2012 Year in Review

2012 mosaic
1. FinalWhole, 2. FQ-Close, 3. Front_garden, 4. Full_front, 5. BlueBlack-staggered, 6. Henrietta1, 7. Notebooks, 8. Sarah’s potholders (front), 9. Black bag 1

In 2012 I started quilting seriously, started blogging, met a whole bunch of really lovely people and learned tons from advice and tutorials and quilt-alongs, and finished a lot of small projects and several quilts, including one that isn’t featured in this mosaic.

In 2013, I’ll be joining the Inspire circle of do. Good Stitches (which I’m really looking forward to) and trying my best to keep up with the Pile O’Fabric Skill Builder Block of the Month in hopes of learning how to sew curves at the very least. And ideally, I’ll be a little bit better at keeping up with this blog during the spring semester than I was this fall.

Prepping for the school year

I’ve been making notebook covers for my various courses, using Rachel’s tutorial at Stitched in Color.

It turns out that this pattern is perfect for my long-cut quarter-yard NYC prints from the City Quilter.

Here’s a fuzzy instagram picture of the first one:
Notebook cover #1

The next one will be black and white using the skyscraper print from City Quilter, in the same design as this one, and the third will be burgundy and yellow/gold, to match the colors of the Plantagenet kings. That one will be all red on the outside except for a thin vertical band of yellow at the edges, and the inside flaps will be yellow, with a pocket the right size for index cards.

I tweaked the measurements for the tutorial, because I’m using 8 1/2×10″ spiral-bound notebooks instead of composition books. I cut my cover to 12.75″x32.5″ because the notebooks are a little bit larger, and followed the tutorial otherwise, while adapting the pocket flaps to be the right depth for my notebooks. It’s a great tutorial!

My (new) sewing space

I just re-organized quite a bit so that all my crafting materials are in one room, and my desk and schoolwork are in another: having the sewing machine next to my computer was too good for procrastination.

I pulled a table and an old TV cart out of the basement, and now one wall of my bedroom looks like this:
Whole_setup_plus_stepstool

(I haven’t found a chair yet. The step-stool works okay for now.)

If you turn to your left while sitting at the table, you see this:
Stash&bookcase

All of my fabric, fiber and yarn in one place. There was some serious tetris-like packing going on while I organized this, and I have a sinking feeling that it’s going to be like packing a suitcase for a trip: on day one, everything fits, but by day three, you can’t shove it all back in no matter how hard you try. So far, though, it’s been great incentive to use what I have and work from stash, because I simply don’t have enough space for more fabric to join me.

The bookshelf below actually holds a lot of books that ought to be in my study, but they fit here, so I have to get up and go get them, if I suddenly need something on Troilus and Criseyde, or on how to date manuscripts, or late medieval literacy rates. The top right shelf is history/biography that’s not related to school: I call it the “shelf of depressing” because it’s all things like Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, and a biography of Ernest Shackleton, and 1491, and so on. Interesting stuff, but a lot of lying, betrayal and death, none of which is fictional.

But back to crafting. Here’s a closer view of just the supplies, not the books:
Stash&bookcase_close

The basic layout is: top row fiber, second row mostly fabric (but some fiber on the right), bottom row mostly knitting stuff (but fabric & books on the left).

There’s very little on those racks that isn’t yarn, fiber or fabric, so I’m using an old TV cart to hold tools & supplies. When I’m not using it, it fits snugly under the table like so:
Cart_under_table

The cart’s organization is still something of a work-in-progress itself, but it’s working well so far. The top left is a box that holds my rotary cutters and scissors and sewing machine feet, as well as any small random things that I don’t want to have to get up to put away right away. The top left is my sewing kit, with chalk pencils, velcro, binding tape, needles, pins, a pincushion, etc. Behind them is a work-in-progress: my second Mabel bag, which is waiting on the arrival of more fusible interfacing.

On the bottom left, there’s a box that holds my bags of scrap fabric. On the right, there’s a little Lane cedar box. When it opens up, you see:
Lane_thread_box

Some of these are spools I’ve had for years (from well before I knew how to pick thread) and I’m planning on gradually replacing my thread with better quality as it runs out, but for now, I’m using what I have.

The top of the tv cart is where I lay out works-in-progress. The tabletop I’m using as my bench is only about 18″x36″, so the extra space is handy.

Speaking of the tabletop, here’s what it looks like close up. The left side has pieces for my Kitchen Window quilt:
Left_side_table

The center is where the rotary cutting mat lives! It has pieces of the Hot Pink Quilts baby quilt I’m making for our downstairs neighbors, who just had a baby boy:
Middle_table

The right is where the sewing machine lives. I move it to the back when I’m cutting, or line it up along the edge of the table. It’s not perfect, but it works!
Right_side_table

Overall, I’m pretty happy with it: it makes a distinct space where I can sew and quilt, which doesn’t overlap with my desk at all.
Whole_setup

I do have to be careful, though — if I leave the tv cart out, I can’t get into my closet! Gotta love living in NYC.


PS: I’m still de-stashing fabric and a little bit of spinning fiber.

Mabel Messenger Bag: Done!

My green bird Mabel messenger bag is done!

Pattern: Mabel Messenger Bag by Jenna-Lou Designs
Fabric: Leftover from my Mixtape Quilt. And of course I forgot to write down what it was at the time.
Hardware: 18mm magnetic snap (I got mine from Purse Supplies R Us on Etsy) and a rectangle ring and slider from Jenna-Lou’s Etsy shop. There are lots of other options for what hardware to use, even if you limit yourself only to Etsy. :)
Alterations: I added a flat-applique’d on pocket on the interior, which will be nice for being able to locate pens and pencils and small things quickly. I also top-stitched around the edge of the bag once I was done ironing in the hopes that that will help it stay a little bit crisper in the long run.

GreenBirdDoor2

GreenBirdWhole

GreenBirdHardware

GreenBirdTopstitching

This was a pretty straightforward pattern. A little dense in places, so reading the whole thing first was definitely a good idea! I managed to attach the straps wrong the first time, and had to un-pick and re-attach them, which was a little annoying. But there were pictures for all the steps that I might have been confused by, which was nice.

Only one oops: when I put the lining in, I forgot to check which side the zippered pocket was on. Usually (at least, I think usually) the zippered pocket is on the back of the bag — in this case, the side the closure flap is sewn to. Here? It’s on the other side. Oops.

GreenBirdLiningOops

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

GreenBirdDoor1

Linking up to Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, which is hosted at Missy Mac Creations this week!

Next up in the bags queue is a second Mabel messenger bag, in Perk Me Up. I still haven’t entirely decided on how to use the fabrics, but I’ve got a little while to play with ideas yet.