Friday, June 19, 2015

Make All Sewing Selfish! and a Giveaway

Here’s the truth about my life and the sewing hobby I try to fit into it: I never have enough time. I spend most of my days parenting two little boys and trying to prevent my house from falling into shambles. Sewing is my sanity, and for it to serve as such, each project I start must have something in it for me, as the creator.

At times, that something is practical—like, I want to use up some long-overlooked fabric in my stash. At others, that something is a personal challenge—like, I want to prove to myself that I can paper-piece a quilt top or sew a Y-seam. More often than not, however, the something I’m looking for in a project is simply a forum for my own artistic expression.

So when my mother-in-law hinted that she wanted a quilt, I went about the planning it in my own way. In other words, I asked for no input. Really! Nothing—no color preferences, fabric suggestions, or pictures of quilts that she likes. Now, granted, I’ve known my MIL for almost twenty years. I know she likes décor items with an Asian feel. She decorates with pineapples, palm trees, and burgundy and gold. I have a much better idea of her taste than I do for many other people. But I first had to consider what I’d like to make, what I thought would be fun. This is the result of that process ...


When I started this project back in December, I wasn’t sure how I would quilt it. (For more information on the pattern, see that original post here.) I ended up stitching in the ditch along the sashing, and then I bound the quilt, knowing that I wouldn’t be doing any more edge-to-edge quilting. By then my time had run out. I needed to finish this quilt for Le Challenge’s “single” theme, and my MIL was due to arrive in a few days for a visit. I had researched free-motion quilting. I had practiced it. I had talked to anyone who cared to listen about it. The time had come to actually do it on a real quilt.


I decided to do a few swirls on each blossom. The upside? I was doing the exact same thing thirty-two times. I got better at it with each blossom. The downside? I had to bury scads of threads.

I strove for a symmetrical-ish look and smooth curves. I did rip out—ahem—some lumpy parts (stopping and starting again in particular proved to be difficult), but most of my attempts were successful. I found it helpful to mark some guidelines in regular school chalk (doing so took some of the thinking out the quilting equation!). It’s a humble start, but it’s a triumph in the battle of Michelle versus FMQ!


Where do you stand on these issues? What feeds you, as the creator, in a given sewing or quilting project? How much say do recipients get in your creative process? And do you have any advice for a newbie FMQer? I’d like to try either a Supreme Slider or a Quilt Halo to help my projects glide under my darning foot. If you have an opinion on either of those products, I’m all ears!

Giveaway

Update: The giveaway is closed. The winner of the PDF pattern is none other than #33 Miss Audrey, of Hot Pink Quilts!

Today is the last day of school, which I fear may mean the end of my productive streak at my sewing machine. But I’m choosing to find the silver lining and celebrate with a giveaway!

Cheryl Brickey, the prolific pattern designer behind Meadow Mist Designs, is releasing a new pattern today! For a chance to win her Grande Scrappy Tiles in PDF form, simply leave a comment on this post. You can answer one of the questions I listed above or offer some advice on how I can squeeze sewing time in between play dates and trips to the park and afternoons at the pool. : )


This giveaway is open through Friday, June 26. If you need a copy right now, you can find this pattern, as well as others from Meadow Mist Designs, on Etsy, Craftsy, and Payhip. Grande Scrappy Tiles is available now through July 4 at the special price of $6.

Cheryl is one talented lady! (One of my favorite patterns is her Candy Circle quilt.) I highly recommend a visit to her site.

Good luck and happy summer!

Linking up to TGIFF, Finish It Up Friday, and Sew Cute Tuesday ...

Follow on Bloglovin

37 comments:

  1. I agree about making quilts for other people - it is nerve racking wondering whether they will like it, especially if they have commissioned it. In my dreams I would like to make quilts that I love and then put them up for sale, rather than have people contact me with their set ideas! Great work on the FMQ too :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sometimes our eight-year-old son is way to tired to stay up later when we have swim/sun dates. I squeeze in extra sewing while he goes to be early (by choice)! Just the excitement of him going to bed early keeps me alert! Thanks for the chance to win. Happy summer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Usually color and texture feeds my creative soul. I usually only make quilts for others that will love them because I make them. I do ask about fav colors (which I am usually aware of anyway!) Do make smaller projects "just to sell".

