Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Baby Milestone

Baby Field Notes sat for the first time on her own on December 27 while at her grandma's house. It was pretty neat and totally unexpected. She still falls over right away most of the time, but it's a start!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Imperfect, but Finished Quilt

Finally! Here are some pictures of the quilt I recently made, the one that was a giant pain in the but to top-stitch.

Two things made this harder than it needed to be for a beginner: minky backing (plush fabric is difficult to quilt) and extra-thick batting. Yes, I learned a lot from making this one! The back may be hilly, but it's soft and WARM.

I couldn't get a better photo of the scrunched back portions, or the screwy stitches, but you can get a sense of it from this.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

1,000 quilts later...

Quilting is quite the challenge. I am approaching my wit's end for the one I have been working on, but I am almost done with it, and yes, I am looking forward to the next one. I think I have finally found something I am not naturally gifted at. I mean, usually when I try something, it turns out really well. But not this. I feel like a compete failure at it. I suppose that is one reason I am looking forward to the next one — I want to succeed at this.

This afternoon I ripped up seams three times before I threw in the towel and considered the last try 'good enough.' The top stitching is what is really a giant pain. I have figured out how to do it, in general, but this time I am using this cloth called 'minky' cloth for the back. It's very soft and very fuzzy and I just cannot get it to move well. Top stitching requires being able to move the cloth around fluidly underneath the needle in a free motion sort of way. This minky stuff feels nice but it is a royal pain to move it along.

My quilt backing is bunchy and looks bad. Mr. Field Notes tried to give me pep talk about it when I pointed out the flaws, but it didn't really work. I just can't look at the bunches and see them as neat little hills.

Right now I am just making quilts for us, but eventually I would like to be able to make quilts that are good enough to give as gifts, or even to sell. I want them to be that high of quality. I have a long way to go. My seams don't line up, the backing isn't smooth and so on.

I am in awe of the woman who writes http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/
She's got some mad skills — definitely PhD-level free motion quilting genius. She posts videos of her free motion quilting. I am going to have to study her technique.

Fortunately today I realized that when I first started making handmade paper, I was terrible at it. Now of course, I am really good at it and people even pay me to make them paper for their special occasions. Ten years ago I would not have thought so. My first attempts at making paper were awful. The sheets were unevenly thick and some had holes or super thin spots. If you held them up to a light, you could see the lumps. And they were roughly textured, not the smooth sheets I make now. I have no idea how many sheets of paper I've made, but I'd guess that it is in the thousands.

I really hope I do not have to make 1,000 quilts before I get good at making them.