Adventures in Myteemland

A journey through my mind. Which is sometimes fabulous. Often not.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Finally Complete! YAY!

Today, I delivered the final product to the ever-patient K. I'm so happy this chart is now with its forever home!

So. The numbers were done and it looked liked this!

After all the sewing was done, I pinned together the front, the batting, and the back. I first sewed the top, then the sides, being mindful of leaving space for the wooden dowels to be strung through the top and bottom.

I miraculously had no problems with the long sides, especially one part of the fabric having a straight edge guidelines for my quarter inch seam. The other side wasn't as even..

Unfortunately, having to adjust the pins as the linen shifted meant that I knew my stitching was getting crooked. After I did the three sides, I turned in right-side out and ironed the seams flat.

Then I put the top dowel in and put it up. Wow, it was huge. Don't look too closely, though.. there are some crooked parts..!

Then, to finish off the bottom, I had to make sure the fabric was tucked in. I did an inner fold, then straight stitched the bottom, making sure the bottom edge distance to the 1 foot mark was indeed 1 foot. This was a little difficult, as the back piece of linen had shifted and I was a bit short. I tugged at it a little and was able to tuck it in, and did a quarter inch seam from the edge. I forgot to take pcitures of this, woops. I used pins almost every other inch to hold it all together, then ironed it flat when I was finished. Then I inserted the bottom dowel, which serves as just a weight to keep the bottom hem flat. The last step was cleaning up the frazzled applique edges, lint-rolling the front and back, and then a final ironing.

It was finished!!! I found an old empty kraft roll and began rolling the chart around it.. it started to wrinkle and the layers started to separate and shift.. but what can you do?!!! so I rolled it rightside out so the back piece of linen would be the one to wrinkle. And topped it off with a half-assed, crappy wrapping job to protect it during the delivery transaction. *eye roll*

Well, turns out K likes it! Yes! Success! I'm so happy that she's happy with it. :D

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Almost done!

I can't believe I'm almost done! I got a better close up of the flowers and leaf area. I will clean up the edges, lint roll, and iron the piece at the very end.

So after the grasses and flowers are sewn on, the last piece was the cute little velvet red bird! I ended up hand stitching this on with an overcast stitch. I had thought about using a blanket stitch, but thought it might be too messy-looking, especially if the stitches would come out unevenly spaced. The overcast stitch (which I often get mixed up with the whipstitch) came out nicely on the bird, and you can barely tell it's stitched on! :)

Here's a close up shot:

Next, I had an internal battle about whether or not to sew on the numbers by hand or by machine. I measured where to put each foot mark and pinned each number down. I decided to machine sew with a very tight straight stitch. Worked out pretty well!

Unfortunately, the five foot mark cut into the cloud. Visually, it's kind of awkward. But this is a growth chart after all, and I couldn't have the 4 foot mark be the last measurement of a 6 foot tall chart. That would look even more awkward. If K decides she doesn't like it, though, it will be easy enough to remove.

Next... Adding batting, sewing front, middle, back together... adding dowels to the top and bottom... a rope to hang from... a bird eye... and we're DONE!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

..and the sewing begins..

So now that everything is prepped and ready, the real sewing begins. Time to put everything down on the linen... permanently! The tree trunk is the real foundation of the piece, and it's the biggest, so it goes down first. I pinned the bottom, smaller part of the tree trunk down, and sewed that on first. Eeeee! And then it's on to the main part of the tree trunk. (and yes, the lettering is all straight except for two letters. Can you tell which ones? my dear hubby ricklet could ;) )

Yikes!! It goes down and can't be undone!

Once the shock wore off, I picked it up to look at it. Wow! It really is a big piece of work! It'll be quite impressive when it's finally hung up. :) I never realized that linen is difficult to work with as a base (satin is much more difficult, though) and had to be careful not to stretch/move the linen as I sewed. This was a recurrent problem throughout all the parts, especially the grass area, so I hope I won't have lost any "data" on the edges or extra crumpling when I sew up all the sides. Next, I did the big puffy cloud, and then began pinning down the branches and leaves.

