Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Coming Back with a BANG

Although sewing has been part my life for well over 1/2 of it, I have to confess to periods of time (some of them lengthy) during which I am unable or unwilling to do any sewing. Of late, until recently, I have been going through just such a period. I have however, a pretty good excuse--and her name is Elizabeth Louise!  Since March, she and my little Maggie have received top billing in my life. And what a fun time we have been having!  I converted my longarm to a clothes drying rack (as it turns out, 12 foot metal bars with canvas overlays make a great place to hang little girls dresses as they are drying!), my sewing table to a laundry folding table--complete with a baby seat, and my design wall became the world's biggest felt board for Maggie to experiment on. I had a slight twinge of regret about putting all of that time and effort into refinishing the basement--after all, it was in the name of "working" down there.  But I knew that when I was ready, I would get back down there, clear out all of the miscellany and get back down to business.

It happened a couple of weeks ago. I woke up raring to go, and before I knew it I was in the basement with a gigantic cup of coffee and did not come up until that evening. The result: a clear sewing table, empty longarm frame, blank design wall (much to Maggie's chagrin) and about 300 new ideas I was dying to try.

I had to put some order to my thoughts! I am famous for having a ton of ideas and getting none of them done....So, I started with a couple of projects that could be completed quickly, one long term project, and one project that was completely new to satisfy that itch. Here they are on the design wall...as you can see, I am still happily sharing space with the alphabet train.

The quilt in the background on the left is a sample of a new pattern that I released at spring quilt market called Juxtaposition. I had been wanting to work with these particular fabrics by Malka Dubrawsky.  I love their bright colors (lime and teal are currently on my list of favorites). These blocks had been cut out before Eliz. was born so they were a cinch to sew up and get on the wall. The blocks in the background on the right are some pillow tops that I am hoping to quilt and put on my couch.  I love the way quilted pillows look but it seems that I suffer from some sort of creative laziness. Despite the fact that I love the way they look, and I not only know how to sew and quilt but even have many tools at my disposal to make the job easier, I still put off this task of making pillows.  Hmmmm....

The quilt that is on top of the others is an Around the Block sample.  Janine and I released this pattern together in our second year of pattern designing.  Since then, we have made many samples of this quilt. I have long been drawn to the log cabin pattern and I am so happy with the way it looks using a neutral solid and some of Marcia Derse's latest fabrics. It somehow makes this very traditional pattern look modern. We are getting together once a week to sew this quilt up, hoping to get it done in a reasonable amount of time. More on that progress as it happens.

The last project I decided to tackle has been a long time in coming. I have been an ardent admirer of Kaffe Fassett/Westminster fabrics for--well--it has actually been years at this point. I have been shuffling bins of these fabrics around my studio, not really realizing how much I had accumulated. As it turns out, the rough total is somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 1/2 rubbermaid bins.

I decided to cut a strip of each of these fabrics to make an In and Out quilt that I could work on intermittently, throughout the summer. The upside of this project: I got to look at ALL of the prints that I own in this category and use a lot of them.  In some cases, I used the rest of what I had.  The downside of this project: 160 strips later, I have not even used all of the fabrics I have and I was somehow inspired to do a little shopping and ADD to this collection--to fill a few gaps, of course.

To date, I have all of the strips cut into pieces, and 180 blocks made. I'm feeling pretty good about this progress--especially since this particular quilt does not have a deadline. Oh how I love sewing for fun!