CGM Podcast Episode #63: Letting Go, Q & A

Listen to the episode here

Show Notes 

Life Update:
  • Allergies and head colds
  • Spring Decluttering: letting go of all the stuff
    • craft supplies
    • fabric
    • yarn
    • oh my!
  • Single sock syndrome: the problems I have with my first knitted sock...and how I might fix it when I knit the second.
  • Wavy Baktus (see previous post for pic and pattern) 
Q & A:
  • What I Wear: capsule wardrobe
  • For some capsule wardrobe ideas and to get started, try these blogs: Wardrobe Oxygen, XOJane, Project 333
  • What We Eat: Menu Planning
Classic Movie:

Easter Parade with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland

Book Review: 

 The Martian by Andy Weir

Thanks for listening!



WIP Wednesday: Sidetracked As Usual

So the first sock I knit turned out way too big on the top of my foot. Either my gauge changes as I knit, or I completely flubbed the math, but I'm going to have to decrease the number of stitches by about 6-8 to have it fit more snugly.

While I plan to pick up and knit the second sock soon (I'm not re-knitting the first sock, just calling it a "learning curve project"), I've been knitting everyday on this scarf:

Pattern: Wavy Baktus by Frollein Rosenresli

I'm using the skein of Zauberball I purchased in Lancaster during the quilt retreat. It's a dream to knit with, and now I know why it's in such high demand! My favorite part of using this particular yarn is anticipating the color changes and gradation as they appear in the knitted fabric. 

In other news, check here very soon for the 2 Outlander patterns I've submitted to Fandom! I'm so excited about this, even if it is a "fly by the seat of my pants/I'm just a big Outlander fan who happens to quilt" kind of project. Daisy is also working on some patterns, and I have several more in finishing/testing stages now. Thank you for your interest and patience as we pull this together around all the other projects I optimistically work on.



CGM Podcast Episode #62: Spring and Retreat

Listen to the episode here

Show Notes 

Life Update:
  • Spring is here...right?
  • Mid-Atlantic Modern Quilt Guild Retreat in Lancaster, PA
    • Zook's (fabric store) 3535 Old Philadelphia Pike (Rte 340) Intercourse, PA 17534
    • Lancaster Yarn Shop 3519 Old Philadelphia Pike (Rte 340) Intercourse, PA 17534
      • Baktus scarf (free pattern on Ravelry). I purchased 2 balls of Zauberball yarn to make 2 of these scarves. One in a wavy version, the other in a stripey rainbow version.
  • Forgot to mention this in my 3rd attempt at recording: there is a play called Half-Stitched: The Musical being performed through 11/29/14 at the Bird-in-Hand Theatre. It has received great reviews, I overheard several quilter's/tourists chatting about it while shopping in town. Sounds like fun!
From the website:
“Half-Stitched,” the  Musical
April 1-November 29, 2014
Meet the Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club as their lives unfold around an Amish quilt.  There’s a young woman yearning for stability, a couple at odds in their marriage, a young widower seeking solace, a rough-and-tough biker doing community service, a preacher’s wife escaping parish problems—and an Amish widow teaching her first quilting class.
The “Half-Stitched” musical is a delightful new journey of self-discovery, healing and renewed wholeness, pulled from Wanda Brunstetter’s latest New York Times bestseller.  Your group will find plenty to laugh at as these unlikely, beginning quilters are stitched together like scraps of fabric under the loving guidance of Emma Yoder.  And the music?  Oh, the music!
  • Sew Together Bag (see previous blog post)
  • Noodlehead Super Tote
    • Purchased the pattern here.

  • Collage art quilt of Billie Holliday
  • Low volume scrap quilt
  • Socks
    • I used this video tutorial to cast on and knit my first pair of toe-up socks using the Magic Loop Method.
Classic Movie:

Father Goose with Cary Grant and Leslie Caron

Book Review:

 The Chase by Janet Evanovich (read The Heist first!)

What I'm Watching:
Who I'm Following:

What I'm Listening To:

Thanks for listening!



F.O: Sew Together Bag

I had a marvelous time at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Retreat last weekend. I met so many people, and had a great time seeing all of the wonderful quilts and other sewing projects people are working on. I saw several finished Sew Together bags too, and consequently got a little help while making mine. The pattern is pretty straightforward, you can pretty much use fat quarters and/or scraps to make the outside. If you've already made a zipper pouch or small carry-all or makeup bag before, this is a great pattern to make for a very useful bag to hold anything from basic sewing supplies, circular knitting needles, or makeup brushes. However, putting together the "innards" of the bag with 3 separate zipper pockets, can be a little tricky. 

