Wednesday, 27 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

Confession time:  I have made zero progress on either of the quilts I posted about in last week's post.  This is why I end up with so many works in progress!  The worst part is that I could have finished my basted quilt but I didn't because I didn't want to change needles.  True story!  I tend to do as much piecing as I can and then switching to a whole bunch of quilting.  

My pile of little apples blocks isn't even laid out on my design wall as I switched focus and decided it was time to finish my daughter's postage stamp quilt.  I started this a year ago, at least.  I am focused on only using scraps, and only those that can't be cut into 3" square or larger.  Every time I had a decent sized stack of 2.5" squares, I would sit down for a chain piecing session.  But it's time to finish it up.  So it's on the wall until it's finished.

But I've needed to cut into some larger scraps to make enough.  I'm also aiming to make a binding out of only binding scraps, so I have several piles on my work table.  And since this project is relegated to evening sewing only, it may be a while before another quilt gets up on the wall.

I did begin another work project that was on my WIP table.  I picked up the floral fabric on sale from a chain store.  I loved the pattern and the colors, and thought it would be great for some outline quilting.  It's my backing and I proceeded to dig through my box of 3.5" scrap squares.  Then I started cutting more to fill in the blanks.  I ended up with 322 squares which I chain pieced into 161 pairs.  I love chain piecing!  My next step will be to combine these into blocks of four.


 Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

Last Wednesday, after 4 weeks without my sewing machine, I learned that it would need to go to Toronto for another 2-3 weeks to fix a circuit board problem.  Cue the sad face :(  But then my LQS gave me a lender to hold me over until my machine returned ::phew::  Back to work for me!  Which means I actually have work completed on my WIPs!

I finished up two personalized pet pillows for a friend and delivered them last night.  She lost both of these beloved animals in the past 6 months and it was a tearful but happy gift to give.  If anyone is interested in these I do have them offered for sale in my etsy shop

A pile of lovely fabric pieces became a pile of lovely fabric blocks.

And I sewed up a couple of charm packs into a simple patchwork top.  Basted and ready for quilting.

I also added to the stack of postage stamp blocks I had hoped to turn into a quilt for my oldest daughter's birthday.  Which is Saturday.  Yikes!  Not sure it will be finished but I may decide to make that my focus for the rest of the week.  We'll see how it goes :)

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced

Friday, 8 March 2013

Friday Finish

This is an old finish but one I've never blogged before.  I'm hoping to eventually have a record of all the quilts I have made here on the blog.  Especially, since so few of my quilts live with me.  So, please forgive me while I run a series of posts featuring older quilts.

This first one is actually fairly recent.  At one of the craft fairs I did over the holidays, someone seemed interested in one of the baby blankets I had available for purchase.  In chatting with her, I learned that she loved the colors and pattern but was looking for a twin quilt. I invited her to email me so we could chat about a custom quilt but knew that there was a chance I would not hear from her again.

I was thrilled to receive an email from her a few days later and we quickly worked out dimensions, colors and pattern.  The room was painted Tiffany blue with hits of pink, yellow, orange and red.  I started pulling fabrics until I had this stack.

A whole bunch of cutting, strip piecing and play with layout left me with this.

Then it was on to quilting and binding.  I quilted straight lines around each main seam (6 1/2 inch blocks) in both directions.

I love the smattering of little people throughout the quilt.  When I delivered the quilt to it's owner, she was thrilled with the yellow butterfly fabric as her nieces called their room the "butterfly room".  This is up there as one of my favorite quilts I've made and I was sad to see it go.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

Unfortunately,  my progress has been minimal lately as my sewing machine is in the shop for yearly maintenance.  There isn't a wealth of sewing machine repairists around here (only one that I even now of) so it's a 3 week wait.  And your machine has to be there, no bringing it in when she is ready for you.

I tried to use this time as productively as possible.  Some of this.

I had a serious backlog of sorting and filing that needed to be done.  Followed by the dreaded tax preparation.  But the filing is done, the personal taxes are ready to go to the accountant and there has been tremendous progress made on the work taxes.

