Thursday, November 4, 2010

Machine Quilting: A First

Today, I embark upon a new journey.  I have a quilt that is pieced, sandwiched and pin basted. It has been that way for 3 weeks. It has gone from teasing me with the promise of newness, taunting me that I'm scared, begging for me to come put a stitch in it, to yelling and cursing "Da** you, woman!! Come work on me, now!" (And considering that it's a baby quilt, it's going to need it's mouth washed out now to teach it to not say words like that!)

I have checked out books from the library on machine quilting.  I have bought a free motion foot for my machine.  I have surfed the web searching for hints and ideas on patterns and ease.  I have made some small samples.  Yet I have still to put one stitch in the actual quilt.  I'm scared to.

I'm scared that I'll mess it up somehow.  To be perfectly honest, what really scares me is the straight foundation stitching.  I still can't get my straight stitches even, much less perfectly straight.  Now, I know, perfection doesn't exist in home-made items, especially when made for small children.  But, this quilt is for a close friend's first baby.  She'll be using this everyday, and at some point, she'll start looking at it in detail.  What if she notices the wobbly lines?  What if the stitches are so uneven that she see them from a distance and seriously packs it up, only pulling it out when I come over?  Or, even worse, what if I get going, look at the stitches myself, and think they're horrible?  I can always pull them out and try again, I mean, that's why some wonderful person years ago created the seam ripper, right?  But I am afraid of disappointing myself. 

I have been so excited about this project for months, and once I started piecing the quilt, it just flew together.  Right now, it's perfect.  I'm afraid that my inexperienced machine quilting will take it from perfection to the rag heap.  And yet, I must do it.  She's already seen the quilt, she knows I'm making it, and she loves it already. Which means I have to finish it.  Which basically means I need to stop whining, log off the computer, and move to the sewing machine.  Here, I feel safe, though.  Here, I know what I'm doing. When I get to the machine, I don't.  And that scares me. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Felt Food Mania

Okay. So I promised to do more updating and here I am. It occurred to me that I posted a while back that I had finished my first box load of felt food and mailed it off, or at least I mentioned it in the Finished column.  Yet I never posted any pictures or links to the inspiration and patterns that helped me create them.  (Many of them you will see were found at Helping Little Hands' Felt Food Cook-Along) Prepare for a bunch of links!
This box is the size of one of those medium Priority Mail boxes. And just look at what all fit into it!!

 Felt cookies from this website. No patterns were used, it's really simple. Just two cream colored felt pieces layered together with a fun frosting, sprinkled. The chocolate chip cookies were inspired by these blueberry muffins.  I loved her idea that the blueberries are not always on top, and since chocolate chips usually look the same in the cookies, I duplicated it.  After sewing the random curly-q's to the wrong sides, I sewed the right sides together, leaving a space to flip them through.  Now, I also think that they look better a bit thicker, so I used scrap batting from quilting projects to stuff them before hand sewing the cookies closed.  K says her little girl is in love with the cookies right now. 

I love these tomatoes.  I'll show you the website and pattern I found them on, but when you see it, you'll kick yourself for not seeing how simple they are! It's nothing more than a large circle gathered and stuffed.  Cut out a leafy top, sew it on and you're done! And the tomato slices were just as easy, you'll see!

I have been wracking my brain and wearing out my search engine, but I cannot for the life of me think of where I saw an idea for the hamburger and buns.  At the bare minimum, I probably saw one in a Flickr pool of felt food and was inspired to create my own pattern based out of the creation of other foods, like the sliced bread (below).  The only thing that makes the burgers cuter than a bug to me is the grill marks: black embroidery thread stitched in straight lines. I don't know about you, but my hubby never manages to get the perfect cross-hatch on a burger.

These are some of my favorite pieces, and until K's little girl got the cookies, she too was in love with the first slice of bread I made for her.  Rather than create 3 different links, I'm just going to make one, back to the Felt Food Cook-Along, because that's where all but the lunch meat came from.  The lunch meat is little more than a piece of pink felt (or 2 if you want more thickness or stability), cut with pinking shears and machine stitched around the edge for a bit of detail.  The rest of the food in the picture is the Sliced Bread, the Chicken Pieces/Chicken Nuggets in the Felt Fajitas, and The Amazing Changing Felt Pizza Crust/Tortilla. 

These bananas and corn-cobs were super fun to create! I think I need a set just to keep here at the house for me to play with!  When I make them again, I want to find a way to put magnets inside the individual pieces. When K's daughter played with them, she had difficulty getting the pieces back together.  Securing the magnets so that they won't be a swallowing/choking hazard isn't actually the issue, I have that figured out.  It's finding cheap magnets that aren't cost-prohibitive!

The carrots were super cute when finished, and I kinda went overboard cutting out orange felt, and I think I made 20-ish carrots!  The strawberries, while cute, aggravated me.  I made most of them too small, which makes them choking hazards, so I had to send her only a few, with the promise to make more, larger ones, soon.  And these oranges....I'm in love. (Here's the link for the peel)  They were actually the first food pieces I made, and they clinched it....I am a FELT FOOD MANIAC!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Process Pledge

I, Liz, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the in words or be sure I’m being totally clear.   I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there.

As I'm sure you've noticed, my last post was more than a month ago. I've been working, although truthfully not as much this month, but I started this blog to help me complete UFOs. If I'm not keeping the blog updated, it may mean the UFO pile is only growing, the WIP pile is shrinking and the completed projects are not making any new friends. 

So I hereby pledge to post at least every other day.  Even if only to say hi, and that I'm shirking on projects.  For the actual completion of projects? Well, DH will be on night shift ALL month, which means any night he's not at home is a night I can freely spend at the sewing machine without feeling like I'm ignoring him. So here's to a new start.  See ya soon!