quilting adventures part 1

I've been working on a quilt lately. It's the first I've done since I was a girl. My mother is an amazing quilter, and most of the women in my family seem to sew. Unfortunately I didn't become interested in the craft until I moved across the globe. So here I am, relying on vague memories and phone call questions.

One piece I'm working on, the one in the photo, is going to be a full sized quilt with three different block patterns (four of each), but I'm not planning to actually quilt it- that is, sewing designs over the quilt in order to bind it front and back.

I've finished putting the blocks together but I'm going to try to refrain from putting up more pictures since it's a gift in progress, and though I highly doubt he would read a blog I don't know that I'm ready to take that risk.

You might notice my incredibly cool fabric, not normally found in the average frabric store. I scoured the web for these fabrics, the math ones, and found a wonderful site called Spoonflower. Delivery takes a while but it was well worth it.

The second piece I've been working on is going to be a wall piece and I am indeed going to quilt it (It is also a gift and she is slightly more likely to see this blog so there are no pictures for sharing). Now, keep in mind, during most of my life my mother was quilting something. I have all sorts of memories of her sitting in the livingroom with us, a quilt in her lap as she holds the wooden frame and needleworks the design. But, and this is probably important, I've never done it myself. Not even a little. So for the past few weeks I've had that piece sewn together, back and batting cut out to size, and pretty much just been staring at it trying to decide how to start and what sort of design to quilt.

Craft Store Disappointments

Linn and I have decided to try our hands at quilting. The problem? Umeå craft stores are incredibly skimpy on supplies of all kinds, especially quilting. I went out yesterday to find and buy a good sized cutting board and a quilting hoop (examples below). But the only cutting board I could find was a small medium and we didn't even see any embroidery hoops let alone quilting ones.

(It's pretty much a big embroidery hoop. There are also hoops on stands and rectangular quilting stands that quilts can be wrapped around so as to work on larger parts of it. I never thought it would be something that was hard to find, since I grew up in California and my mother [like her mother and her sisters] quilts. I, of course, squandered my years with her and learned the bare minimum of sewing and quilting, only developing the desire to know more once I'd moved across the globe.)

(The green mat beneath everything else here is a fabric cutting board, which I also never dreamed would become a rare item. Picture borrowed from google.)

Linn called her mom, who happens to do many crafts as well, and she suggested that we try the Yarn and Sewing Machine shops instead of the craft store (there's only one) and fabric stores (of which I've found two, but they're a chain).

I'm considering opening a craft store in the future, preferrably when my mother retires and I sway her to move to Sweden, then she can be my labor and knowledge bank.

I'd also like to mention my disappointment in the lack of craft groups in town. Or, I guess I should say, the hidden nature of the few craft groups that exist. I swear that I've seen women knitting in groups at the cafe, so I suspect that they exist. I'd love to try a sewing group, or any other craft oriented group really, but I just don't know how to find them.

More updates soon! We're going to Nolia today (which I've been lead to believe is a market fair of just about everything [we're aiming for the craft booths and food booths, of course]). I'll let you know how that goes!

I made a skirt!

So many firsts have been concurred with this project! My first skirt, first garment for myself, first pockets, first zipper, and probably something else I'm forgetting at the moment. I'm rather proud of it. Again, I didn't use a pattern or follow the wise advice of several accomplished and wonderful sewers- which was to use an old sheet or cheap fabric and try it on those first. I would have, but I had neither and I wanted to sew last night. Luckily it worked out!

It wasn't what I intended when I started out, but I'm really proud of it nonetheless. I guess the fabric knew what it wanted to be.

The skirt is a bubble (ballong for the sweds I think) the end is sewen to another fabric inside and creates kind a pillowcase effect that I really like. The inside is purple by the way.

Recycled Clothing!

So I decided to try fixing some of my less functioning clothing. The dress is one that I really like, I dragged it across the globe, but the neck was way too low for me so I was always trying to figure out how to wear something over or under it. The wrap is sort of a reject in my closet since I've never worn it and it's spent most of it's life with me on the floor of my closet burried beneath other things.

I spent a while just staring at the two until I starting pinning and from there cutting and sewing. It's not perfect but at least I can wear it now and I think it's a fabulous start to my "clothing recycling" adventures!

The lovely first photo, much much better than my following two, was taken by the fabulous LinnLinn.

Tomorrow Phong and I are having a 'Thriftstore shopping/pasta dinner' date, so hopefully I'll find some more things to play with.

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Little Laptop Pillow

I made a little pocket pillow for my mini laptop so that it can feel a bit more safe when traveling. I measured the length and then around the width. It was pretty much a double sided rectangle with padding inside, after binding one of the long sides I folded it in half and sewed the other two edges shut... then fliped rightside out and hoped that there was no fluff peeking out. I've made one before for my iRiver, but on this one I used two layers of batting...guess which electronic device I worry about more?

my first shirt!

I recently decided that I wanted to take up sewing (my mother is a wonderfully gifted quilter and sewing) and my darling boyfriend gifted me with a machine over christmas and then asked me to make him a shirt with only his brilliant idea and the dismantled t-shirt that he cut out for the general shape. Mind you, I have never made any -ANY- article of clothing before. And yet, kahbam! a shirt was born. I kind of just figured out how to do the collar and sleeves on my own, luckily it worked out pretty well. The button design he thought of (with the overlapping collar pieces) was a bit tricky. There are a lot of things I've learned that I'll be doing differently next time but all and all I think I'm pretty proud of it.

LinnLinn took the photos for me and I couldn't be happier with them!

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