Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Snow and WIP

So for the past two days it has done this. Snowed. Blah! It would be pretty if it wasn't the beginning of SEPTEMBER! Welcome to Canada folks! Most of the weather stereotypes about us are pretty much true, just so you know.

The power was out at the school, so no school for the boys today. They are quietly playing- surprise surprise- and I thought I'd take the opportunity to get in a little sewing while we are house bound.
Then I remembered.

No sewing machine- it's at my sisters. We share a machine.

So it's a cutting day for me. And I hate cutting. But it must be done. I wish I could hire someone to cut for me. That would be nice. Expensive, but nice.

I'm cutting more strips for the modern bargello I'm doing. Modify that to the quilt that I'm still doing.
My goal is to have it done by the end of this month.

I'm trying to decide on a grey minky backing or the silver mirror ball dot of Micheal Miller. Minky scares the heck out of me, but is much more suited to where we live. But the mirror dot is so pretty! Decisions, decisions.

Linking up for a work in progress. Hopefully soon a finish!

 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sew Fresh Quilts

Friday, 5 September 2014

Double Wedding Ring Quilt Finished

So a month and a bit after it was supposed to be completed, I finally finished the quilt I was making for my brother and his then fiance, now wife.

Whether out of audacity, ignorance, or stupidity, I thought that a double wedding quilt would be the perfect project for me. In all honesty, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The idea of curves terrified me at first until I did about three of them and then I got the hang of it and didn't even need to use pins.

The idea for this quilt came from Victoria Findlay Wolfe's quilt. I loved the idea of a modern take of a double wedding quilt and couldn't wait to try and replicate it.

If you want to know more about how the quilt was actually constructed you can see here.

I decided to quilt the thing using some traditional motifs, and some radiating lines to keep a more contemporary aspect to it. I did a horrible job at basting and as a result had some issues (see here).

BUT I am getting better at free motion quilting. Sort of moronic that I keep waiting until I do a large complex wedding quilt to actually do any sort of free motion quilting, but so far it's worked out okay. I kept the backing a simple Amy Butler print because I had so many seams already happening on the front. The thought of having to quilt through more was daunting (and honestly after the front I was pretty much done piecing anything).

And then after I had quilted the thing and was squaring it up, I noticed I forgot to piece a whole corner of the quilt. So the corner became a quilt as you go part of the quilt as I added a top corner piece to it. 

The binding was actually the thing that went together with little fuss and difficulty (and that's saying a lot when you consider my aversion to bindings in general).

In fact, the hardest part of the quilt was taking some dang pictures of it. It got hauled all over in search of a great photo opportunity, which never materialized. Needlessly to say, it needs a wash- especially after getting stuck and dragged through a bike wheel on route to a potential photo shot.

Added to this was the lack of general enthusiasm and cooperation I get when photographing a quilt. I think I need to give my family members a course on how to hold a quilt. Like hold it straight (okay confession, I can't take a straight picture to save my life, but the problem is compounded when the quilt is crooked in the first place). AND don't step on it and for heavens sake refrain from the very audible sighs and complaints.

I'm looking forward to giving this quilt to my brother and his wife this Sunday. It was fun to design and make, despite it being a pain in the butt (sort of like my brother sometimes too, so fitting I guess).

This is also a finish on my Q3 FAL list. Yay!!! I finished one!

Linking up my fab finish with Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Retail Therapy

So to say that August has been a busy month is a little bit of an understatement. You may have heard me go on about it before. Or not, seeing as I seem to never be blogging these days.

Weddings, church responsibilities, vacations- that are more exhausting than relaxing- and buying a house have happened this month. Add to that facing the reality of going back to work at a high needs school after a maternity leave. And teaching a grade I've never taught before.

Second graders know nothing- like literally nothing.  I asked one of the them during our dinosaur research how tall their dinosaur was and they replied 21 cm. They had measured the picture of the dinosaur in the book! Not quite what I was looking for, but I guess at least they can use a ruler and measure. You have to find the silver linings whenever and whenever you can.

In lieu of no sewing to ease the stress of the day, I have taken to a little late night retail therapy to soothe my frazzled brain.

It felt so good, it might have gotten a little out of hand. But who can resist Anna Maria Horner Loulouthi or Cotton and Steel? I may have more coming. Ok, I do have more coming.

And all of a sudden I decided that I needed ribbons. I don't regret that buy though. They are pretty. Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner and Tula Pink. Now I just need to find something to use them on...

And then like some drunken night of adventure, I have no idea how Micheal Miller gnomes and children sucking lollipops ended up in my cart. I must have thought it was a good idea at the time...

