Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Do you grow your own pincushions?

I do!  A friend of mine who runs a nursery in my neighborhood gave them to me to plant in my garden.  They are actually called pincushions!
Here is a flower bud:

And here is a fully formed flower:

Wouldn't it be great if I could actually pick the pins whenever I need them.  Lord knows how easily they get lost!

On a side note, I will be taking a little break from blogging to enjoy summer with the family!  Happy summer everyone!! See you in a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sew Happy!

A week ago I had the pleasure if teaching a class at a local quilt shopIt was an all day class during which we made the Summer Carry-All Bag.
It was a very enjoyable experience for me and, as far as I could tell, it was fun for the students as well. Although they were all experienced quilters, none of them had ever sewed a zipper before. That was the main reason they had signed up for the class and they all did a great job of it!

The students graciously allowed me to take pictures of their almost finished projects. 

I like how each bag took on it's own personality based on the fabrics selected!

I have always had a love for teaching (I have a degree in education and worked in daycare for many years before I was a stay-at-home mom). Giving sewing lessons allows me to bridge my first passion, teaching, with my passion for sewing.
I hope to be going back in the fall to teach more classes!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

There's someone I would like you to meet!

I think it's time that I introduced you to my sewing machine and how we came together 15 years ago:
Kenmore Zig Zag Sewing Machine Model 385.81516

In 1996, I decided that I wanted to buy a sewing machine. I had never even used one before but it looked like something that I might like to do. So I headed off to Sears with a strict budget (money was tight back then) and no knowledge of what constitutes a good machine. Luckily there was a knowledgeable lady at the store who was hired simply to demonstrate the functions of various machines. She explained the basics to me and said that if I thought that I would use my machine a lot that I should buy a model that was a little more than just a starter machine; otherwise I would outgrow it quickly and regret not buying a better one. So I spent twice my intended budget and have never regretted it for a second.

Everything I learned to do with my machine I learned through trial and error. It was many years before I learned the ins and outs of my sewing machine.  Years before I knew about tension adjustment and that different needles and thread existed for different purposes!
I am still using that same machine today. And by today’s standards she is a very basic starter model but she does what I need her to do. She has helped me make pillows to decorate our first couch, sew bedding for my newborn babies, curtains to make our home feel cosier , and quilts to snuggle under while we watch TV on cold winter nights. She has helped me create gifts for my nieces and nephews who joyfully ask “what are you going to make for my birthday?”
And she has helped me to teach others the enduring craft of sewing.  Others whom I hope will bring some handmade goodness into their own lives and pass on to future generations.

Lance Armstrong once said: "I had learned what it means to ride the Tour de France. It's not about the bike. It's a metaphor for life…"

And while I dream about upgrading to a super deluxe machine with self-threading capacity, touch screen technology, built-in stitch regulator, and deep throat plate I know that it's not about the machine. My good ol’ Kennie has gotten me this far in my journey and I am confident that she will continue to get me to where I want to go.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer 2011 Project (and summer 2008,2009,2010)

In the summer of 2008, I started making this hexie quilt:
I needed something to do while my kids spent hours at the local pool (I can't stand just sitting there doing nothing). 
My (non-sewing) friends have seen pull it out of my basket now for the 4th summer in a row.  I think they're laughing at me.
I try to explain that I have not been working on it for three years, put simply that I started it three years ago!
I am getting anxious now to get it over and done with.  My kids,too, are wondering when that will happen.  Then, BAM!, I came across this new Flickr Group: Finish It up!. It's a group encouraging people to finish up any WIP they've had sitting around.  It was all the push I needed to get moving on this project.  I am determined to finish it this summer. 
I've estimated that I've pieced about 500 hexies already and that I need less than 200 more.
One more row of flowers and a few rows of white.  Finished size will be about 55in.X60in. A nice sized throw!

P.S. If you read my previous post, you'll know that my trusted thimble has been put to great use on this project!

Do you have any WIPs that you want to finish up this summer? Share them on your blog (or join the flickr group) and link them up here in the comments.  I would love to see them!