Messes and Mess-Ups: Link Up

I love this online community of creative people. There is so much amazing talent out there; so many inspiring projects to spark our own creativity. I’m thrilled that there are link-ups specifically designed so that this community can share projects, trade ideas, and inspire one another. Whether it’s a sneak peek of a work in progress, or our most recent finish, those link-ups are like “Show and Tell” for grown ups. And everyone loves Show and Tell day!

My recent unintentional blogging hiatus happened partly because I didn’t make visiting my own sharing space a priority, but also because I didn’t really have any awesome finishes to share.

But I started this blog because of this community, because I wanted inspire as well as be inspired. Admittedly, though, I wasn’t really feeling very inspiring. My sewing room is a disaster and I have more mistakes than finishes.

You know what, though? The messes and the mess-ups are part of the process of my creativity! In pulling fabric, and cutting, and piecing, and all of it, the mess happens. And sometimes I screw up. And that’s all okay. Sure I love the satisfaction of finishing that final stitch in the binding, but the joy is in the doing, in each step that brings a little stack of fabric ever closer to a finished project. Even the steps that involve a cutting mat buried under fabric, another date with the seam ripper, and maybe (sometimes) a swear word or two are part of that journey.

Finishes are great, and I love looking at your pretty works in progress, but with that kind of input ruling the blogs I read, it’s easy to feel like I’m the only one who messes up and makes a mess. Regularly. 

I’m putting this link up out there because some days I use my seam ripper more than my sewing machine. I want us to have a place where we share the gritty, frustrating part of this process that we love. On those days where you feel like everyone else is churning out beautiful finished projects and you can’t find your rotary cutter, come here. You’re not alone.

I do hope you’ll link up your messes and mess-ups, and then go visit someone else and tell them you have days like that, too!

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Hey! Did you know that when you are paper piecing you are supposed to place fabrics right sides together? You should not sew the wrong side of one fabric to the right side of another.

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My daughter designed her first quilt, and I agreed to sew it together for her. I put these two pieces right sides together, but then I sewed them together along the wrong edge. I think my seam ripper needs a name. We spend a lot of time together.

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I’m making a chevron quilt for a friend, composed of 352 4.5-inch HSTs and squares. I calculated that I needed 160 pink/cream HSTs and 144 mint/cream HSTs. However, when I ordered the fabric, I only accounted for the cream with the pink, not the cream with the mint. I didn’t realize that I didn’t have enough fabric until I was cutting it out. That left me with either 1. Redesign the quilt or 2. Order more fabric and wait for it to come in before resuming cutting out the quilt.

I redesigned. I think it will still work out well, and I’m sure she’ll be happy with it, but it was definitely a careless miscalculation on my part!

Sarahs quilt redesign

March and Messes

Hey, it’s March 1st. March! I looked at this space yesterday and was shocked to realize that the last time I managed to  get myself together enough to have something to say here was January 15th. Six weeks ago! This was an unintended break, but I have some things I DO want to show you over the next few days and weeks.

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One of the primary reasons I started this blog two years ago was to have a place to trade inspiration in the sewing and quilting community. I’ve really learned a lot and developed my own creativity in from browsing what others are doing. I sort of feel like if I disappear from this blog I’m just taking and not giving. That’s a relationship that will never work.

I want to post more about the process we all go through while creating.

Would you be interested in a link up for Messes and Mess-ups?

I love seeing finished projects. I’m inspired by the huge pool of talent I see online. But sometimes I feel a little bit overwhelmed because everyone seems to be churning out beautiful, finished quilts, bags and other projects at top speed while I can barely find my cutting table for the mess stacked on top of it and I just sewed another block together upside down!

I thought if we could share about what happens before we reach the finish, including the mistakes and messy sewing spaces, we might understand that this Road of Creativity is bumpy sometimes, but we’re traveling with friends.

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What do you say? Would you join me?

