Saturday, August 02, 2014

August State of the Studio Report

Well, sometimes we start out with the best intentions, and then life throws a monkey wrench in the works and we have to fall back and punt. I was all set to take a set of pictures for a July State of the Studio report when I ended up in the hospital with pulmonary emboli and DVT. Being able to breathe seemed more important than taking pictures. But getting into the studio has been good therapy. When I first came home I could sew for maybe 15 minutes at a time, and now I'm good for at least an hour so long as I don't do too much standing all at one time. And I've managed to finish a couple of projects, so the word for the year is still "forward."

Some things haven't changed. Robby's quilt is still in its bag and still in the chair. Theresa's quilt is still draped over the back of the chair. And there's still a pile of books and magazines on the floor because there's no room for them on the shelves. That is going to change this month. I have a plan.

The first project I finished was Anita's Arrowhead. This project seemed determined to bite me in the backside as often and as painfully as possible. The fact that I was working with a set of 10" squares didn't help because I had no extra fabrics unless I made the quilt smaller. So cutting a piece wrong was catastrophic. I managed to find a blue and white print that blended in pretty well, and I moved on. Then I started sewing the blocks together wrong. And I had the wrong number of blue blocks in relation to the number of yellow blocks. And some of the blocks didn't get squared up quite the way they needed to be. But in the end I got it all worked out and got everything sewed together, and the top is finished.

Someday I want to make another of these. I want to learn from my mistakes and do it better. I think this would make a stunning 2-color quilt - maybe red and white. While it's not a particularly difficult quilt to make, it's not a fast quilt. You start with big pieces and sew and recut and resew and square up. If you do it right, everything should fit together perfectly.

The second project was designed to use up some of the leftover strippy fabric from the kaleidoscope quilt.
I used a set of kitty panels that have been sitting in my stash for a long time. and just used the strippy stuff for sashing. The orange border was just there to throw something extra into the mix. This one took only a few days to put together, and it has now joined Anita's Arrowhead in the drawer of tops waiting to be quilted.
As always, the surfaces are piled high with things that haven't found a home yet, or that are sitting out for some purpose. On the left side of the ironing table is a stack of fabrics that are destined to become baby quilts for the newest members of the family. I'm not sure when I'm going to actually start those; I know it won't be until after at least one of them has been born. On the right side is a piece of knitting that needs buttons sewn on. It came down here to get blocked and has yet to find its way back to the house. Perhaps having eyes will help with that.

The card table seems to have become a permanent part of the floor plan of the studio, although that was certainly not my intent when I set it up. It has become the dumping ground for everything that's in the way somewhere else. And now something new has been added to the wire cubes on the side closest to the cutting table:
a large muslin "pillowcase" for holding fabric and batting scraps. The idea is to fill it moderately full, then sew the end closed and make a washable cover for it and call it a dog bed. I guess if I can crochet kitty cozies out of leftover yarn, I can use scraps to make a dog bed. 
The sewing table is pretty much filled up with my current project, which is putting together a bunch of quilt-as-you-go squares I made back in the spring. I'm working from the back side so I don't end up with all the lime green backing squares in one corner. I have made one significant change in this one compared to others like this that I have done, and that is I have widened the sashing. I didn't like the look of the narrow sashing, and it was difficult to sew together, so I did the math to figure out how wide to cut the strips to end up with a 1" sashing and that's what I'm using. The seam is a 1/2" seam which works perfectly with my walking foot, and the whole thing is going together quite easily. Right now most of it is on the sewing table; the rest is on the design wall. 
If I don't screw things up and if my foot and leg cooperate, I may have this one finished by the end of the weekend. Since that will be my first complete finish since March, I'm pretty excited about it.

There is one surface in the studio that's looking pretty good, and that's the cutting table. Sitting proudly in the middle of it is the next quilt I plan to baste and get ready for the machine. I have one already basted that I will start stitching on next, but in the meantime I can be getting this one ready to go. I made the top when I was in seminary - I think in summer of 1995 - so it's time for it to come out of the drawer and see the world.
I leave for my summer trip to Canada in less than three weeks. I plan to spend that time getting tops quilted and more or less get my mojo back. Then when I get home in September I'll be ready physically and mentally to tackle Robby's quilt.