I first sewed the leaves down individually, then added the branches on top to overlap the leaf edges. Again, not stretching/moving the linen here with cotton pieces pinned down was a task in itself. And as this part of the pattern was in the middle of the whole piece, I had to roll the top and the bottoms and maneuver them around the sewing machine. Too bad sewing machines can't sew multiple directions without moving the cloth.. or can they??

So then it's on to the grasses. I layered 6 grass section in every-other-one fashion so each blade of grass pattern shows sometime. This part was hard because the grass being at the end of the fabric meant I had to roll the rest of the whole piece and turn it around the needle as I sewed each blade of grass. It looks very cute, though, and almost every stitch is perfect. Almost. Then I added the stems for the flowers and the leaves on the biggest flower. And of course, because this was practically the easiest to sew because the stitching is straight, I got my thread caught three times and broke a needle. What gives! Then i pinned and sewed down the flower petals. They came out a little crooked, unfortunately. I had planned to make the flowers appear to be blooming from right to left, but the two bigger blooms look almost the same size. I forgot to take pictures of this whole process (d'oh!) so here's what the finished part looks like.

What's left, you ask? The big red bird and the numbers, of course! :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Continuing: Growth Chart

So, continuing on:

These are the grasses that cover the whole bottom of the chart. I think I cut out 5 or 6 of these babies.

This is what it started to look like, laying the pieces down with templates:

Next, I tried my hand at embroidering K and her cute hubby T's initials in a heart on the tree trunk. The wool fabric that we bought wasn't as long as it was wide, so the tree trunk is made of two pieces. I made little rough drafts of the embroidery:

and then the real thing:

It's not the best or the most even. But it sure does look handmade! ;) Just don't look too closely!

Next, K chose a font for the lettering. We went with Baskerville Bold. I printed and cut out the lettering and placed them on the tree trunk. Pretty cute! (At this point, nothing is sewn down, just in place)

I cut out each letter on our chosen pink fabric with my super sharp, super tiny Cutterbee scissors. I ironed on interfacing on the fabric, pinned each letter template down, and then cut out the letters. This took me one whole afternoon!

Next, since I was on a roll with the lettering, I decided to do the numbers. It IS a growth chart, after all! We must have measurement guidelines! So I ironed on interfacing for the dark pink and light pink fabrics, cut out the numbers from the template in Baskerville font, and eyeballed a good size for the dark pink background. Over a couple of weekends, I handstitched the pieces together.

By this time, it's April and my wedding anniversary. We took a weekend trip with our new dog up to a house in the mountains and while we were there, I began to handstitch the lettering onto the tree trunk. What a relaxing weekend! Hunkering down, walks and hikes, bbqing on the patio, movies all night while sewing... *sigh* It took me a few weekends to finish the lettering.

More to come....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Growth Chart: An Introduction

In December 2010, my friend K asked me to create a growth chart for her little 1 year old. I ecstatically accepted the challenge.

In January 2011, we went to a fabric shop and spent a couple of hours picking out the best fabrics for the best growth chart to go with the best pattern she'd found.

It is now AUGUST 2011, the baby is 2 years old, and I'm embarrassed and quite ashamed to say that I'm not done sewing it yet.

BUT.. as an appeasement (to myself, as K has had interminable patience with my haphazard scheduling and lazy ass) I took pictures along the way and can now post a few of them.

The finalized product is about 6 feet by 2.5 feet. The first thing I did was wash the fabrics in Woolite, except for the brown wool. I think wool is dry-clean only, yes? So to be on the safe side, I only air tumbled the wool to freshen it up. After everything was washed and dried, I ironed it all to get nice and flat fabrics. I measured and cut the linen, and eyeballed the tree trunk.

I had made enlargements of the pattern pieces and cut them out, eyeballing the proportionate sizes for the size of the overall chart.

I then added interfacing to all the pieces. Unfortunately, I think I bought the wrong kind; I was looking for double sided interfacing, but only purchased single side. For those of you who know applique, it can be a lengthy process to "turn in" the edges, the traditional, "real" way. Another cheater way is to add interfacing paper, "turn in" the edges, and then remove the paper. I cheated mucho by using iron-on interfacing. Which worked.. except for when it came time to sew the pieces down and the single sided interfacing made my pieces slide around. Boo. I consoled myself with the fact that now it looked handmade and not machine appliqued. ;)

I tested on scrap piece of linen and green cotton fabric for the leaves to determine what stitch to use and the tension/setting to use for the best stitch. I'm still in the process of learning how to use my Singer "Simple" sewing machine that my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday a few years back. "Simple" is relative; and my machinery skills are amateurish at best.

