November 25, 2013

Not Stashbusting

I've been very bad.

Stashbusting takes two forms: First, sew up what you have. Second, don't buy more fabric.

Not only have I not participated in or paid attention to the Stashbusting Sew Along since June, I haven't sewn much since then either. Nothing much has happened with this pile of fabric. I've got a skirt cut out and the darts pinned... and that's as far as I've gotten. So, no points for me.

Also, I've added all this to the fabric pile:
more fabric
On the left, that's a blue chambray for me for a shirtdress, two shirts for Ian and a pair of pants for Caitlyn. On the left, that's three long sleeved shirts for Ian. There are two printed knits at the bottom (green and purple) for shirts for Caitlyn and me. You'd think I had time on my hands or something.

(Actually, I have a theory: I plan more projects and buy more supplies for them when I'm overwhelmed with other things to do. I suspect that when I don't make the time to be creative or to keep sewing, I compensate by coming up with more projects. It's like I unconsciously figure I don't have sewing projects or I'd be doing them, so clearly it's time to come up with more. The sensible thing to do would be to shed the commitments that are eating my time and keeping my from sewing rather than buying more fabric, but I don't think I've ever claimed to be sensible when it came to fabric.)
more fabric
I haven't limited myself to garment fabric either. This spectrum of batiks has been calling to me ever since I started working at Stash.
more fabric
And I've justified this pile of fat quarters by looking at my current fabric collection and figuring these will fill in "holes" that I'll discover as I continue making blocks for Sew.Quilt.Give.
more fabric
This pile is all half-yards of Painted Summer from In the Beginning. I'm thinking about a Trip Around the World quilt (maybe scrappy? maybe standard?) from this collection.

I have at least modest hopes of converting my piles of raw material into finished objects next year.

Because if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, right?

November 20, 2013

Acknowledging the milepost

This is my 600th post.

Convention suggests I should give something away. I'm not sure what it should be, though. Maybe next time, I'll have that figured out.

In the meantime, I will happily accept your congratulations. Or baked goods.

November 15, 2013

One Crazy Pillow

When Caitlyn was younger and invited to birthday parties, shopping for a gift was pretty straightforward. I'd set a budget, we'd talk a little about a theme and then go to the book store. She didn't always choose a book for her friends but Barnes & Noble does have a ever changing collection of activity books and small toys; it was a system that kept things fairly simple and contained. No popping indecisively in and out of stores, minimal distraction from other items that maybe weren't right for the birthday person but just perfect for Caitlyn.

Not to say that we won't ever go gift shopping this way again, but Caitlyn's also of an age where it's not unreasonable to ask her to make a gift, to invest a bit of herself on behalf of her BFFs. So when a certain friend announced a birthday party, a friend who has handmade gifts for Caitlyn in previous years, I told Caitlyn that a handmade gift was the way to go.

Because her friend is obsessed with Little House era stories, Caitlyn and I agreed on a crazy quilt. Handmade, from scraps, just like Laura would have done (but with a sewing machine and a steam iron). To keep it to a non-intimidating size, we made it a pillow.
Caitlyn's first patchwork pillow
I worked hard at not taking over the project and also at not abandoning Caitlyn to something she wasn't feeling confident enough to tackle on her own. She picked out the fabrics, placed them on our foundation squares, and did all the ironing. When we were sewing with my machine at home, she sewed many of the seams. When we were working while at Stash, I did the sewing (the shop's machine is a bit intimidating if you're even slightly concerned about sewing through your fingers). I sewed the four blocks together, and quilted the top. She helped with sewing the backing on; I serged the seams; she turned it right side out and pushed the corners out; I stuffed the pillow form inside.
Caitlyn's first patchwork pillow
I'm really pleased with how this came out and how we truly did this project together. Caitlyn said she enjoyed making the pillow (although she hasn't asked to make another). And I think her friend likes the pillow, too.

So, a win!

November 07, 2013

Bee Blocks

I've been a bit of a slacker about getting my blocks for Sew.Quilt.Give. posted. So, three months worth, all at once!
SQG Sept Block
In September, we did "slabs", a term I've never encountered before for a large, single color block. Our inspiration/example quilt came from Dining Room Empire. This block is 21 inches square... trust me, that's big. But I don't think I have any red bits left in the scrap basket!
SQG Oct Block
Next up, we made Xs and Os (or Kansas Dugout, depending), with a white background and "boy" colors. I don't know if these are boy colors, exactly, but it's not pinky-princessy-girly. I always forget I've got a small collection of silly juvenile prints (Hatching dinos! Jungle explorers! Bubble-blowing frogs!) since I sort them into a "multicolored" bin. Fun to make a block that used so many of them.
SQG Nov Block
November's Wonky Cross blocks were really easy. Although I wonder if I made them a little to "x"-like and less cross-like?

And there they all are. Sew.Quilt.Give. is taking December off, so no more bee blocks til January. Maybe I'll finally finish my quilt from March?

November 01, 2013

Costume Evolution

Used to be, I wouldn't ask Caitlyn what she wanted to be for Halloween, I just put bunny ears on her. In more recent years, we'd have conversations, usually in late summer, about costume options (although I'm fairly certain she didn't request the fairy princess costume, I just wanted to make it), settling on a tiger or a pioneer girl.

Last year's FireCat was a collaboration. This year, it was all Caitlyn.

She started planning back in early September. Her dragon costume went through a lot of mental permutations before taking shape, with big black wings (from her dress up box) and a mask she made from craft foam and glitter glue.

But a costume party demonstrated that her dragon costume wasn't a costume for wearing while playing. So, revision, adaptation. She started by putting on all of the pieces from her fading tiger costume. Mama vetoed the full costume (I made it big when she was four, but that was several years ago) but pointed out that certain elements could be used with other things.
Caitlyn as a cat
The result: There were originally four kittens in The Aristocats. Some time before the movie opens, Edgar the butler managed to lose the fourth kitten. She came home eventually, after having her own alley cat adventures and spending some time as a witch's cat.
Caitlyn as a cat
Caitlyn assembled her costume herself this year, either making up new parts or drawing on (sometimes reinterpreting) things she already had on hand. She built her own narrative to answer the ubiquitous Halloween question, "And what are you supposed to be?", referencing The Aristocats to explain her shiny collar and adding the witch to explain our trick-or-treating companions.

I suppose it's another bittersweet parenting moment. She's resourceful and capable and didn't need me at all in putting together this year's costume (pinning safety pins doesn't count). Yay! But I'm that much farther from the little girl she was. And while I don't exactly miss Preschool Caitlyn, I'm reminded that Teenage Caitlyn (and Twenty-Something Caitlyn) is not that far away, really, and I miss my eight year old already.