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That Was Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

by Steve Tippets on 01/12/18

This week was spent focused on cutting out my material for my table runner project. I'm really glad I didn't plan on making any other progress because I needed the whole week to get all of the cutting done. 

Part of the problem was I had a choice between using a charm pack or using a variety of fabric with different colors. I couldn't find a charm pack with enough variation so I decided to just do the variations of fabric. The problem was I didn't have as much of a variation as the pattern wanted so I had to figure out how I was going to incorporate the fabric options I did have. I think I have it figured out, but I won't know for sure until it's time to assemble the blocks together. 

I have to know, where do you all get your charm packs? The only ones I could find were color themed so I would have thirty 5" blocks of different blues, but none of the other colors I needed. That meant I'd need six different charm packs and I'd only use at the most an eighth of each one. Is it possible to find charm packs with more variation in them? Or do I just need to bite the bullet and get a bunch of different ones and keep the leftovers on hand for future projects? 

Another issue that I wasn't expecting was the need to cut out shapes with curves, not just straight lines. I had to cut out circles and leaves to make the poppies that will go down the center of the table runner. It was intimidating, but I was able to get through it. 

I was able to use my small rotary cutter for the first time which made cutting relatively easy, once I got the hang of it. 

Is there a trick to cutting out patterns? I just made one 'stencil' and held it in place while I cut around it because I needed 24 leaves and I didn't want to cut out 24 paper leaves. Going forward, should I take the time to cut out individual stencils and pin them to the material? These were so small it was easy to keep them where I needed them, but I imagine it will be harder if the item I'm cutting out is bigger. 

These will be applique'd to a block of fabric, which I'm a bit nervous about. I'll probably be tackling that next week, out of order, just so I don't lose any of the leaves or stems. I've done applique before, but never with a machine. 

The rest of the cutting was relatively straight forward. Lots of squares and rectangles.

Now that they're all cut and I can see them all together I'm hoping the colors all work and don't clash. I feel like bad fabric choices can really ruin a great project. 

I have all the sizes stacked together so you can't see all of the fabric in this picture. What I can see I like together, but there is some orange hidden in there that I'm a bit worried about. And the blues are brighter in the picture than they are in person. We'll see how this goes. 

I'm ready to move on to the next step. Bring it on. 

A New Year And New Projects

by Steve Tippets on 01/05/18

I've always loved winter break from school. When I was a kid it was my favorite time of year. I loved the cold. I loved the lights. I loved the music. It was magical. Plus, I loved not having to think about school for a few weeks. It's a little different as a parent. Instead of the typical two week break, my kids have three weeks off of school. Three weeks. That is a very long time to have your normal routine interrupted and I am beyond ready to have that schedule start back up again. I still have to make it through this weekend. 

Part of my normal routine now includes sewing. I miss it. But it's too hard to sew when I've got three extra kids in the house who are in and out of the office asking me questions every five minutes. 

Thankfully, I have managed to at least think about sewing, even if I haven't actually been able to turn my sewing machine on since before Christmas. 

I have a few things planned as we start this new year which I am really excited about. The first project is a big one that will take me the entire year to complete. I have signed up for the Block of the Month club through Purple Daisies Quilting. Information about it can be found here:

Basically, I'll be sent one block pattern, some months I'll be sent two, to work on. Each block will help me learn new techniques which I'm really excited about. At the end of the year, I'll have a completed quilt. 

I'm really excited and a little nervous to be tackling this quilt. I'm grateful that I'll have the whole year to complete it. The first block will be sent out on the 12th of this month, so I have another week and a half before I can get started on it. Has anyone else ever done a block of the month club? 

There's no way for me to know how long each block will take me to do. Some blocks may very well take me the entire month to complete while others could be done in a just one week. In the event that I finish the blocks quickly, I wanted to make sure I had something else to work on. 

I decided to get a book of table runner patterns. That way I won't confuse myself with multiple quilt projects happening at once. 

This particular book has ten different patterns in it. I thought it would be best to just sew my way through the book rather than jump around. This way I don't have to decide which one to start with. 

The first table runner is called "A Pack of Posies."

It was a little overwhelming to be in the store trying to pick out fabric, but I was able to do it eventually. I just hope the colors go as well together in the runner as they do in my head. 

I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to put towards these table runners, but I like knowing that I have them to do in any down time that I have. 

This week I will be cutting down my fabric choices. I'm going to wait to post a picture of the fabric until the prep work is finished. Hopefully I'll have time to start sewing, but the priority is on the preparation. It's probably my least favorite part of any project, sewing or not, but it's an important one. 

What is your least favorite part of your projects? Do you have something you dislike so much that the thought of it makes you put off projects all together? I've never gotten to that point and I hope I never will. 

Busy Christmas

by Steve Tippets on 12/29/17

What an amazing and busy week this has been for me. Last Friday I had fourteen family members come into town for Christmas. The last of them left today. I have never hosted so many people before so I was pretty occupied with making sure everyone was happy, comfortable, and had what they needed. It didn't leave any time for sewing. Even if I had had time to sew, I had someone sleeping in my office so I didn't have access to my sewing machine.

It was nice to have a break this week, but I'm ready to get back to a regular schedule with more projects to work on. 

Since I don't have a project at the moment and I didn't want to go a week without posting, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight the extension table that I've been using. Mine is the Wish table from Sew Steady. You can find them under the products link of the Sew Very Smooth website. They have a few different sizes so there is the perfect size for everyone.

I've had it for a few weeks now and I love it. It was exactly what I needed to use while I worked on the weighted blanket for my daughter. I can't even imagine trying to wrestle that heavy fabric and still achieve a straight line. The table allowed me to keep the material flat so my Ideal Seam Guide could stay in position while I sewed. Together, I was able to achieve the perfect line I was hoping for. 

It took a few months to get it, but that was only because I have a brand new model sewing machine so there hadn't been a template made for it yet. It was worth the weight because it fits my Juki beautifully. 

I'm so excited to continue with future projects with the aid of this table. If you are on the fence about one, I highly recommend them. They're worth the investment. 

I am also pleased to inform you that my daughter loved her weighted blanket. She has slept with it every night since Christmas and I have even found her curled up with it while playing with her toys. It does my heart good to see it being used. A few of her cousins have even asked for me to make them one. It looks like I may have an endless supply of 'filler' projects to work on.