I also stopped by a quilt shop that I had never been to before and found some great Tula Pink, Urban Mod by Art Gallery Fabrics and Frippery by Thomas Knauer. I'm slightly in love with the Thomas Knauer.

The lady who was cutting my material suggested that I get a babysitter the next time I came in so I could browse without the companionship of my sons, who were slightly terrorizing the place. I didn't know if I should be offended that she was trying to get rid of my sons or acknowledge that it might be a great, if not expensive, idea.

I also stocked up on some Essex linen. And of course the boys found some fabric that they wanted. Super heroes- anyone surprised?

Hopefully, as things calm down, people get back to school and everyone gets back into a routine of sorts, all the buying will eventually translate into making!
Until then retail therapy!

Linking up, because I actually have something to show!

Molli Sparkles

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A Note on Blogs

So, there hasn't been much sewing or blogging going on around here for the past month or so. But I'm not going to apologize, that's just the ways it goes my friends. We've had an unbelievable summer up until this point, and if you live in this country, and you get a good summer, you make the most of it- and we have been.

Summer stuff

I did use quilts this summer though. Does that count?

So, no blogging or sewing, but in preparation for going back to school (which I did this week), I have been reading a fair amount of blogs. Probably not yours, sorry. Teacher blogs. And let me just go on a tangent (like I always do) and say that teachers have blogs figured out. If you want some examples of good blog designs that cater to their genre and niche, just peruse teacher blogs. In fact they're almost overboard. Everything matches and is cutesie (which is awesome if you like that).  Especially the kindergarten teachers.

More summer stuff and my somewhat cutesie classroom

First off, you are a special person if you teach kindergarten and like it. You are even more of a super human if you teach kindergarten, make stuff and blog about it. Seriously, waay too much work for me. But I'll gladly pay for it.

Which leads me to my next point: if you want to make money, forget fabric, make teacher stuff. It's got to be a gold mine. Just saying. (not lying check these out- here and here. Haha they'll wonder where all this traffic is coming from.).

And I might have lied a little to you when I said there hasn't been any sewing going on. There has been. A little.

 I still am trying to finish that wedding quilt for my brother. Yep. It happened (thank goodness!).

Anyway, I was all on track to get it done and then something went wrong with my darning foot. The needle was rubbing right up against the foot and would shred the thread. Then I actually started breaking needles because they would hit the foot. You may be able to see the small indentations on the foot where the needle hit it. Has this ever happened to anyone else? I got a new foot and it seems to be fine, so maybe I bent the other one. Can you even do that?

Also I didn't baste my quilt very well and had a terrible time with puckering and the backing folding over. I thought I had it all fixed and then discovered this.

Many curses were said. Well, my type of curses (we've talked about this).

So, what would you do? I've quilted quite a bit around it- like lots. Like almost the whole quilt. Do I unpick everything or play blind and oblivious and hope it fixes itself a little bit in the wash? (I have not pre-washed).

I'm going to have to unpick it aren't I? Sigh...

Anyway, I enjoyed my summer. Hope you enjoyed yours!
Linking up like I used to. You, know like when I use to blog ;)

Sew Fresh Quilts
 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

New Blogger Blog Hop

So I've been taking part in this New Blogger Blog Hop hosted by the lovely Beth at Plum and June. And this is my week. So far, the experience has been great. Thanks to everyone that has been involved and to Beth for putting this on!

Plum and June

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to write about for my post for the hop. I'm so bad about introductions. I always feel like I'm filling out an online dating profile or something. I like long walks on the beach, etc. (um, actually long walks on the beach sounds really nice). And I do have an 'about me' page on my blog (so I feel like I'm covered, um, kind of).

But here's something that is maybe new to you (whether you've been here before or not). I'm a little bit of a an academic (I can hear the doubt and snorts of derision now, but its true). Books and information are like food to me (and libraries give me this little high- I shouldn't be allowed into them). In fact, I've noticed that most quilters are highly educated highly intelligent people.

That being that, the origin of my quilting journey actually started long ago with my study of the origin of all goodness- fabric (well, textiles as a more encompassing term). I had almost forgotten about it. It almost seems like a different life now (kids will do that to you). I even forgot that I have a bin of fabric that I collected in India- a stash before I even knew I had a stash (or even used the word)!

Celebrating a local god in India, Tamil Nadu

I spent two tours of duty, so to speak, in India researching and studying textiles/fabric.

