Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A soon-to-be Free Motion quilter

How many hobbies can I pack into one weekend? Well, I'll tell you: 7!
  • Quilting
  • Cleaning
  • Crocheting
  • Volunteering
  • Cooking
  • Watching TV
  • Reading

    Saturday was my free-motion quilting class. And it was so worth it. There were only 7-8 people, of which I was the youngest. I was a bit intimidated at first. They were all clucking about differences in machines, their favorite quilters, etc. Stuff that's all over my head. I just like to sit down and sew. But when we sat down and started to do the actual work, I ran circles around them...er, quilted circles around them. We spent the time watching the instructor do samples of different stitches, then practicing on our own, with the instructor coming around and helping us troubleshoot. It only took me a couple test sandwiches to get the feel of the motion, which really boosted my confidence compared to the practice I did on my own a couple months ago that was a flop.

    I didn't take pics of my pattern stitching, but I did take pictures of the stencil on quilt paper. The picture on the right is a closeup of my finished work. Not bad, but could use more practice if I ever decide to do that again.

    Quilt stencil Quilting class

    And this class gave me some inspiration for my pink spring quilt - I decided on a daisy stitch pattern to make it even more springy and girly.

    I spent Sunday morning at the zoo, just moseying around and answering guest questions as they popped up. But I found it weird that some of the animals were following me around. Some animals, like the pronghorns, peacocks, and the Andean condor, would come running to the front of the exhibit and walk along the front with me. Took me awhile to realize that I was wearing a beige t-shirt and brown baseball cap, so I looked like a keeper. *sigh* If only.

    peacock

    When I got home from the zoo, I was still inspired from the quilting class on Saturday that I felt the need to make something. So, with some fabric from the Farm to Fork fabric line, I whipped up some new pot holders for my kitchen. I had intended to try some free-motion quilting on these, but then decided to stick to a straight stitch and not hide/cover the images too much.

    Farm potholders

    And somehow I managed to find the time to clean up my sewing area a bit, work on a crochet top that's slow in the making, catching TV like 'Game of Thrones' (no spoilers, but it's about time that happened!) and read a few chapters. No wonder I'm so tired...

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Prepping for spring

    80 degrees in LA this week. So beautiful. Saturday we spent the day walking around an outdoor shopping area, but only after visiting one of our favorite local art galleries. For one weekend only, Gallery1988 showcased AdventureTime-themed art, and we walked away with a few prints.

    Sunday I spent the afternoon working on my spring quilt. The top is all put together! And this weekend I have my free-motion quilting class, so then maybe I'll be confident enough to try out a pattern.

    pink block quilt

    Not too much movement on our community gardens. Everyone was to turn in their payments, but I haven't seen my check cashed yet. And we can't order the supplies to build the garden boxes til all the money is deposited! *sigh* But I'm planning ahead anyways and have planted some seeds in used k-cups - a green alternative to small pots and we're closing in on Earth Day!

    K-cup seedlings

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    Pretty in Pink - Office travel and quilt

    Last week I traveled to chilly Boston for work. Thank goodness I was only there for a few days - no way I could take the cold longer than that! Yeah, LA has softened me.

    Before I left, I decided to make some new travel accessories. For the binder cover, I took ideas from various patterns and pictures I found online and made up my own. It was time for a new business card holder too. My old one had an open side and my cards ended up getting all dirty. So I followed this pattern on Craftsy.

    And finally, I started my next quilt with pre-cut squares given to me as a gift. Just doing simple squares in a diagonal pattern. Not sure what the stitching will be. In fact, next weekend I'll be taking a class on free-motion quilting, so maybe that'll give me some inspiration!

    Fabric binder cover Business card holder Pink square quilt

    My Button

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    Shakin and Stitchin - new crochet projects

    Little Girl As you all probably heard, we had a 4.4 earthquake here in LA yesterday. I was getting ready to leave for work when we felt the first jolt.

    I had been standing by the bed petting Lil' Girl. She was sitting on the edge of the bed purring, eyes closed, enjoying the head rub like we do on most mornings. Then the earthquake came. Lasted a good 5-10 seconds. She didn't budge. Not only did she not warn us of the upcoming possible danger, but she didn't even react to the shaking at all! Why do I spend all this money on food, toys, litter, and vet care when she's not even going to earn her keep?!

    I guess one could argue that she pays me back in love, better health, and all that jazz, but come on!

    I need a dog.

    Anyways... I was a happy little stitcher last week. I was able to finish my first sweater! I followed these directions I found through Ravelry and they were pretty easy, though I had to tear my work out a couple times at the beginning to make sure I was doing it right. I think the sweater is slightly big on me, and the armpits could be a tad higher, but not bad for my first go round!