Now, these pictures are dated the end of January 2011. So we have quite a ways to go on this project... It's supposed to kinda look like this:

How's that for an introduction? :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Goodbye.. perhaps?

You know what they say about clothes in your closet that you haven't worn in, oh, in a year? Yeah. I think this blog should follow that general guideline. Too bad. But I'm lazy and there is way too much to update now that I've fallen so very behind.

And yet... I'm hesitant to close this down altogether... just in case sometime I want to write something.... like on one of those days that I wear that new sweater that I bought 3 years ago....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring cleaning

Why hello. Long time no see, my old friend.

So I just re-read my old Wall-e post because I got a new comment posted on it. It really does surprise me when people randomly find this blog. I hardly update it and never have anything substantial to write about. Except for that one Wall-e post. I also find that I can't write anymore. Halfway through reading my post, I thought, "wow this is good, that's exactly how I felt" before I realized I was reading my own post I had written two years ago. Isn't that sad?

My lack of proper use of grammar, vocabulary, and interesting sentence structure can be blamed on the quantity of writing and reading I've been doing lately. One would think that the stimulation would promote creative juices and an intellectual flow of ideas and thoughts. I think I hit that plateau and now I'm overstimulated and overwhelmed. So much so that all the writing and reading has backfired and now I'm one incoherent lump of a student/employee. That's bad!

Life has been interesting lately. I go through bouts of hope and excitement, then suddenly get hit by fatique, annoyance, and my own set of life rules. I hope I'm not bipolar!! ;) No, I'm not, just dealing with a lot lately and having to balance work, school, and life and its upsets wreaks havoc on my grounded nature. If I give a little, I sometimes end up feeling like I'm condoning bad behavior and setting precedences; if I don't give in and compromise my principles, I feel bad and unpopular and wonder if sticking to my guns really makes a difference. I wonder if my principles and life rules make me unapproachable in that others think they will be judged. What is it that they say? Those who critize others are often the most critical of themselves? Yeah, that's me.

I speak vaguely on purpose because I don't want to give any details or examples of what's been causing this undue stress. So let's just think about the positives:

1) Ricklet and I got our refund check from the IRS! YESS!! Time to put that away for Italy, baby! Although I let Ricklet have the state check and he went out and bought new golf irons today. ;) My mother-in-law is right; I do spoil my husband!

2) Fun trips coming up! Napa at the end of the month and Morro Bay in June.

3) I have only 3 more quarters left of school - that's 5 classes! Summer quarter is my last core course and Intro to Databases. Fall is one required course and one elective (I'll be taking Children's Literature - that should be so much fun!) and Winter is my last required course. I'm so stoked! I'll be "degreed" in March 2011 and probably walk in the June commencement ceremonies in Philly. :)

4) I think I have approval for a conference in October in Pittsburgh. Never been to PA before and I'm going to try to get Ricklet to come with me.

I'm also hoping to get some work done on the house. Like unpack. ;) Still have a lot of boxes left, stacked up in a nice little area of the office. Obviously I don't need anything in there, right? ;) I haven't done any crafts or sorted out the wedding leftovers. And the garage needs to be cleaned out. Still have the last few items down there from the old apartment. When I'm done with this quarter in early June, I want to paint or change out some fixtures in the house before summer quarter starts. Somehow the place still doesn't feel like ours even though we've been there for almost a year now. And I can't enjoy it until it feels like home.

Another thing that has been on my mind is babies. Babies! What?! Yes, you heard me right, BABIES! Well, maybe just one baby for now. ;) But Ricklet and I have plans... and babies aren't in the plans for another few years. How do you know when your clock has begun ticking? Because I didn't hear or feel mine start and suddenly it's not ticking anymore, but the bomb at the end of the timer has already exploded! How did that happen without my knowing? I usually listen carefully to my body...