Monday, April 6, 2015

Speak to me!

Deciding to let the fabrics be my guide ( since I had no clue what I was doing) was the best course of action to take with this quilt.  I could not have had inspiration to start a quilt at a less opportune time but that is when inspiration seems to happen, when we least expect it and when we are not looking for it.

It has been about six weeks since I had really sat down to sew.  Maybe little bits here and there but nothing that required my full attention.  When sewing takes a backseat to life, I need to reacquaint myself with my machine ( she gets fussy when ignored), with how I work best, and what colors look best together up on the wall.  It takes time to do get into the groove.  I am now feeling groovy!  I let the fabrics speak to me and this is what they had to say...

The wall is filling up with some very beautiful blocks and the now eight year old ( HAPPY BIRTHDAY little man) is walking through every now and again to check on the progress of his quilt. I now have an on site supervisor and am feeling the pressure to have this done sometime soon!  The approval rating of the supervisor has gone up since taking this new direction ;o)  One more way I know this was the right thing to do.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I Didn't Know THAT Would Happen!

My youngest is getting older.  He will be eight on Easter.  Only two more years and he will be in the double digits.  I sometimes wonder how it will be without a "little kid."  I have had them around for so long, it is odd to think about not having any.  He already does not allow me to hug him if people can see and will only hold my hand to cross the street only in the busiest of crossings.  He is growing up.  I am happy to see he is growing into a self-reliant and strong person.  As his Mom, I try not to hold too tight or too long.  He is doing what he should be doing.  I am loving every second of it.

I tucked him into bed two weeks ago ( tucking in is still allowed) and realized that his bed is full of quilts made when he was younger.  Two by me and one by Thomas Knauer.  They are all his and he knows it.  His absolute favorite is one I made from inexpensive Joann's flannel. A simple patchwork.  Bright and colorful. Just like him. He still asks for it when he does not feel well to cuddle and soothe himself. 

Now that he will be eight I thought he might like a quilt to take him into his tween years and maybe beyond.  It was to be a simple patchwork made from recycled garments like the Red Quilt.  But nothing over the top...just a simple patchwork...and then this block happened...

"I didn't know THAT would happen!"

That is a kind of joke in this house because when the older boys would be told NOT to do something and then they would do whatever it was anyway ( they are boys) when the "bad" then would happen they would always  say, "I didn't know that would happen!"

No one gave me that warning, so when I went to make the simple patchwork for the soon to be eight year old, I happily made my huge mess of to be blocks and then went in another direction. Not because I had a better idea, because honestly, I did not.

I made a few other log cabins with bits and pieces and had tried to stay only with basics.  My heart was pulling me in another direction. I was up early today starting a new center block and it happened! The thing that no one warned me about.  This may appear to be a simple nothing of a plus block but it is really so much more. The one strip of red is an odd random piece of the Red Quilt that I made last year. I have no idea how it decided to place itself in my path but it did.  I had made an effort not to make this a complicated process but I wanted to try something different.  This is different.  In Adam's quilt there will be a log cabin with a tiny red strip of something that means a lot to me. The quilt just became very personal. 

The other log cabins that I made last night seem drab and lifeless.  Each of the log cabins should represent each of the people in his family that love him which means I will be redoing some blocks to make them more personal.  I will ask the boys ( at 27 and almost 24 they are hardly boys) what colors they want and Katy wants hers to be a center of batik.  " I am a batik!"  she happily proclaimed :o)

This will be a great quilt and really, "I didn't know THAT would happen!"

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quilts for Kayla Rose { #theyearofgiving}

The Falling Leaves Quilt top was completed in November 2011.  A stunning top made with Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley.  I remember this quilt top very well because it was my first lesson in measure twice cut once!  I cut all of the center blocks 1/4in too small!  The fabric was out of print, of course, but luckily enough, it was indeed found ( on Etsy) and I finished this beautiful top.  It was never quilted since I had no idea how to quilt such a beauty.

So the quilt top has been folded on my vintage ladder in my sewing room, looking rather sad and unloved until I read a post from my friend Penny Barnes.

If you do not know Penny, you should!  This lady rocked my little world last year by making a quilt for my son in Afghanistan.  She, her son and his class of second graders made the most wonderful  surprise quilt for Michael. She is honestly the most giving person of her time, her talent and, mostly, her love.

When I saw on Facebook that Penny was collecting quilt tops and quilts for Kayla Rose. Kayla's family lost her to cancer in November 2003.   These quilts in her memory to be delivered to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital on Feb 14, the day Kayla was born.  This is the photo of Kayla that her family shared.  I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to watch my children suffer through cancer treatments. I cannot imagine losing a child.  My heart goes out to this family and any family with children that are sick or have been lost.

When I saw Penny's post, I knew the quilt top was meant for her. I cannot imagine a more appropriate  place to give such a beautiful bright quilt. It is the very least I can do.

Penny quilted it up and brought it to life ( as talented longarmers seem to do) and here is the finished quilt that will be joining many others ( thank you everyone) to provide love to children in need.

Here is Penny with a stack of beauties of the quilts to be shipped!  Thank you Penny for organizing such a beautiful memorial to a swat girl and quilt drive!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Four is perfect for a weekend sew :o)

I was able to finish four little dresses this weekend.  The first took the longest since no matter how hard I try, I am not a pattern reader.  I like to see things done so it takes me a try or two ( sometimes three) to be able to *see* what I am reading.  After I figured out what I supposed to be doing I had an assembly like ready to go.  It only took a few hours not much more to make the three remaining dresses give or take 30 minutes since apparently people living here want to eat and still need laundry washed.  Hopefully there will be a playdate organized soon ( I am trying) to have many hands making these adorable dresses to send to some very deserving girls.