Left to right: Hallway of temple in Tamil Nadu, Taj Mahal, and a holy man, or sadhu (who wanted me to take his picture)

This is the place to buy fabric. It's like one of the birthplaces of weaving and textiles and cotton- lots of cotton.

Wall of fabric, silk sari (modelled by a man), and a bunch of local women buying saris (it's a group decision)

I studied the social and economic aspects of saris (the local dress) and spent sometime researching the handlooming industry of India. I even co-curated a museum exhibition on textiles from around the world. Someday I have to write about it all (other than the papers and theses I've already written about it).

Handloom workshop in India. All the looms are recessed into the floor.

So I have more background in fabric than I would ever remember to admit.

And I would call myself an artist before I would call myself a quilter (or academic). You can read about the transition from a paint media to quilting here (and see the reason why the boys are part of the blog).

From left to right: Mini quilt,  first quilt ever
Star Wars quilt
I haven't completed many quilts yet. I like to say I'm into the slow sewing movement (like the slow food movement, but with sewing), but it's usually not by choice (hence the 'boys' added to the name of this blog).

Wedding quilt
From left to right: Melodie's quilt, Feathers quilt

Currently I'm working on a double wedding ring quilt for my brothers wedding. Never mind I have relatively new quilting skills and no experience with sewing curves. But I like to jump into things like that. I mean if you're going to do it, man... just really do it (for better, or for worse, this seems to be my mantra).


Lastly, here's my one little bit of knowledge that I will leave you with (gleaned from all those years researching, studying, etc). Ikat (pronounced ee-cot), is a term that often connotes a certain design. But ikat is really a technique, where the warp threads (ones that run up and down) and the weft threads (ones that run across) are dyed before they are woven together. The result is patterns and designs that are slightly feathered on the edges (because it's pretty hard to match up the threads when weaving them). Real ikat material will look the same on the back and the front (and usually costs more because it requires more skill to achieve).

Ikat sari from India

And now you are a little bit smarter and can carry on to visit all the rest of the awesome bloggers that are taking part in this hop!

Elli @ Lovelli Quilts
Sally @ Wonky Patchwork

Plum and June

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Q3 FAL list

So, I thought maybe that I wouldn't do a list this quarter for the 2014 Finish Along hosted by Katy at The Littlest Thistle. After all, in the last quarter of the year I only managed one finish.

But then I changed my mind. I need some motivation some accountability (and more time. Always more time.)
So in true 'Jehnny' form, it's a big list (I might have been an overachiever in school):

1. The sunnyside quilt. Finish top, finish quilt!! How can I be so close and yet so far away?

2. The triangle quilt (you'll notice I have very creative names for my quilts, haha). All it needs is a baste and a quilt. BASTE and QUILT! (sorry, I feel like a gym coach all of a sudden).

3. Double wedding ring quilt. Why does it seem like I'm doing a flipping wedding quilt every quarter? This one is for my brother. But if finishing this means my bro is married and out of my parents house, I'll do it (um, I'd do two, or three..).

Modern bargello. It's coming, I just keep getting interrupted... by things... and little people... and things.

Ok, actually that's it. Really not a big list (guess I lied).

I could add more. I should add more, but really my goal is to finish more than I did last time (which won't be hard. I think I can top one. I REALLY hope I can top one).

Here's to more finishes and to winning prizes (which I haven't yet- seriously people stop finishing things and give me a chance)! If you'd like to join, you have like a few hours until the link up closes. Head over to The Littlest Thistle and get sewing!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Hang Your Head in Shame- FAL Q2 Reckoning

Actually it should be 'hang my head in shame' because this is where I tell you all the wonderful things that I accomplished from the Finish Along with Katy at The Littlest Thistle for the second quarter.

Um... well... not much. In fact, just one. One measly finish (see the list here).
I could tell you all the reasons why, but do you really want to hear me complain more than I probably already do. The funny thing is, I did finish quite a few things, I just didn't work on any of the projects I was suppose to.

The Star Wars quilt is my one finish. I already did a post on it (here), but to make myself feel like I did something I'm posting it again.

It's gone through quite a few washings now and I'm happy (and a little surprised) to say that the stitching has held together. I'm probably most proud of this quilt because of the back.

I came up with my own pattern for the Death Star and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out (despite all the cursing I did while piecing the sucker. And honestly, when I say cursing I mean a lot of "for Pete's sake" cause that is my cursing- because I'm just one of those people who can't curse well. I've tried, real swear words just sound ridiculous coming out of my mouth. People laugh when I swear. Well, people laugh when I say "for Pete's sake" too so...).

Anyway, the quilt is loved. Here's hoping the next few months are more productive!

And linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts!