Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sign me up!

In years past, I've watched my friends spend November going absolutely crazy while trying to keep up with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and while I admire their ambition, it's just not for me. But then!

KarrieLyne over at Freckled Whimsy  brought NaBloPoMo and that is something I think I can do. Surely my short attention span can manage to write a blog post every day, even with my fantastic new job that I just started (oh yes!). Actually it'll help me have something to write about hopefully.

So, despite the fact that I have multiple newly finished projects to write about today (it was a very successful quilting day), my good intentions regarding the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and the glee I have to share over employment, I'm going to hold off and wait until at least Monday. :D

Monday, October 25, 2010

Binding Queen

You can cut, you can press, making the finishing touch
See that quilt, watch that seam, dig in the Binding Queen!

After multiple sessions of work, marking my diagonals before the weekend, sewing a tube, cutting the strips, and pressing them over last night, and then finally today attaching each one to its respective quilt, I have fully completed my mom's birthday present.

And I feel like a Binding Queen.

I made the bindings for my previous quilts, but for the most part they were only completed after consulting with my mom or with one of her guide books. But no more! 
Fully completed, fully on my own, and all for quilts made by by mum for other people. Well, we're probably going to keep her rainbow quilt for ourselves, mostly because of a few bits funkiness in the border areas, but it technically could be given to someone else.

And to further make this seem like even more of an accomplishment, everything worked. There wasn't a single thing that went wrong. My bindings have gotten to the point of just working wonderfully.  ^_^

Which in large part is due to this wonderfully nifty Binding Tool we have. What is the most annoying part of sewing a binding onto a quilt? The final step!
So you've sewn almost all the way around your quilt with few difficulties, but find yourself stumped by how to join your two ends together.
Enter the binding tool. With its lovely instructions as a guide, your bindings will always come together perfectly flat and untwisting. You'll never have to kind of fudge the fixings again! Hooray!

Oh hey, and while I'm at my endorsements, here's what's going on in other necks of the woods.

Micki over at Irish Muses is having an AccuQuilt GO Cutter Giveaway, but more importantly, she's my first follower! *mind is boggled* I have a follower! I might need to ramble in a slightly more comprehensible fashion now. She'll be picking a winner on Nov. 5, so head over there while there's still time and check out the quilts she's making with her new friend Colleen (the cutter)!

Micki isn't the only one doing a giveaway either. Sue at Alderwood Quilts has a GO of her own to give to a lucky winner. She's been posting quite a few helpful cutter tips as well, so even if you don't win hers when she draws numbers on Nov. 1, you can find out all you'll need to know to use one!

And last but not least in the giveaway train is Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict . She is adopting a birthday tradition from the folk of the Shire and having a giveaway for her birthday on Friday. Anyone who can frame a quilting post with Tolkien gets a shiny gold star in my book. Two people will win charm packs of delightful fabrics, and if you're lucky, you might even become her 200th follower, inciting her to start another giveaway!

To start and end this post with a song, or at least something that involved songs, here's a picture taken during Saturday's game in Austin. My first day with the Longhorn Alumni Band was a rousing success, despite the football team's rather awkward lack of skill, and I will definitely be going back next year.
From the Alumni Band seats at the very top of Darrel K. Royal Stadium, it's the Longhorn Band! Oh, and the team's entering as well. But look at that skyline!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Best Birthday Presents...

...are often ones from the heart. Or so I've heard. To me though, one of the most important elements of a birthday present is the element of surprise. It's just not the same when the recipient knows exactly what they're receiving (as is the case with most of the gifts my mom will be receiving in a couple of days).

Fortunately, the other night, I had a lightbulb of brilliance go off in my mind. What's something I can do for my mom, something no one else in our family would think of (let alone attempt), and most importantly something that will really not stretch my current lack of funds?


That's right. I'm going to make and attach bindings on five of my mom's quilts, the ones that have been sitting around the house only that single step away from being finished completely.
Three of these are belated wedding presents for friends and family members who have gotten married over the past year. One is a baby quilt for a former coworker (the baby was born over the summer) and the last is the only one that we are going to be keeping for ourselves. 

It's around 1600  inches of bias, double-fold bindings. Time to get to work!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

UFO Addiction

I think I might have a problem. Or at least will likely have a problem at some point in the future.

I love to start projects. Finding fabrics, designing blocks, getting bits cut and ready to go-it’s addicting. But I don’t necessarily like so much to finish my projects. There’s a certain point where the excitement starts to fizzle out, leaving me with very little desire to continue on, and I hit it from my very first quilting project.

Three years ago, my mom came home from a class about making a Six-Hour Quilt. She quickly (although not as quickly as their title suggests) turned one out in bright, happy colors and sent it off to one of my cousins for his new daughter. It seemed like an easy enough project, so I thought I’d create one to take with me on long band trips. I chose cotton fabrics for one side, a few UT fabrics paired with music notes and an amazing sousaphone fabric, and pastel flannels for the other. I got everything cut, laid it all out, and started sewing.

And then I just stopped. Partly because it was by then the end of the summer break, time to return to college life in Austin, but also because I partially got bored with it. It wasn’t until two and a half years later (by which point I didn’t really have any more long band trips to take the thing on) that I managed to finish that darn 6-hour quilt.

We’re going to just look past the fact that my next project, the first one that really pieced together like a quilt, is still sitting unfinished in a project box. One day I’ll finish that French Braid. Probably not any day soon though.

So I have unfinished projects. Not counting my Osaka block of the month, I have three projects in need of piecing and three more in various stages of binding. It’s not a crime to have UFO’s, not even if those UFO’s are numbering in the double digits (not yet).
It’s probably not the best thing to ignore them though. Or more accurately in my case, to pretty much entirely forget them the moment a new idea pops into my head.

Like one did the other night. This idea was so brilliant, so perfect for me that I almost couldn’t fall asleep once I thought it up. I haven’t thought of any other projects since then, despite knowing that it might be better for me to work on the UFO's (particularly that set of placemats I meant to give to my friend for her 21st birthday, last summer…) .
But then this project, in all its tantalizing goodness, just draws me back in. So I’ll work on the new project, and hopefully have a Finished Object to show off in a while. =D

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quilting with the Tubes

It’s hard for me to work in silence. Whether I’m cleaning, studying, or quilting, I need something to be going on in the background. Normally I choose music, but the sewing setup in my house (i.e. what used to function as a kitchen table and is now my mom’s and my shared workspace) has a fantastic thing known as a television. Unfortunately, the television’s availability has had a bit of a side effect on my quilting.

Probably not a Jellicle Cat.
I can only really concentrate on my sewing if I’ve already seen what I’m watching.

Take last week for example. I spent a solid evening delightfully submerged in the sewing zone, fueled by CATS on one of the upper cable channels, a musical I’ve seen so many times I know every single word. Granted, the fact that it’s entirely in song and all about felines does help a bit, but still. I’ve seen it a lot.
When I first got a VHS copy, I spent a solid month watching it on an almost daily basis. The tiniest inkling of the show makes my brother want to groan and weep.

Basically, it’s the perfect viewing selection for quilting.

It’s not the only one though.  I also love quilting to television marathons, especially of NCIS, CSI, Buffy, and the ultimate winner, Doctor Who. I’ve seen them all, I love them all, and they’re just interesting enough (even on a 3rd, 4th, even 8th viewing) to make me want to turn my head occasionally.

What I’m watching right now, terrible for quilting. Too new, too entertaining-definitely too distracting. (That’s why I’m only typing on commercials!)
But as soon as this episode is over, it’s quilting time! =)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Delayed Beginnings

Greetings and salutations! This isn't exactly a grand start to this blog, but it does have a certain irony.

See, I have a delightful post thought out in my head and partly written, but I also have a powerful need to be at the sewing machine right now. My mom and I have the long arm machine at one of our local shops checked out tomorrow but I haven't yet finished one of the quilt tops I plan on quilting.  Stuff and bother.

 I'll be back with my real opening post once I've actually got everything ready for tomorrow. Or once it's all done. We'll see.

Of course, the cats aren't exactly helping me out here.
Post wanted to stop me from sewing the strips together.
Mira just wants to make ironing difficult.