2015 was hard. Emotionally, physically, monetarily, and creatively. It wasn’t without it’s small successes though, and making these mosaics reminded me that I actually made a lot of things! (Although, to be honest, I photographed and blogged a lot of things that had been made prior to 2015, but pictures make them real and I can hardly remember dates otherwise :)
I made some of my most favorite quilts ever (and painted some cool murals), some I haven’t even told you about yet! I’m proud to say that every quilt I made this year, aside from 2 yards of neutrals, was made using only my stash. And somehow, my stash feels no smaller! ;)
I made a lot of clothes, some more successful than others.
I had my first, small solo show, I was part of a group show with my studio mates, and I sewed a lot of pillows!
Perhaps most excitingly, I renovated the basement of my studio and brought this beauty home! (It’s hard to take a good photo of her, I apologize.)
As some of you know, I did not end up being able to buy the fabric shop, so I’m having to reevaluate things. I’m also trying to find the balance between overindulged self pity and being honest and vulnerable with people. I’m really struggling with this change of plans. Shame, embarrassment, anxiety…
But, I must move ahead. I can’t sleep forever.
So, I will be investing in kaitcetera full time!
I’m grateful and excited to still be getting the longarm machine. I’ve been hard at work renovating the embalming room at the studio to put it in, which has been quite the undertaking (pun intended :). I picked up the machine this week and I hope to start offereing longarm services by the end of the month!
I will also be putting products in some local shops and opening an online store. Keep an eye out for more information on that!
I trimmed it down to 45″ square, backed it with a vintage sheet I love, quilted it in Virginia with a needle and thread pattern, machine bound it in musical notes, added a hanging sleeve, and now it adorns my studio wall!
I’ve had a list for a very long time or little things I’d like to make for my studio space. With the recent organization and burst of creativity and productivity I’ve felt lately, I finally crossed a few things off.
I attempted to make a sewing machine cover a few years ago but never quite got the math right. I took another stab at it though and this time it was a breeze! I used some flying geese I’ve had for a long time for one side and an (Amy Butler?) home dec print for the other. I think I like the orange side better, it’s so cheery!
I made a set of coasters I made years ago (incorrectly, I might add) that I always hated so I just threw them out and made a few more. I used the stack-and-whack method, based on the coaster pattern from Denyse Schmidt’s Quilts but I only used 4 fabrics and cut each 5″ by 7″ (instead of 5 by 8). I wanted to pull from both the green wall and the orange sewing machine cover.
When I made an ironing board cover a year or so ago, I cut it too small but never took the time to fix it. I finally tore out the old stitching and added another channel for the rope and it fits so much better! No more coming off the board when I’m ironing fabric and pulling it towards me.
I’ve spent the last three weeks redoing my sewing studio. I used to have, among other things, a combination of free standing shelves and a portable project wall which have now become a rail and bracket shelving system to the ceiling, a permanent 8′ square project wall (using this tutorial), a peg board, and yarn cubes!As it turns out, drilling into nearly 100 year old brick covered in concrete is a PAIN IN THE ASS. Even with the right tools, finally, it took 5 trips to the hardware store to get everything I needed. I’d say it was worth all the work!The shelves are 7″ deep at the bottom and 20″ at the very top with a couple other sizes in between. I had the cubes already and used a studio-mates’ yarn winder to re-ball all my yarn so they stack neatly. Vinyl is rolled and stored in a large shipping tube. I spent about $300 all told, and I’m really happy with it.
I also finished my color wheel quilt from last year’s Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts project! I hung it high up in the small community space of the studio and I love it there. I will take better photos of it and show it off soon.Currently, my Field Study kaleidoscope quilt is on the project wall, something I am more than ready to get back to work on!
I haven’t had any deadlines for a couple months, aside from the Last Minute Patchwork projects (which I’m gradually doing worse on, it feels like. I will finish the duvet cover!) but all of a sudden I find myself having a craft fair on Saturday and two quilts due by the middle of August, not to mention another LMP+QG quilt!
The weather has cooled a little around here (lower 90s instead of lower 100s) so the studio has been bearable. I went in yesterday after work and found myself trying to pick fabrics for a quilt, making a new ironing board cover, sorting my craft fair things to see what else I need to make, drawing out a quilt design, and starting a special request project and I got so overwhelmed! So of course I started with the ironing board cover, the least important thing on the list..
Needless to say I will be really busy these next three weeks. I haven’t bought fabric in what feels like forever but I think I might get to indulge myself a little bit with these two commissions. I’ll do my best to check back in and let you know how it’s going!