My only critique of the pattern would be that it could use 1-2 more pictures of the zipper/inner pocket assembly. If you aren't at all familiar with bag construction, or have trouble visualizing how a pattern should come together when sewing without some visual aide, it can be difficult to do it with this particular pattern. I made the mistake of starting this part at midnight, and was lucky to have several more experienced (and alert!) sewers on hand at the retreat to help me make sense of what I was reading. I didn't want to have to sew in 3 zippers more than one time each! The end result is well worth it though, I LOVE this bag, and am already doing a little re-measuring to make a slightly larger one to make using laminated cotton, for when I travel or as a makeup bag.

The side panels were also a little tricky to put on, but this wasn't due to the pattern instructions. Since I quilted the outer panel, using the QAYG method (quilt-as-you-go), the edges became rather thick - that's 5 layers of fabric to sew through in a very small space. Then at the end, when it comes time to add the binding around the whole bag, it got even tighter. I ended up having to skip over the thickest section, and tacking it down by hand to make sure it was secure. I also sewed the side handles on by hand, which others at the retreat who'd made the bag, said they had to do as well.

All-in-all this is a great bag to make, especially if you want some "extra" practice putting in sippers (there are 4), or zippers may not be your favorite thing to sew, but you like having them in your finished bags! This pattern definitely falls under the "the first one is tough to make, but all the rest will be a piece of cake" category for me. There are so many of these bags popping up on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and other blog posts, just Google the pattern name and you'll see a lot in hundreds of fabric combinations. It's a great pattern, and so useful beyond just holding sewing supplies. I highly recommend putting it on your "to make" list.

I'll be recording a podcast episode this week, and will talk more about the retreat, and Lancaster PA where it was held. Suffice it to say, I had a ball, and already (mentally) signed up for next year! (sign-ups for a retreat next year are not open yet. I think the amazing organizers, Jessica Levitt, Andrew J, and Katie are still recovering)



What We're Reading This Month


The Liar's Club by Mary Karr

Bound by Lorelei James

Apart at the Seams by Marie Bostwick

The Martian by Andy Weir

Samantha (age 7):
 A to Z Mysteries: The Canary Caper by Ron Roy
(This is a great series for kids to gain confidence reading chapter books. 
They have a good mix of sight words they'd recognize, as well as 
words they will need to sound out.)

by Judy Blume

Maddy (age 3):
Frozen: A Day in the Sun from Disney Books
(We're "all about" the movie Frozen around here..the music, movie, and the books!)

(This is a fabulous book for kids of all ages. The prose lets kids know it's 
OK not to like all kinds of books, and embrace their own tastes as they try different books.)

What are you reading this month?



Tomorrow I leave for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Retreat and I am so excited to have 3 days and 2 nights of sewing time with others. It's been awhile since I've been on a quilting or sewing retreat, but thankfully I still have a copy of my checklist handy in my computer files.The retreat is in Lancaster, PA so I will be driving (hitting Starbucks first!) up in the morning.

I'm a list-maker by nature, and try to be as organized as possible when staying anywhere overnight. For those of you who go on several retreats a year (lucky witches!) you've probably got some kind of list or things you automatically get ready prior to leaving. Others who may be going on their first retreat or, like me, it's been awhile and your list is a little dusty and needs updating to fit your current projects and equipment, here are some of my tips and at the bottom I've shared the list I use to get ready:

