. 

I wanted to add a little warm colors so I threw in some orange.

This quilt was really fun to sew and it started coming together really fast. I quilted it with a rounded free motion zig zag. To be honest, it is not my favorite quilting I have done. I like it washed though... I think.

I do not normally follow patterns to the letter, but this time I did. I just love how interesting the quilt backs are in this book.

Our friends loved it. I hope they get many years of snuggling under this throw! Congratulations Dave and Jenny, we are so happy we have met you. You make our lives better.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Blue Roller Rink (Ice rink? Hehe...)
Size: 52"x80" (approximately)
Fabrics: Kona Charcoal and Snow (I think?) for the borders, I can not remember the fabrics from the front (message and I will look them up), and assorted Kona blues from my stash.
Binding: Kona Charcoal
Pattern: Roller Rink from Modern Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman

Finished: November 2012

I am linking this post up to the Small Blog meet and Fresh Sewing Day. Welcome new people! I am so happy to see you and I am excited to look at everything you are doing. 

Happy December First!

Lily's Quilts
Lily's Quilts

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sunny Patchwork Table Runner

Today was a day. I got up in North Carolina and now I am preparing to go to bed in Georgia. 

So much has happened, I will outline it in bullet points.
  • I drove so much. 

  • My cat attacked me (for no good reason... jerk). 

  • I drank an energy drink.

  • I worked at my job site for what seemed like 20 minutes and managed to get totally frustrated. 

  • Went out to dinner with a dear friend. 

  • Embroidery.
That makes me more tired just looking at it. I don't want to talk about this any more, I do want to talk about this sweet little table runner I made. 

Last weekend, I decided I just wanted to sew. I have been obsessed with my low value prints lately and decided to just cut some patchwork.  

A few hours later I had another little square, full of squares.

I added some more fabric, did some quilting, and then I had this sweet little table runner.

I did very little measuring, just cutting and sewing. At the end of the project, I had a big smile on my face. I was feeling relaxed. 

I don't need a table runner (it is a little large for my tiny little table). This is not exactly intended as gift for anyone. It just seemed like something I needed to make, even if it was something I did not need.

Therapeutic sewing. Sometimes a random project in the midst of Christmas gift sewing madness is medicine.

Happy Wednesday!

[No works in progress this week, I left for a work trip and actually did not leave any sorts of unfinished business in my sewing lair... well, not much and I don't have any pictures with me]

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sunburst Baby Quilt

Finished quilt!

This quilt is going to a special home. I grew up in close proximity to this baby's father. His little sister and I were born months apart, and we all spent a great deal of time together throughout childhood. I mean, how many people (other than your siblings) can you say you have run naked through the sprinkler with? Now my friend and his lovely wife are going to be parents themselves. They are the first of our tight group to join that exclusive club and I am so happy for them. We have sort of grown apart recently, but I still feel a little like my brother (or close cousin?) is having a baby! Yay!

I based this quilt design off of Denyse Schmidt's, Crazy Star Quilt (in Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration). I am saying based, because I did not so much follow the pattern as look at the picture in my book. Then I decided to make a quilt that looks sort of like it. 

 I ended up paper piecing my strips for the points (instead of using the cloth base that Denyse recommends). Obviously, I scaled it down a bit to be baby sized.

This baby is entering life during a cold, dark, Chicago winter, so I wanted this quilt to be bright and cheerful. I also intentionally did not make the quilt that baby-ish... It is just downsized adult quilt. We do not know the baby's gender yet (well, maybe someone knows, but they aren't telling me), so I wanted this to work for a boy or a girl. I also wanted the mom and dad to have something pretty, bright, and grown up to look at while they are facing the challenges and rewards of this little guy or gal.

I took an un-official survey at my office (sample size = 1 adult male with two daughters) and my respondent told me he enjoyed having things for his girls that were not 100% little kid looking. What do other parents out there think?

That is not to say that I do not want this quilt treated like an adult thing. I would be so happy if it got abused, played on, worn out, and washed a million times. I think I generally speak for all quilters who make baby quilts when I say, I want this sucker to get loved. It is washable. Memories made on handmade things are beautiful. 

I fell in love with Denyse's quilting design and decided to fill up the negative space with the most adorable free motion, sort of organic (read: messy and unplanned), loops. I just made them on my home sewing machine while watching old episodes of TV on Netflix. I think it works.

The back is made up of some Kona strips I had left over from another quilt, some of the Kona Steel (I think?) from the front, and a single strip of Madrona Road (Haystack?) to mimic the bright star on the front. The star is made entirely out of scraps, curated for their brightness and happiness, and sewn together at random. Goodness, I love improvising!

Quilt Stats:
Name: Sunburst Baby Quilt
Size: 45"x43"
Fabrics: Kona Steel (I think?) for the front background, assorted scraps for the star (comment if you are curious about a specific fabric and I will try to find out what it is), the back has some Madrona Road Haystack, and assorted Kona blues from my stash.
Binding: Scraps of binding from my leftover binding (I am the worst at remembering fabric names!)
Pattern: Based on Crazy Star (from Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration)
Quilting: Free motion loops (à la Denyse Schmidt)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Works in Progress [Wednesday]

I know it is barely still Wednesday, I am totally getting this one in under the wire. You see, I got sick this week and it was a challenge. I am all medicated up right now and I am feeling great. So, on to sewing.

I got ton done this week after I got home from my work trip to Knoxville. If it had not been for my mystery illness, this week would have been all about finished.

1.) This gift is getting bound, it totally deserves its own blog post when it is finished. I have a love/hate relationship with hand sewing bindings. Movie time = good, cat time = good, bindings = look good, sitting still = hard for me...

2.) This is a little gift for someone special, I am almost done with it, just need to quilt the outside and assemble. I am in love with Liberty, so it makes me happy to see my Liberty in action. Also, the recipient is in love with cats, so I know this will make her smile. I kind of hate my quilting on the outside, any suggestions for how to quilt this? These pictures are not great, but I want to do something pretty in the negative space around the pink.

3.) I am making a little fold over clutch for my sister-in-law for Christmas. I am pretty sure she will love this (also sure she does not read this blog). I was kind of hating the leather on this one, so I ended up taking it off and adding a linen bottom. It looks hardcore awesome now.

4.) On a whim this afternoon, I wanted to play with scraps and do some patchwork. This is a little table runner I put together. I am going to quilt it up soon and, hopefully, give it away for Christmas. If I get attached it might be on my table. This is just real life here.

Quilting suggestions for this sucker would be welcome too. 

5.) I have made some progress with the tulips, I  am almost out of the baby blue linen and I do not know if I have enough to finish. I have no idea who made this baby blue or what color it is. The thrills of using scraps that you have no idea how to purchase more of. I am living life on the edge. I will figure something out, right? 

Whew! That was a ton of sewing this week. So many unfinished projects... I am going to make a concerted effort to finish some of these and get them up on the blog this week

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans out there! To everyone else, Happy Thursday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced