It’s now been three weeks of quarantine, and honestly, I’m scared and sad – mostly sad. I’m sad that this pandemic has affected SO many lives. If I think about it too long it becomes too overwhelming and too sad for me to process. I feel a constant lump in my throat and the littlest things, like seeing all the army trucks lined up outside of the hospitals in Italy, will start the tears flowing. There are parts of me that thinks that this is just a bad dream and that I’ll wake up and things will be normal again. But I know it’s real, and so this week I decided that the best way to combat this sadness was to take action:
Step 1: I mentioned last week that sewing was my therapy, and that I was working on this Blooming 9-patch quilt – I’m happy to report that this week I finished it!
I freaking love this quilt! I have wanted to make this quilt (for the 3rd time) for a long time. The pattern is from “Tradition with a Twist” – by Blanche Young – it’s seriously one of my favorite quilting books.
I used fabrics from my stash (#stashbuster) and realized that the pattern is similar to this virus in that it starts in the center and each color ‘spreads’ into the next with a 9-patch. Look close you’ll see what I mean.
Step 2: I joined my sewing sisters and brothers to make masks for those on the front-line of this pandemic. Actually, my first 50 are going to my brother and his co-workers who work in an assisted living facility. The next 50 will go to Crafters Against Covid-19 – Seattle who donates them to local hospitals. (check to see if there is a local chapter in your area) So far 4500 masks have been donated to area hospitals and clinics and that makes my heart feel better.
Step 3: I hosted a virtual Happy Hour (thank you Zoom) and told the story of my worst date ever! It’s a pretty funny story, and it felt good to laugh with my friends, to see their faces, and to just check in to see how everyone is doing.
Step 4: Finally, I delivered cookies and an offer to help to some of my neighbors.
As of 5:00 p.m. Tuesday the Governor of Washington declared a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that requires every Washingtonian to stay home unless they have essential activities. So here we are, week two of staying home and staying safe from the COVID-19. We are truly living in unprecedented times – well, not counting the Spanish Flu of 1918.
I am a home body to begin with so staying home hasn’t really disrupted my daily life too much. However that doesn’t mean I’m not worried… I am. If I think about how bad this virus will get/can get I will head down a rabbit hole of anxiety really quick. Instead of doing that I’m doing my best to educate myself, yoga, running, and a whole LOT of sewing. Sewing has always been a form of therapy for me. – it relaxes me, it’s something I can control, and provides me with a huge sense of accomplishment when I finish something. win/win/win.
This week I’ve been working on a Blooming 9-patch quilt, I’m not quite done, so I won’t talk about it too much. But suffice it to say that I love this pattern so much that this is the 3rd quilt that I’ve made using the pattern.
I’ve also been working on my Spring/Summer wardrobe. It’s coming along nicely. I don’t have too many pictures as I’m waiting on some photography equipment that should step up my game in that department – including a tri-pod! So stay tuned, and above all – stay safe.
I hope everyone is surviving the quarantine … I know I am loving the excuse to stay in and sew! Though, I did walk to the post office to drop off a letter and found these reminders to vote along the way. Love that there are people in the world who do this.
Back to sewing: I’m trying something new – instead of sewing the next shiny thing that catches my attention, I’m trying to plan my wardrobe!
I started out on Pinterest and pinned outfits that I thought would be nice to have for the summer. I pinned a ton of maxi skirts, t-shirts, and loose fitting pants. I then went through my patterns and pulled ones that matched (or were close enough) to the items I pinned.
All this was done prior to the Sewing Expo a couple of weeks ago, so I had a good idea of the types of fabric I was looking for which was really nice going in with a plan! I’ve been using Trello to keep all my outfits (patterns/fabrics) organized as I go along.
First item up:
This pattern is the Clarke from Seamworks, and the fabric is from JoAnns. I lengthened the top a couple of inches and cut it on the bias to get more drape. It’s still a little shorter than I’d like, and looks this side of a maternity top – but I don’t completely hate it. I may make another one before the summer is out.
It’s been a weird weekend here in the Seattle area- otherwise known as the U.S.’s Ground Zero for the Corvid-19. People raided the Costco, Target and Fred Meyer’s last week, stocking up on toilet paper, bread, and water..?? Now everyone is holed up in their homes and events with 10+ people are canceled. The streets here are pretty empty – which means I bought gas, washed my car, and met a friend without waiting in line or getting stuck in traffic!
I also spent a LOT of time sewing, starting with this sheath dress from Butterick.
I used this knit fabric that I purchased last weekend, I believe it’s a poly-blend and a little on the heavy side. I thought that if the dress was too heavy I could shorten the length to take off some of the weight.
Turns out – it’s not too heavy. I made the view with the tie …
But the tie felt like it was too large/thick, and I knew it would bug me, so I took it off.
I can’t decide if I like it better or not… I’m not much of a tie person to begin with, AND, I can reach the pockets better without the tie….
I might see how I like it for now. I’ll most likely wear this with a jean jacket or cardigan which will break-up the lines and give it some shape.
When the weather gets really warm I can always buy a belt or make another tie using lighter fabric. That’s the joy of sewing, I can always change my mind.
Last year I was determined to finish up some UFO (UnFinished Objects) in my sewing room – including this scrap quilt made with scraps from quilts I’ve made in the past!
Quality quilting fabric is expensive so when I have any scraps left over from make a quilt I tuck them away. I save extra blocks, fabric strips and scraps that are at least 2.5″ x 2.5″.
When I was ready to sew this quilt, I had enough scraps to make 64, 10″ x 10″ blocks. After sewing all the blocks together I had a full sized quilt that holds a LOT of memories.
There are blocks from the (Storm at Sea) quilt I made my dad, one block from the tea cup quilt I started and quickly decided I didn’t have the patience for, blocks from my Tula Pink Butterfly quilt, and plenty of Sewtropolis shop samples!
I don’t know what I’ll do with this quilt yet. I believe quilts are made to be used, but I love all the memories this one holds, so for now it’s sitting safely on a shelf in my sewing room.
I made another t-shirt quilt this week for a friend of mine’s daughter!
I love how this one turned out! Once I had the t-shirts we scheduled a call to go over what her daughter wanted. She pretty much left the design up to me, but knew that she wanted the borders to be a gray… and that she wanted the backing and binding to match.
Some of the shirts were smaller (child size) so I had to ‘build up’ some blocks to make them large enough.
When laying it out I thought it would be cute to have Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse looking out across the quilt to each other.
I quilting it using a longarm, and super fine thread that blends in so nicely with all the blocks.
Like I said, I’m really happy with the way this turned out. this quilt is about 55″ x 55″ and I used about 15 t-shirts (a few front and back) to make it. I have my listing up on Etsy if you’d like to your own t-shirt quilt.
I posted earlier that I am taking custom orders for t-shirt quilts. I’ve done a few in the past, but unfortunately didn’t have pictures of them to post on my Etsy site to ‘advertise’ my work. Unfortunately, I don’t own a lot of graphic t-shirts … so I took a trip to Goodwill and picked up a few Seahawk t-shirts to make this Seahawk themed lap quilt.
I think it turned out okay considering some of the t-shirts were “V” neck and I didn’t think of how hard it would be to ‘center’ in a block. I also included some kid-sized t-shirts that needed some ‘building up’ to make the block larger. The quilt measures 45″w x 50.5″ L … so not quite square, but plenty big for a lap quilt.
I had the green fabric used in the sashing and the binding in my stash, and the Seattle/Seahawk themed blue fabric was purchased from JoAnns.
I’ve taken pictures and listed it on my Etsy store as an example of my work AND listed it for sale here. As much as I like it, I have a house full of quilts and like I said – I’m determined to get out of debt.
Even though I really like to knit socks – I don’t wear my handmade socks when I workout. Instead, I buy store-bought socks which seem to last about a season, and as soon as they get a hole in them I toss them out. A few months back I decided instead of wasting money (and creating waste) I was going to try darning (mending) my socks.