  • Read and then re-read any emails, directions, workshop supply lists, and other communications you've received leading up to the retreat. There are often small details pointed out in this communication that you skimmed over when they were initially sent out, especially if it was several months ago.
  • If you're attending the retreat alone, try and sign up for at least 1 activity like a shop hop, progressive quilt, stash swap, etc... where you're more likely to meet people and have some fun. Heck, I think you should do this even if you're attending with your regular retreat "crew" - meet some new folks and expand your circle!
  • Unless there is a planned "fancy" event or dinner, pack light and comfortably. Dress in layers, retreat rooms are notoriously "climate-challenged."
  • Pack as many projects as you want, but keep in mind that you probably won't get nearly as much done as you'd like to. It's just the way it is. Better to keep 1 "must work on" project in mind, make sure you have all the supplies you'll need for that project. 
  • I have this on my checklist, but I can't stress enough how important it is to bring your medications AND headache/stomachache medicine. Yes, others may have some Tylenol or Pepto when you get there, but it's so much better to just have the stuff you like to use and know will knock out one of those unexpected but "down-for-the-count" headaches or stomachaches you get when in a new environment, eating not the healthiest of foods, lots of noise from sewing machines running for hours, loud-talkers, shouters, ups-and-downs to the ironing board, etc... even having lots of fun with a great group of people can cause some stress on your body and senses after awhile! 
  • Leave the guilt at home. This tip is mainly for the moms...you know what I'm talking about: "oh, I'm missing son's baseball game, I feel bad" or "it's going to rain all weekend, so the kids are stuck inside, I feel bad" or "hubby will have so much to handle with the house and kids by himself for 2-3 days...I feel bad" I could go on and on with reasons you shouldn't "feel bad" about taking some time for yourself to do something you love, but do I really need to? I think you already know this, so consider my "tip" the period on the end of that mental paragraph.
  • Supplies-wise, don't stress about forgetting anything EXCEPT the power cord and foot pedal to your sewing machine. Seriously, just about everything else you'll need can be replaced or borrowed in a pinch. But those 2 items, along with your actual machine, MUST be the first to go in the bag. I can't demonstrate enough how bummed you'll be if you can't actually sew at a sewing retreat....yep, been there, done that, and it was a long round-trip home and back again. Yeeesh!
I'm off to finish packing and going over my checklist. You can download a copy of it HERE

And of course, the most important tip of all: have fun! I know I plan to...my mind is already there.



WIP Wednesday: Jazz and Socks

I've started several new projects in the past month, and I'm also prepping for my upcoming quilting retreat. It's been a long time since I did fabric collage on a large scale, but I've been wanting to start a new series of quilts featuring jazz legends. 

My Dad is a fan of jazz, and along with the constant stream of Motown and salsa music my mother had going, I grew up listening to my Dad's Coltrane, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington records. Oh, record covers....I fondly remember laying on my stomach on Dad's office floor, feet in the air, tracing the artistic designs and faces those covers had, over and over. 

Like many book covers of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, record labels used artists and illustrators to design record covers to lend a more artistic flair. This was also the time before digital design and Photoshop! There is so much inspiration to be found in these nostalgic and vintage gems....

All 3 covers above are by artist/illustrator David Stone Martin
He illustrated over 400 jazz albums.

To get started with my collage, I chose my favorite female jazz artist, Billie Holiday. I made a sketch and line drawing of a pretty famous picture of Billie Holiday in concert.

Then I started selecting fabrics in the palette I knew would work well hanging in either my family room or bedroom, paying close attention to value and saturation, particularly in the hand dyes and batiks. Here's where I'm at so far:

Still needs a lot of work, especially in the eyes, nose, and mouth. You can't tell from the photo, but the black hair is a music sheet print with lots of scales and notes. Kind of fitting for the subject, no?

Unfortunately this quilt will have to take a backseat for a short time since I'm not bringing it with me to the retreat (too many "moving parts" to transport easily). But I'll keep you updated on the progress.

In knitting, I've cast on my first pair of adult-size socks!

I am using the Magic Loop method on a single circular needle. I've reviewed several video tutorials including this Craftsy class, but ultimately the video tutorials from Tina of the Knitting Blooms podcast seem to be the simplest and most straightforward when casting on the toe, learning how to make a heel flap and gusset. Her 2 videos on these techniques are fantastic, especially for beginners. I do recommend you already know how to Magic Loop (watch 1 or 2 of the many Youtube videos out there) and knit on circular needles prior to using Tina's videos. But once you know those 2 things, you're good to go. 

So that's just a little taste of what I've been working on. I'm feeling really good about where I'm going creatively these days...my bucket is overflowing with ideas, I'm seeing and finding inspiration everywhere, and if I didn't have to go to my pesky day job to help shelter and feed the family, I'd be holed up in my studio 8-10 hours a day easy. (If only I could convince my kids and husband to trade food for fabric....) But for now, I'll take what I can get, do what I can do, and bask in the pleasure of the process.

Hope you're having a creative week!


Linking up to these fabulous blogs. Check them out!


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