One of the changes around here is that I’ve moved into a studio space outside where I live. I didn’t think I wanted that for a long time because I figured it would hinder late night productivity sessions and such, but I now have a space in the building where I work and I’m super excited about it.
I work at a coffee shop called Krankies and the building they inhabit, which was originally a meat packing plant, is filled with many other things. There are apartments and a web design company upstairs, a guitar repair place, some practice/teaching studios, and Device, a screen printing business in the basement, the Electric Moustache gallery on the main floor and the studio with spaces for 8 artists (including Laura Lashley, Liz Simmons, and Ian Dennis). I moved in and set up pretty quickly, minus shelving to hold my fabric. I had built in shelves in my last space so now I have to figure something else out, something to put in a concrete wall, no less.
What's on my design wall: The Undertoad
Things show no signs of slowing down. I’m powering through to finish a commission this week, hopefully going up to Roanoke this weekend for some quilting action with Lindsay and to hang out with Catherine, finishing another quilt for a shower on St Patrick’s Day, having another sewing date with Cait for our next LMP+QG project, and then going to DC for a long weekend. Looking farther ahead, my dad is coming in April, I’m going to the beach for my birthday in May, I’m still trying to go to Toronto this spring, and I’m hoping to get four quilts that have been in the works for awhile off the WIP list, and sew a couple more dresses. Let the productivity commence!
Nothing like guests to make you clean the house. Usually that just means the kitchen and the dining room but since Caitlin was coming over on Sunday afternoon, I had to clean my studio and make sure two people could fit in there :) While cleaning, I came across a few orphaned blocks that I stuck to my project wall, thinking maybe I’ll do something with them.
North Carolina is one of the hungriest states in the US. It was brought up recently (through a source I cannot find) and it spurred on some people around here to do something about it. My friend and coworker Philip put together a compilation of local bands for fall. (You can listen to it here.) A local visual artist was paired with each band to create a piece of art that correlated or was inspired by the song on the comp. There was also a festival this last week/end including most of the bands and a gallery show of the art. All the proceeds from the sale of the compilation go to the Second Harvest Food Bank (you can also buy it here!). We got a group of artists together to make art pieces that were approximately 6 by 6 inches that were donated and sold to benefit the food bank as well. I made this…
It didn’t sell but I really like it and it’s inspired me to make a series of 6″ blocks to finish and hang. I started a small paper pieced hexagon block to get my collection going.
The ergonomics of my sewing room suck. I’m ashamed to admit that my sewing table and my cutting table are the same table. Ugh, I know. There should be at least an 6″ height difference between them so it’s too high to sew on and too low to cut on.
But I make do. It mostly means I need to break it all up, sew a little, cut a little, iron some, lay on the floor, ya know. So a day full of cutting was hard on my back. I took a stack of 12 or 14 plaid button up shirts and cut them into flat pieces, ready to be cut again into triangles and sewn into kaleidoscope blocks. I am debating changing the layout from this mock up I made to this pattern. Opinions?
I feel like I’ve been really busy with quilty related things but like I haven’t gotten anything done that I can show for it.
I embroidered a label for a quilt last night but it’s one of my commissions so I can’t show it to you. I have mostly been working to compile a list of all the quilts I’ve ever made for my new website and wrangling pictures from people I gave quilts to back when I didn’t realize the importance of photographing them. I’m kind of appalled about that, honestly. These days I probably take at least 30 pictures of every quilt and it’s process but many of the first weren’t documented at all. That said, I do have at least one picture of almost all of them by now and I hope that one day I will visit all these people and take the photos that they deserve.
I set out this morning to clean my studio but in the midst of that effort, I kept just finding things to work on. So I finished a couple grocery totes from way back around May craft faire time, I boxed up a couple works in progress that were strewn about, I measured the angles of my Christmas tree skirt and realized I’ll have to take apart and redo 5 of 6 pieces, and made some headway on my Single Girl quilt.
I like how my phone takes wide photos.
I’m learning from the first one I made (a gift I have yet to give and show) and I realized why I ended up with twice the green backgrounds I needed – the fabric was folded in half when I traced and cut! Duh! But that just means I’ll get to make a third Single Girl quilt (with Kaffe Fassett?) and that a’int such a bad thing. So I’m cutting the backgrounds a little bigger so i can trim them down better, I’m not pinning anything, and I’m pressing the seams in opposite directions so I can match up the rings better. So far so good; two rings down, only 14 to go!
When I was photographing old quilts today Amos snuck outside to “hunt” and roll around in the grass. It was pretty cute but when I brought him back inside, he wouldn’t stop crying. I wish he could be an outdoor cat but that time he was missing for 24 hours really freaked me out…