Darning a sock is not that hard… all you need is yarn (I used sock weight), a needle and a darning egg – or something to stretch the sock over while you mend it.
Before I bought a darning egg I used a tennis ball or one of the dogs Kong. Both did the job, but they were not ideal. I thought I would have a hard time finding a darning egg, but I found this one on Amazon for about $10.
To mend the hole in my socks I stitched an outline around the hole in my sock, then created vertical/parallel stitches across the hole, and then ‘wove’ in the horizontal stitches.
This sock had a small hole – but I decided to darn a larger area because I felt that the smaller patch might bug me. I’m glad I did because these are my most comfortable pair of socks now – there’s so much cushion in the foot bed!
I love that I extended the life of my socks (and made them even better). Having one success, I decided to use the same technique to save a sweatshirt that I accidentally marked with a red ink pen.
I used two different colors of embroidery floss and created a hatched circle over the mark. The sweater looked a little odd with just one circle so I added a few more. Again, I think I made my sweater better (more fun) by ‘fixing’ it. What do you think?
2019 was all about finishing up some of my many UFOs (UnFinished Objects)… including the Sewtropolis Signature Quilt. I started this quilt about a year before I closed my store… not knowing at the time that I would be closing. It was intended to hang in the studio portion and I thought it would be a fun way to have my customers assist in a quilt. There are 100 signatures most from the kids who took my summer sewing camps, but also from my adult students, employees and customers.
I managed to put the top together and that’s about the time I realized I needed to close my store… and this project and so many others went into the UFO basket for the time being.
So here it is six years and a cross-county move later and I’m finally tackling that that UFO basket. All I had to do to finish this quilt was to quilt and bind it so I waited till I had a few tops to quilt before reserving time on the long-arm. After quilting the first two with no issue, I loaded this one and started doing my thing… and about 3/4 of the way into it I realized that the backing had somehow creased and was getting worse as I went along.
I can “live” with a lot of mistakes, but this crease was not one of them. I took it off the machine, brought it home and took out most of what I had done. To be honest with you – I had heard of people doing this and thought to myself NO WAY would I ever do this – I don’t mind a mistake or a few, I think they give a quilt character – but this crease was in a league of its own!
Once I was done unstitching, I re-quilted it on my home machine, putting a heart in each of the blocks, and a wavy pattern on the boarder – which is kind of a metaphor for my business: I loved my customers, but it was definitely a crazy ride!!!
Overall I’m really happy with how this quilt turned out – I loved seeing the signatures of the gals that worked for me (miss you ladies), the signatures of the camp kids – some who were seriously SO MUCH FUN, and I even teared up when I saw Skilo’s block.. God, I miss that dog!!!
Eventually I will pick off all the stray threads, but for now they are a reminder of the difficulty of my owning my own business and of finishing this quilt.
Well, here we are at the end of another year – and it’s time to check in on those resolutions we all set at the beginning of 2019! Personally, I think I did okay. As a reminder my goals were:
I went to Greece, applied to Law School (twice) and am still waiting to hear whether I got accepted. I started watercoloring… did it everyday for a month and then stopped (I will get back to it). My fitness goal was to run 3 miles without stopping – I’m still working on that. Drink more H2O – which I decided wasn’t specific enough and I deleted it instead of feeling frustrated every time I looked at it.
And the big one: Finish 1 UFO per month! That was the kicker! I started out great – had the first three done before the end of the first month. But then I started to tackle the projects that took a little longer… Like this Roseville pottery appliqué quilt, which slowed me down big time! For the record, I still haven’t finished it, and now it’s going on 20 years as a UFO.
However, I did complete 12 UFO’s – deleting a few that were on the list originally, and replacing them with a few that I decided were ready to be finished.
Here is my “Complete” list. Over the next few months I may write about a few – if you follow me on Instagram @Sewtropolis and @Shop_Sewtropolis you’ll see pictures of almost everything.
And my list as we reach the end of 2019!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were all able to reach your 2019 sewing goals. I’m looking forward to everyone’s year-end wrap ups on Instagram!