    And even though it was 80 degree this weekend, I still had one winter project I wanted to finish. Joe had bought a new winter coat (yay for Clearance deals!) and needed a new scarf to go with it. But I was just too busy with other projects, illness, traveling, all that fun, to really work on one. Then, with the going-out-of-business deals from a local yarn store, I picked up some pretty (uh...I mean masculine) linen yarn to match and whipped up a long striped scarf for him. Now he'll be prepared for next winter when LA get dumped with snow b/c of crazy climate change...

    Crochet lace sweater Striped scarf

    From that yarn store closing, I picked up yarn to make a few other sweaters so I'll get to work on those soon!

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    Managing pain - heating pads

    Suddenly in late January, I had a mysterious twinge in my back. I felt it mostly when I stood up from my chair at work, almost crippling. It only lasted a few days. I saw my doctor towards the end and she said I probably just pulled a muscle pretty bad.

    Then, the week before I was to go out of town for work, it came back. So bad I needed to stand at my desk at work. And it would wake me up in my sleep when I tried to rollover. What the heck did I do? I went to Urgent Care; they did some x-rays but saw nothing that would cause the pain. So I was prescribed some pain killers and muscle relaxers. It may have helped, but while I'm out of town on business, I'm standing most of the time and didn't get a chance to sit for a period and see if the pain remained. Though I still did feel it at night.

    The pain seemed to ease a bit on its own, but I still went back to my doctor to discuss. She referred me to a physical therapist. I've only had two appointments, but I think what I'm learning is working. Basically, the PT said my tail bone is super stiff for some reason and we need to loosen it up. Between the abdominal muscles movements he recommended, and the therapist assisting showing me the Feldenkrais Method, the pain has diminished quite a bit, though I still feel it here and there. I think a few more appointments and I may have nipped this in the bud.

    In the meantime, I whipped up these heat/cold pads in case the pain comes back. I found the small pad as a free pattern on Craftsy. The other, a rice pack with a removable cover, I found on Etsy.
    But when did I get so old that I need a therapist?!

    Rice wrapRice pad

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    Dressing up

    Now that life is somewhat back to normal, I've been able to working on some projects again. And its been keeping me busy. First, I found this pattern from Sew4Home for a sunglasses case. I have never been known to take good care of my glasses, so I always opted for the cheapo $10 sunglasses I'd pick up at Venice Beach. Who cares if they got scratched up or warped? They were only $10. Well, a few months ago I decided to get a pair that cost a whopping $25. So that means I gotta take care of these. They didn't come with a case, and I put off buying a case for awhile. And one day I just decided to make my own. I used leftover fabric from my purse so they'd match.

    A few months ago, I was given some rope cording. So I decided to make a crocheted doormat, and retire the nasty 'Wipe your paws' mat we inherited from the previous tenant. I started with a simple chain, and kept going around, increasing on the sides.

    Sunglasses case Crocheted rug

    And I finally got around to making clothes again. I had this fabric set aside since before Thanksgiving with the intent to make a skirt. Just never happened. This last week, I sat down to make that skirt, and I decided last minute this is not the fabric I want for the skirt. And I had enough of the fabric to make another item I've had on my to-do list: A self-shirred dress. I used the instructions from MakeIt-LoveIt.com and then vamped the rest. Which probably explains the weird gathering on the sides of the skirt-part. It kinda bubbles at my hips, and after a lot of trial and error, that's the best I could get it. But it's hidden when I wear a sweater or jacket over it so it's all good.

    Shirred dress

    So my plans are to still make that other skirt (I think I'm going to deconstruct an old skirt and convert it to this pattern), and make the crocheted sweater I started 1-2 weeks ago. I've pulled it out 4 times already. 4 times. Oy. But it just takes practice, right?

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

    At peace with pinwheels

    Finally! It's done!
    My pinwheel quilt I started last summer. I based it on a pin of a quilt square on Pinterest. I have found some good fabric deals on Ebay in the past, and it was not exception when I found a stack of Moda squares in colors that match my living room almost perfectly.

    Pinwheel quiltPinwheel quilt

    The finished quilt measures 40" x 52".

    I first made all my pinwheels, and then the brown squares and beige rectangles. The quilt didn't seem big enough, but I didn't have enough pinwheels to make it bigger. So I figured I needed to do something different for the center, have a center point, to take up space. With that, I was still short a few blocks so I made different corners as well. I decided to make them basic so the pinwheels would stand out more.

    Once pieced all together, I had to decide what to do for the stitching. Hmmmm. The pinwheels were easy. I saw another Pinterest pin that did some simple stitching on the inside, so I decided to try that. I intentionally didn't do straight lines though; they're a bit warped to give the slight feel that they're moving/turning.