Monday, February 27, 2012


People.  I have reached a major milestone in the quilting project.  Sadly, I was reminded that I started this project 3.5 years ago.  BUT, I can proudly say that I finished the quilt top.  All it took was:

  • a sewing "extravaganza" (a 6-hour block of time last Saturday) organized by the craftiest person on earth, Morgan Wilson
  • complimentary grilled cheese, salad, and Diet Coke
  • someone else to figure out that my manual knob wasn't working because I had the bobbin loader clicked on (yes, this wasted about 30 minutes in troubleshooting)
  • a lesson in seam ripping :(
Here is the evidence of this heroic result.  

What I looked like...
...what I felt like

Wow, this quilt is doing good things for me.  Seriously though, I really needed a sense of accomplishment.  It was a fun day.  

Kappa Alpha Theta takes the lead with the most t-shirts represented:  10
Favorite shirts:  Theta fish, Bethany Surf Shop, and Theta/Sigma Chi "Top Gun" shirt (mostly because it says "Take me to bed... or lose me forever" and I wore that in public, on a regular basis)
Weirdest shirt:  "Juniaology: The Study of Junia"  Apparently I am a complex person (thanks ST)

Next steps:  
  • Making the quilt sandwich.  This means using hundreds of safety pins to affix the top to the batting and the backing fabric.  I can't wait.
  • Stitching in the ditch.  This means sewing the whole thing together by sewing directly on top of the seams between each square.  Again, can't wait.

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's a... SINGER!

I'm starting this blog primarily to document my attempt at creating a t-shirt quilt, but because I hope that project ends one day and the blog carries on, we'll just see what happens.  Two background notes--

  1. I started this quilt like four years ago with my friend Morgan.  That tells you a little bit about my ability to self motivate.  What I did four years ago was select the 20 t-shirts I wanted to use for the quilt, iron on some fusing (?) and cut the squares (really, rectangles, but who's keeping track) in a maddeningly precise fashion.  They are 16 x 14 inches each.  That hopeful stack of squares has been shoved in the back of my closet ever since.
  2. A sewing machine is not something I would buy for myself.  My mom called  the week before Christmas and asked her annual question:  "So, what do you want?"  Before I could really think about it, the words "a sewing machine" tumbled out of my mouth.  Partially because I didn't think "a BMW 328i" would go over too well, but mostly because I thought my mother could really get behind this gift.  So, here I am.

The sewing machine is a Singer Simple 3116 (Martha Stewart I am not).  My preferred method of familiarizing myself with the machine was to watch the enclosed DVD - trying to ignore the same very creative, 1990s images that commenced each online chapter.  True to its moniker, it seemed quite "simple."

Because shopping makes everything better, the part I was most looking forward to was the trip to G Street Fabrics to select my backing fabric, batting, thread, and other things I could find to invest in for my new hobby.  Let's put it this way... some pink resulted:

Shopping was fun, but not knowing what I'm doing resulted in NotSewSimple Rule #1:  Despite being lured in by hot pink thread, you must actually purchase a spool that fits on your machine.  (This also translates to: What looks good on the mannequin does not always look good on you.)  Oops.  Now because a return trip to G Street wasn't happening, I am making this thing work; however, I think it was actually intended for the Singer "Difficult" model 5000.

You may have noticed the very fun fabric I purchased: Polka Party Petite by Lakehouse.  I only hope I am as excited by this 100% cotton fabulous-ness at the end of this process.  The saleslady told me it was a very "pleasing" pattern.  (Translation:  I hope YOU really like it, because I don't.)

I'm not going to bore you with the step-by-step to getting the sewing machine threaded up - not very exciting. But I had a few extra squares to practice on, so I got right to work... regular stitching, reverse stitching, and... that's about it.  In the end, I emerged "simply" victorious with my first patchwork of practice squares.

Not so bad... until I let you in on NotSewSimple Rule #2: What looks pretty on the surface most likely looks like shit underneath.  (This also translates to:  I know what's under that 5 lbs. of make-up you are wearing.)

It seems I must do a little research into seams... do you iron them flat and apart from each other, do you iron them all to one side, or do you just say screw it and let them look like they do in the picture above?  At least there is pink thread to make it all seem better.

Anyways, Day 1 practice shesh is complete.  Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow, and not four years from now.