Alexander Henry Kleo is one of my all time favorites. I have a skirt in the black/red colorway.

Ginger Blossom Tiles by Sandy Henderson!  I can see a little girl feeling like a princess in this dress!

Amy Butler Love is one of the happiest fabric lines EVER and this one makes my heart sing!

The love for making these prompted a stash raid!  Everything has been properly washed and dried and is waiting to be ironed ( any volunteers?) It may be time to teach the kids to iron,LOL!

Friday, January 30, 2015

I am so excited!

The first dress is finished!  I used Riley Blake Fabrics.  I fell in love with this fabric and bought yardage to make something for my home but then I just did not want to cut it.  It sat in my fabric closet for years and when I decided on making Little Dresses for Africa, this was my first pull.  I love  the happiness of the colors! I hope this will make a little girl very happy! 

I was wring on the sleeves last night and realized that I did not have a safety pin in my sewing rom to pull elastic! How can I not have a safety pin, LOL!  My dear garment sewing goddesses on Instagram had so many amazing ideas!  The best thing about Instagram is if you need immediate assistance, there is so much support!  The number one answer was a bodkin.  I do not own one so I was out of luck but it will be added to my next fabric shop shopping list.  I did find this fantastic tutorial by Kathleen on Fashion Incubator.  This WORKS and it is super easy.  My instagram friends did let me know that this method is not great for stretchy fabric or waistbands.

For my dresses I will be using Aurifil 40wt ( the green spool) and If I have the coordinating colors 28wt ( the gray spool) for  topstitching.  These are my personal favorite for sewing of high use items or when you wish to have a little more pop!

So YAY for #theyearofgiving and I am so excited I am off to a good start!

The Year of Giving { love}

My upbringing was not affluent by any stretch of the imagination so understand what it is like to have to do without.  That being said, I had what I needed to grow up and over the years we have worked hard to give our children everything they need. Our family has fresh food everyday, clean running water, warmth in the winter and the ability to have cool air in the summer.  If we are ill, some of the top medical professionals are only a phone call away and we are able to see them to receive care. The children attend very fine and safe schools.   My daughter will never be thought of as a second class citizen but as a person with value. I am very grateful for my life as I am well aware that this is not the case for many families and children in this country and many other countries around the world.

Choosing a word for 2015 was not something I was interested in doing.  Like a New Year's resolution,  it hovers over you and can have the ability to make you feel that you have somehow failed.  I don't need that kind of pressure in my head or heart.  Giving to others of time, love, and support comes easy to me.  I get immense joy from the act of giving.  I have mentioned before that last year I sadly did no sewing for charity.  I did not realize how much the act of not giving had been a drain.  It took the flu and being bedridden with children also with the flu for me to stop and reevaluate what is important in life.  In that logo time is when my word did come to me, without reservation it will be fully embraced!

My word for 2015 LOVE!  Giving love through actions of kindness, through words, through charity to those less fortunate.

I decided to start sewing Little Dresses for Africa as one of my first projects.  Amy from Amy Lou Who Sews and Angela from Cut to Pieces are joining in to make some dresses for this very amazing project!  There are free patterns for the pillowcase dresses on the website. they also have patterns for Britches for Boys and reusable sanitary pads for teen girls that sadly miss many days of education because of their monthly cycle.

I had chosen not to make the pillowcase dress but a dress with sleeves. Amy suggested a pattern she had made for her littlelouwho's that was easy to make and very adorable. I bought it last week but am always leery of anything that says easy to sew ;o)

I chose fabrics that were bright and colorful from my stash.  Katy wanted to be part of the process and so we took a trip to the Local Quilt Shop and she chose some lovely batiks.  I had not washed them yet so there is no photo.

I had to give myself some time to become reacquainted with my serger and learn how to thread it again.  Maddening machine that is completely adored when it is threaded correctly!

Today I have four dresses cut out and will be ready to go!

This will be #theyearofgiving.  I hope you will join in with me and use the hashtag #theyearofgiving on IG ( my IG is gogokim)  and twitter for any project you may be doing for charity!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bring in the BLUE!

Deciding on colors for around the sewing room I looked to find inspiration IN the room itself.  I love every thing vintage so it was natural to pull from this beautiful Singer to make my next decision! She is so beautiful!  Found on Craigslist for $35 including all the attachments!  I was a happy camper and to top it off, she sews like a dream :o)  The color of that machine is so very lovely, the decision was made to add that somehow into the room in bits and pieces.

In the corner of the sewing room there has been this bolt of fabric.  It is from I am sure the 70's and came from my grandparent's home after my grandmother passed a few years ago.  I have been unsure where to use it but this past weekend when I was working on the painting the sewing table it hit me like a ton of bricks! 


The fabric will be used on my chair that is now a dark gray to brighten up and liven up the room.  It brings my grandparents kinda into my everyday life an that brings me great joy!

Please wish me luck since I have not done an upholstery project in years and I have already cut this one incorrectly once ( thank goodness I have a WHOLE BOLT of this fabric ;o)

What inspires you IN your sewing room?  
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