    ReplyDelete
  4. My tip for FMQ, as someone who watched a lot of Leah Day's 360 days of FMQ videos then just dived in and tried it on a charity quilt, is to PRACTICE. Smaller quilts will be easier since they are not as heavy and are less prone to get caught in places. You can still do large ones, but you must focus on a small area at a time and, with needle down, adjust the quilt for the next small area. I probably need to try to mark a bit and see if that's a help or a hinder; I'm very much a go-with-it and make-it-work kind of quilter. As for design, I usually do what I want, but recently I began a t-shirt quilt for a coworker. Fortunately, she gave me complete creative license and the palette of the t-shirts (and the fact that it's for her son) helped me with the tone of the fabrics. It has been nerve-wracking at times, which I'm NOT used to, but you have to start somewhere or nothing will ever get done!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You MIL is going to love this! I've been trying to FMQ off and on for far too long! My tip, practice, practice, practice! Depending on the project, I try and get some input. Usually on color, not so much design.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I always use my slider when I'm free motion quilting - makes moving the quilt much easier. I also have the Quilt Halo, which I use occasionally, but I bought 2 and stack them. Found that it works better that way. Your mother-in-law will love the quilt. Thanks for sharing & thanks for the chance to win.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'd love this pattern!

    If you're having trouble getting the bulkier parts of your quilt under the darning foot (e.g., where lots of points come together), I'm not sure something like a supreme slider would help. I think what you need is for the darning foot to be higher. (I've thought about this a good bit, as I have the same problem.) Lately, I'm just planning my quilting designs to avoid these sections. Another option I've heard, but haven't tried, is that Leah Day has some advice on how to alter your standard darning foot to make it work better for FMQ
    secretcityranch at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for soliciting advice on those products, I wonder about them too!

    I hope I win the giveaway, I love Cheryl's patterns!

    chelsea (dot) m (dot) west (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  9. when i start a project for someone else i stay away from colors they don't like but every thing else is me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My kiddos are already out of school for the summer. I've been sneaking in sewing time in the afternoons while they are playing but mine are 14 and 7. If you have smaller ones ,you could sew while they are napping,or after bed time. If all else fails start a hexie quilt. They are fun and easy. You'd be surprised at how much you can get done in spare moments.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A small hand sewing project is always good to have with you when you are watching the kids playing outside. Otherwise, squeeze in 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, and a longer stretch when they have gone to bed.
    Thanks for the giveaway of a great looking pattern!

    ReplyDelete
  12. The quilt is beautiful. My children have grown up with me quilting. Even a few minutes here and there will get something done.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love my Supreme Slider for FMQ. It really does help the quilt move around better.

    ReplyDelete
  14. If you find the secret to inventing more time, please let me know! The closest I have come to it is English Paper Piecing.

    rtgandy at gmail

    ReplyDelete
  15. I seem to go through phases with my sewing. Right now I'm in a selfish sewing phase rather than a sew for others phase. When I do sew for others it's always a struggle to balance my own creative satisfaction with a finished product I know the recipient will like. I think your MIL will love this!
    Thanks for the chance to win that great pattern!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I use the Supreme Slider and I love it! Makes everything move under the needle so nicely. Just remember to drop the feed dogs; I forgot to do it once and it sort of wrinkled the slider just under the foot. It did not effect how it works, it just doesn't look as pretty!

    My quilt gifts are always a surprise, so they get no input at all!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Michelle this quilt is so lovely! I really like that block and it fits perfectly with how you described your MIL's decor style. I was asked to do a wall hanging for the cottage my mother and aunt just inherited and they approached me with a specific colour scheme and since then my mom has tagged me in posts online of design ideas but that's not usually how I design a project so I'm feeling a bit stuck on the project. I'm going to spend at least 30 minutes this weekend staring at the spot on the wall i the cottage where it will hang and see what comes to me. Is it weird that staring at a blank wall is more likely to make me creative than a predefined pattern/color combination?