Secret project update

My, oh, my! An entire month of silence from me. I was working on a secret surprise quilt project, which is now ready to be mailed off, and as soon as it reaches it’s new home, I’ll post about it. I had A LOT of help with the quilt and had so much fun putting it together. I can’t wait to show you.

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I also made an entire set of chair back pockets for my daughter’s kindergarten class, so they took a lot of sewing time, but I didn’t really have much to show because it’s 20 replicates of the same thing.

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I am currently working on my blocks for the 4×5 Modern Quilt Bee. There are some sneak peeks of those on Instagram if you’re on there.

I just got a shipping notice this week for fabric for a Moda Bakeshop project that is Thanksgiving themed. It’s supposed to arrive tomorrow, and I want to have the project finished and the tutorial written so it can post on Thanksgiving. Yikes!

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Next up: my friend Bill wants a quilt and I offered to make it for him. It’s going to be a big’un, measuring 98 inches per side. He picked a burgundy and spruce green color palette and wanted solids. I went with “almost solid” and purchased these Michael Miller Krystal prints that are on sale the The Fat Quarter shop.

Bills-quilt

After that, I will dive into FOUR mei tais, and I’m actually even considering writing a detailed tutorial on how to make them. Still contemplating that one. It would have to be several installments. They’re pretty involved.

And look, just minutes away from Wednesday, so I guess I’m just in time for WiP Wednesday!

Sewing Room Clean Up Along: AFTER

Okay, one month after I said we’d share our cleaned-up sewing space, here we are, ready to show our cleaned up sewing spaces.

Yes? Yes!

My sewing room is a little 9×10 ft room off our master bedroom. It’s probably intended as an office or nursery, but in our house, it’s a sewing room. My husband said I could have it. I’m sure it’s only because he didn’t want my fabric vomit in the main area of the house. It’s easy to hide up here!

Standing in my bedroom looking in, we see the treadle machine that a friend in Virginia gifted me on the eve of our move. I thought I would learn how to use it, but she seems to be missing the piece that connects the treadle to the machine. Wonder where I can acquire that?

Also, this Singer needs a name. Any ideas? My Bernina is Victoria, but goes by Tori, and Beatrix, the Janome mini, likes to be called Trixie. Don’t laugh. I know you name your sewing machines.

Tori is just behind, so I can sew by the window, even though it’s usually dark outside (sewing by moonlight, remember?). The closet is fabric storage. I’ll show you that in a minute.

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Moving to the right, there is my custom counter height iron surface/cutting table/scrap storage. I made it myself, and it is far from perfect, but I’m quite pleased with myself because did I mention I built it?! And hey, there’s a design wall. Something I’ve always wanted to have and I was sure to include that in the plan when I set up this room. It’s attached to the wall with masking tape, but that’s not working out. My mom just came to visit, and gave me a new idea, so I hope that will be fixed soon.

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Okay, now we are standing in the corner by the closet, looking out toward the bedroom. There’s the other side of the design wall, plus shelves with mostly bottomweight and apparel fabrics. The wooden boxes on top do have some charm packs and can you count the four lint rollers? The black and white fabric next to the sewing machine will be those 26 chair pockets I’m making for my daughter’s kindergarten teacher.

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The final corner of the room is my favorite. Minis on the wall, and that old ladder I found in our garage when we moved in. I used some aqua spray paint and now it’s quilt storage. Plus, there’s a shelf of special things and that rainbow thread. Love!

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Some other tidbits: beside the sewing machine is a basket to toss scraps before I sort them as well as the trash bin. And Sally the dress form holds a couple tape measures.

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Here’s that cutting/ironing/storage piece. Works great for me since I’m tall-ish, but it would likely be too tall for someone a little more vertically challenged than me.

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I want to mention the fabric I used to cover the top. It’s twill, hand-dyed by me, using a low water immersion technique. I had intended it for another project, but that was a couple years ago, and I never got to it, so it has been repurposed here.

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Add a cutting mat (I finally bought myself a big one) and it becomes a cutting table!