I've also been doing some work around the house.  Decluttering, donating and painting.

A few weeks ago, the husband and I decided to overhaul our kitchen closet.  When we bought the house, it was set up as a coat closet (I guess because it was next to the back door).  But we used it for recycling/storage.  And it was not functioning.  We put up a big plastic utility shelving unit that took up way too much space and too often, things would come pouring out when we opened the door.  So we removed the hanging rod and added a second long shelf and 4 short shelves on the right side.  

But I wanted to make it fun!  I got purple in my head and went in search of some mistints (cheap overhaul FTW).  Found one for $9, pretty close to what I was hoping for.  Unfortunately, even though it is labelled as self-priming, it's taking 3 coats to cover well.  UGH.  I'm hoping to finish it this week.

Don't despair, I have been getting to play with fabric as well.

This is my work in progress table.  For the longest time my WIPs were just scattered everywhere.  Piled on my work surface, tucked into shelving units, and next to my sewing machine.  One day in a fit of annoyance I decided to pull them all into one place.  There are 5 quilts in various stages up there.  A stack of crayon rolls mid construction.  An apron that has not even been cut (but the pattern is printed!).  Fabric to make a roman shade for my bathroom window.  A pair of shorts that need a button.  A cushion in the very early stages of preparation.  There is also a set of matching dresses for my daughter and her American Girl peeking out from the dresser next to the table.  Obviously I still need to work on keeping all of my projects on this table LOL.

I then have a notebook next to my computer that keeps my Idea list for things I want to make but haven't physically started to work on yet.  

Linking up at Freshly Pieced and I'm hoping that next week I have extra progress made on at least one of those fabric projects!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Craft Show Recap

Yep, you read that right!  It's 3 months later but I wanted to have a recap available for my records and perhaps some of you might find something useful here as well.
My first show was early in the season, still in October.  It was the first year for this show, hosted by another artisan.  The table fee was low so I thought I would give it a shot.  There were definitely some freshman issues at this show.  The location was not fantastic and advertising was limited to facebook and a smattering of posters around town.  I definitely would have preferred to spend a little more money and have advertising on the radio and in the newspaper.  But I made a few sales and met some more local artisans.

My second show was a 3 day event in a large event arena.  I lucked out and had a little extra space that allowed me to set up my favorite display of the season.  Unfortunately, there were a lot of resellers with made in China junk at this show.  In previous years, this show had earned a reputation for being crafter unfriendly with high booth fees and lots of non-handmade product.  But this year they lowered their booth cost and promised handmade only.  However, at the last minute they had too many empty booths and invited about a dozen resellers.  The hours were long, the people through were low considering the amount of advertising done and sales were not what I had hoped. 


I knew show #3 would be my busiest by far.  It's the most well known of the school Christmas Craft Shows and can get thousands through the door Friday night alone.  The hours were short, the table fee is low and it was definitely worth my time and money.  I had hoped to have higher sales but I also received a custom twin quilt order the week following the show that nearly doubled my sales for the weekend.  I did find the space was cramped and the hardest to set up for.  I will need to do quite a bit of rethinking before this show rolls around next year.

 My final show was a Christmas Craft Fair at my daughter's elementary school.  I am told that in previous years this show was as busy as the previous one I did.  Unfortunately, the two years I have participated have been complete duds.  Hardly any people coming through and even fewer people actually interested in buying.  It didn't help that the lady next to me had added several bins under her table with flea market stuff :(  I had planned on continuing with this show to support my daughter's school but I think I would be better off making a monetary donation in some other way.

I definitely learned a lot this year doing craft shows.  Most importantly, I learned that I am not going to sell a lot of my product locally.  I am in a location that trends toward a more traditional style, while my products are definitely more modern feeling.  There are also a lot of hobbyists around here.  By hobbyists, I refer to people who enjoy crafting and just want to make enough to cover materials so they can continue crafting.  Unfortunately, that creates a situation where buyers are turned off to the prices required to support a crafting business.  I did see some signs that this may be shifting so I will continue to do the 2 shows I considered a nominal success to build up my local presence.