    ReplyDelete
  18. My family is all grown up but when they were small I always kept some hand sewing in the car for when I was waiting to collect them from school/sports etc!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Both of those tools sound like they would be interesting to try. I invested in a sewing table this year that has drop leaf on the back. The machine bed sits flush with the table top and I put the drop leaf up when I am quilting something bigger than 20x20". It has helped tremendously. As an alternative to that, set up a table behind your machine for the quilt to move onto. If you have a lower table to set your machine on so the bed of it is even with the back table, then it will slide on by. I usually got to sew in the evening after the kids were in bed. Or schedule trades with a friend's mom so that you can have an afternoon to yourself and she will get one in return. Good luck. rmgsummers@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love your quilt but i really like a scrappy one lol... probably because i have a lot of scraps...happyness04431@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Occasionally I will ask the recipient for preferences, but often I make a quilt and someone comes along that seems to belong to that quilted project!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow, it's been a long time since my boys were little. My "baby" turns 35 this year. But I think your best bet may be exchanging time with a friend. That way you should be able to grab a little time for yourself. susan4cats@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I can't answer your questions because in spite of trying myFMQ skill is nonexistent. I always have some form of issue. I would love to be considered for the giveaway though. Pennyguglie@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Congrats on your FMQ project! It looks great! I go back and forth with getting input from recipients. When I don't ask, I panic a little about whether or not they'll like it. When I ask for input, I find that things get complicated and overwhelming quickly--especially when the recipient has no idea about what quilting actually is. So my favorite projects are quilts I donate. I just do whatever I like or think someone else will like--stress free. I haven't used either of those tools. I just make sure my quilt is well supported to the back of my machine and to my left. I'm afraid that I'd be a klutz with a supreme slider, and that I'd quilt through it. I'll leave suggestions about quilting with kids around to others. I have to balance quilting time with activities with a retired husband, and that's really not the same--just a little give and take. (Usually I quilt while he watches sports on TV and since we're in the same room, we can chat.) Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am not fond of making for other people except as gifts. People can be very cranky. Love the pattern.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I don't ask what patterns they like because ordinarily they don't have a clue and can't imagine a quilt pattern with any other fabrics used. I consider their favourite colours and interests, then agonize about every decision, but at least i have done the best I can with the information available. I try to avoid making quilts for people who show no interest whatsoever in quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This looks gorgeous, Michelle! I love the loops that you chose to do on each blossom. The quilting makes a lovely addition to the front and looks just as pretty from the back! I'd say, much like the battle of you vs. zippers, you rocked this challenge! Congrats on a lovely and fulfilling finish!

    ReplyDelete
  28. For more sewing time--sign them up for a day camp; let them watch a movie on tv (child appropriate); pay them to babysit themselves; give yourself an hour to sew and have them play by themselves (give some direction); save hand-sewing for the park. Make something for them and let them know it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I allow very little say of others in my creative process. I did not do this when I made clothing and I do not do it when making quilts. I do however take into consider color preferences but the designing is all of my creative mind.

    FMQ - keep practicing. There are plenty of online videos to assist you or classes to take or books to use. But in the end, practice will make you better. Try Leah Day's site for FMQ videos, tutorials and inspiration.

    tushaythreeatyahoodotcom

    ReplyDelete
  30. I use the supreme slider when I quilt - I think it definitely helps for larger projects but you still need to make sure that you have a LOT of support for the weight of any larger projects. I end up adding tables and use my ironing board as well. For me, when doing more curved FMQing, I found that my darning foot (the one that does NOT hop) gives me smoother curves than when I use my open toe (hopper) foot. Of course, it's harder to see where you're going with the closed toe, but for some reason that's what works for me.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I love the finished quilt. The loops are great at highlighting the pattern without overwhelming it.

    ReplyDelete
  32. What a Beautiful quilt!! Your MIL is going to be soooo delighted!!!

    Thanks for chance to win this patter Give-a-way too! Love it! :)

    I am watching our new Granbaby since mommy went back to work...he is almost 3 months now...grrrreat sweet lil guy..but has Colic.... lots of needed snuggle & rocking time (I am a spoiled Gma tho! lol) I sew every chance I get a "Moment"...or after Mommy or daddy pick him up in the evenings. Maybe Handstitching projects would be good, for pool days, or at Park? DO take time for YOU...is needed...& Enjoy the Summer w/your Kiddo's :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. You are a rockstar. That's all I have to say. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. If I am making anything for someone generally it's as a gift and as such, a total surprise. This way I can do what I want. I am very careful however in making something with their favorite colors, or a topic they love such as sports, music, or something else. If they don't know something is coming, then they are usually so surprised and thankful that I thought of them that they don't have a chance to comment badly about it or have 'that look' which we've probably all seen at one time or another that just screams "oh this is nice even if I don't like it" LOL

    Finding time? I am lucky in that my children are older and all out of the home now so I don't have the problem you do right now. Do your kids sit at some point in the day inside the home to play with their own toys or something? Can you move your machine temporarily to the area in which they are playing if they need to be supervised so you can also sew while keeping an eye on them? Good luck. I know the frustration when you want to sew and just can't for whatever reason.

    ReplyDelete
  35. When my children were small, I would do my sewing while they were napping or allow myself a certain block of time in the evening after they were in bed. Everyone needs some "chill" time and that was mine!

    ReplyDelete
  36. What feeds me as a creator is following quilting blogs that have tutorials and hints to improve my skills.
    nikilsend(at)outlook(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  37. I think that is fun part of creating quilts for other people, making it something that looks like you made it for them. Some of the creators aesthetic and personality should show through. I have only made one quilt where I had no input on colors or pattern and it was miserable. Lesson learned. You are right the creator must be able to "selfishly" take some liberties to make the project engaging and exciting.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! I almost always respond to comments by email. If my response might interest others, I'll also post it here. If you've commented on my blog and never received a response, you're likely a no-reply blogger.