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Here, I’ll even let you see inside the closet. On top there is some batting, and box of patterns. Quilting cottons are in the white baskets. Below that, flannel, minky, silky fabrics, knits, and other miscellaneous fabric. The bottom has two plastic dressers that store other craft supplies (paint, paper crafts, beading).

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And that’s it. I wonder how long I will be able to keep this space tidy … I put the over/under at 3 weeks.

And now: I want to see your space. Even if you didn’t link up your mess in the Sewing Room Clean Up Along: BEFORE post, please feel free to show us around. I want to see where you sew and craft! You cleaned it 6 weeks ago when I first mentioned this but I waited too long and it’s a disaster again? No worries, I’ll leave the link up open for 2 weeks. So go, tidy up, then come on back and show me your space!

P.S. I set up the link tool to close in two weeks and realized that's my birthday!

Lonely #sewingroomcleanup

Have you been cleaning your sewing space this weekend? Did you link up your mess before picture in this blog post? You didn’t? Okay, I’ll wait while you go take a picture of your sewing space right now and put it out there with the promise to clean it up over the next 10 days. Don’t hide that “creative explosion”, show it off, but also, clean it up. I promise you will be more inspired and efficient in your newly (re-)tidied space. September 3rd, we’ll reveal our “after” spaces.

Meanwhile, I’ve been posting a few photos of my disastrous sewing space on Instagram with the hashtag #sewingroomcleanup.

So far, it’s just me. Which is fine, actually, because I really do want to have a usable sewing space again. But cleaning is so much more tolerable when you’re not doing it alone. Misery loves company? So, don’t leave me hanging, show me what you’re cleaning up over there!

Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday

I am so happy to have this finish this week.

But I can’t show it to you. Sorry. I know, so disappointing. I’m such a tease.

It’s my first project tutorial for Moda Bakeshop, so I have to wait until it posts there before I can really share. However, I will show this cute baby with a sneaky peek of the quilt.

Baby on a quilt

I’ll let you know when the tutorial is available so you can see the whole thing.

As for other finishes, there haven’t been any of those. My sewing room currently looks like this:

Sewing room clean up before

Actually, I now have more than one shelf in the closest! My aspirations to have this space set up and ready to use were more ambitious than I anticipated. Turns out, it’s extra tough to move into a house and unpack while simultaneously going about the day-to-day task that come with living in a space!

I hope to have more projects up and going soon. Meanwhile, I’m going to spend the next couple weeks getting this room in order bit by bit and I want you to clean up your space along with me. It’s a Sewing Room Clean-up Along! If today isn’t enough and you want more linky fun (you know you do), hop over to the Sewing Room Clean-Up Along post and show me your messy space. In two weeks, we’ll share our nice, neat space!

Hope you have a space to get some sewing done! What have you finished this week?

Sewing Room Cleanup Along: BEFORE

aka: get it under control
aka: I really need to sew

Last week, we got to tour a whole lot of sewing spaces through the Studio Spotlight series at Ellison Lane. I just love that. So much fun to see where others sew, to drool over those who are blessed with a huge designated crafting space, to be inspired by those who make a small space work. You could link up your own space. I didn’t. I’m about to show you why (insert suspenseful music here: dum-dum-DUUUUM).

Our new house has a little sitting room just off the master bedroom. It could be used as a nursery or an office, but my husband gave me free reign to use this as a sewing room. Don’t think he’s too benevolent, he just didn’t want my fabric vomit in the main area of the house!

It’s a little room, about 9 x 10 feet, but when it’s functional, that’s 90 square feet that all mine! Right now, though, it’s definitely NOT functional.

This is the back of the room, looking in from the master bedroom. Look! There’s a closet with just one shelf. Isn’t that useful. And a pile of envelopes for the “Secret Project” I’m working on. I’m still waiting for a few more of those envelopes, and I need to get this space in shape so I can bust out that project.

Sewing room clean up before

The other corner in the back of the room is below. The stack of white baskets is where my fabric is usually located, but it’s currently hiding inside cardboard boxes. I’m looking forward to being reunited.

Sewing room clean up before

Okay, now we’re standing with our backs against the back wall, looking out into the master bedroom. Somebody left a sleeping baby on my bed. There’s my cutting table, on its side. That’s useful.

Sewing room clean up before

And the final corner of the room. I took the door off because they opened into the room against the wall, and with this little room, I figured I could use all the wall space I had. That ironing board really needs a new cover. There’s a stack of mdf shelves, which will go into the one shelf closet you saw in the first photo.

Sewing room clean up before

So there you have it. There’s a lot of work to do in here. How’s your space looking? Come on, be honest. Go right now and take some photos. I want to see those stacks of fabric that you pulled and never used, your cutting table that is more WiP storage than cutting area, the pens and pins scattered across your sewing table, and the things on the floor that really shouldn’t be on the floor!

Seriously, this is The Before. We are going to get our spaces in order together and then we can brag about great they are after. Not to mention, it’s so refreshing to be creative in a space that’s been cleaned up.

We’ll check in next week and in two weeks, we’ll post our “after” photos. It will be our own little sewing studio tour for those of us whose spaces weren’t in any shape to show off this week! If you’re on Instagram, post progress pics with hashtag #sewingroomcleanup.

Are you with me?

Last week for the Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop

Put a whole bunch of bloggers that haven’t been doing this for very long together and you have a great group of people who are excited to be sharing their quilty and sewing pursuits. If you didn’t know this was going on, this is the very last week for the Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop hosted at Plum and June. And Friday, the very last day, Sewing by Moonlight is one of the stops.

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I’d love to be interesting and charming and relevant for my hop stop, but the most I can offer is honest. Being in the midst of a move with a temporary little sewing space in a temporary living arrange and currently “on vacation” (at my parents’ house) from the temporary space, and the fact that we also close on our house on Friday means I’ve got a few other things on my mind this week. Check out the line-up for Friday:

July 26

RobinSue @ RobinSue Quilts
Elisa Lea @ Lovelea Designs
Elizabeth @ In The Boon Docks
And for a whole slew of other new bloggers who want to be part of this great online community, check out the earlier line up at Plum and June.

My temporary sewing space

As I have mentioned, we are between homes right now. We’ve moved out of our home in Virginia and are currently living with my in-laws in Missouri. We do have a contract on a home here, but while we are waiting to close and then move in and get settled, I have a little temporary sewing space along one wall in my mother-in-law’s living room.

Let me show you around: Temporary sewing space

Okay, that was it. That was the extent of the tour!

How about from another angle: Temporary sewing space

The smaller dresser in the above photo is the one with the top I made into an ironing surface. When I’m not using it to iron, my 12 x 24 inch cutting mat goes up there and it’s the cutting table.

Box o’ notions: did I miss anything?Temporary sewing space

Inside the dresser are the few WiPs and fabric I brought with me to work on until I have all my fabric and projects back in my immediate possession.

Temporary sewing space

After we move, and as I’m setting up my new sewing space, I thought it might be fun to have another Sewing Space Clean-Up Along. Do you need to clean up your sewing space? Would you link up before and after?

Thank Goodness THIS is Finished!

In honor of Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday and Finish It Up Friday, I am not going to share a sewing finish. Because I don’t have one. Because my sewing room looks like this:

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That’s right friends, my big girls watched as our second 16-foot moving container was dropped in our yard and we filled it up (seriously, how do we have so much stuff?!).

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Along with a little U-Haul because we have no idea how long it will be until we find a house and are able to close on it and move in. We hope not too long, so think happy house-hunting thought for us! By the time you read this, we will be well on our way to St. Louis. We will crash with my in-laws until we have our space, and while I welcome their hospitality, I don’t want to overstay our welcome. We are a lot to take in with our nine bodies (if you count the furry family members!).

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I hope to be back to sewing soon and have something to show you. Of course, my sewing machine is in the little trailer we are pulling along with us!