Saturday, February 12, 2011

Big Girl Quilt

Quite a few years ago, a disc in my neck ruptured.  Now, just that I'm sitting here typing this should let you know that I've had a terrific recovery.  When the disc first ruptured, I couldn't type  ~ much less sew.  No sewing, no gardening - hell, I couldn't even hold a magazine.

I saw that guy (the real guy, not James Franco) the other night talking about cutting his arm off.  Of course, it was awful but when he described the painful heat that flew up his arm when he cut the nerve, let's just say I identified.

Recovery was slow.  I walked a lot.  When I could drive again, I'd go to the fabric store and touch the fabrics, buy a few yards here and there.  I couldn't sew but the fabric relaxed me and let me pretend I still had a hobby.

So forget all that.  I'm bringing it up because my most current project isn't a Baby Futon but is a quilt for a grown-up girl named Lorraine.  Lorraine is that kind of person who you can always depend on and, paradoxically, is the person who never seems to need anything.  When Lorraine said she wanted a big quilt for her guestroom in Sacramento, I said yes. Even though I hadn't handled so much fabric since the curse of the bad disc, I decided  to give it a try.  And, it was Lorraine who was asking.

The quilt is fairly simple.  Large center panel with two side panels.  Three layers - medium weight pad in between 2 layers of fabric.  Getting those panels on both sides to line up is hard. Tried laying under the table to pull and pin the fabric in place.  It kind of worked.  It was cozy under there. Here's a view from underneath my massage/work table.

Should be able to finish up tomorrow with the binding.  I'll post more then.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

When Hobbies Collide - Massage Table Meet Futon

It's been a while since I posted but Futons for Fun has been busy.  Let's get to the photos.

Here's a brilliantly colored Merrimekko futon circa 196?

Many of the futon fabrics have been donated to me.  The sharing of fabrics from friends of friends who have passed is an especially heart warming part of making baby futons.  I think of each woman who didn't have time to finish her projects but here I am able to make it happen.

Here's a few that now have homes around the country.

We now have 2nd generation baby futons lovers back choosing futons for their friends.  Baby Griz (fencer baby from the old days) came back and chose some fabric for a new baby friend.

Notice the massage table.  Perfect work surface for sewing projects.  No more aching back.

 Futons for Fun relies on a handy in house shipping department.  Since Nick has shipping/handling in his DNA from his grandparent's dry goods store in Nebraska, he takes care of the details which moves the futons off my massage table and into the mail.

Next stop - A full size futon made for a grown-up friend.  It will be challenging for me to handle so much fabric but I think it will be beautiful.  Check back soon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fabric Friends

These are fabrics with stories.  Stories about women brought together through friendship, moving, illness and death.

The task of going through another women's closet.  Receiving a box of carefully folded and bagged fabric of projects left undone.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Safe Arrival

Quote from baby's mom

As soon as i opened the package I took pictures of Violette enjoying the mat.  She played for a bit, and then i wrapped her up in it and she fell asleep almost immediately (which is saying A LOT she hasn't slept at all today and it's already 5pm).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Starry, Starry Nights

We last left off with a visit from my fellow fabric hoarder, my mother-in-law, Diana.  Diana organized, packed and delivered stacks of fabric which I now have draped around my sewing area.  I'm planning to get busy and find some storage but, for now, the fabric is staying sprawled around the room.  I like to fondle it.

Playing with the new fabric result in a creative frenzy .  Starry, Starry Nights - already mailed off to welcome a new baby boy.

Sewing is a contemplative, solo sport which suits me well but every so often I get curious and want to see what others are doing.  I've recently joined Meet-Up and  - WOW - I've lived in LA my entire life and, while I know there is always a lot going on - Meet-Up is the way to be a part of all the happenings and connect.

From the Meet-Up site, I found a group called "Etsy Mob".  All you creative folks probably already know about Etsy but I'm a newcomer.  Thanks to D. @ for encouraging me to check out Etsy.  I made D's son one of my first futons.

I planning to get together with the Etsy folks at the Urban Creative Center in Santa Monica.

Meet-Up -
Urban Craft Center -

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Paisley Futon Reveal

Took a break on Thursday but got back to work yesterday.  Here is my latest creation.  I love it and love knowing a sweet baby will enjoy it soon.  I propped it up on a pillow so you can see the thickness.  Not too fluffy but still soft; more of mat than a duvet.

Ribbon Edging.  Nice detail.

Here I am making final adjustments to the insert and the cover.

Remember, at the beginning of this series, I said I was interested in learning from other's artist process?  The next photos give some perspective about process.  At least, my process which is full of mistakes.

I'd forgotten to include my most prized sewing implement -
It's the short sharp pointy thing in the middle. 
Look closely at the photo - there are 3 layers of fabric - a light blue layer, a dark pink paisley layer and a light  "wrong side" pink paisley.  "Wrong side" is seamstress talk for the other side of the dark "right side".

The mistake here is the three layers. Usually you sew two layers with their right sides together.  Ah, there should not be a third layer clumped up underneath.  Creative process (sounds so much better than being an idiot) being what it is, sometimes there's a party going on downstairs and you don't know it until turning the piece over and find there's been a mutiny.

I used to feel discouraged when this would happen.  It was the simplest of skills - sew two pieces of fabric together.  The basics.  Straight line.  Not a big deal.  But, once again, there it would be.  The dreaded 3 layer pile-up.

It was in my quilting classes that I learned to sit back, put up my feet and get to work with my seam ripper.  The perfect quilter ladies tore out seams all the time.  Not even for mistakes but just because they didn't like the look of a seam.  Seam ripping is part of the zen of sewing.  Don't let it throw you.

Back to work.  Smoothly ironed, straightened fabric held loosely but firm.  People sew for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, they want a specific item.  Sometimes, they find a fabric they love.  For me, I sew for the touch and feel of the fabric.  It's great to be able to create a finished product - to say "I made that" but sewing is very frustrating and, in the long run,  I have to like touching the fabric.  The end result is just the result.

That's it for the Pink Paisley Futon. It's journey has it going onward to Canada.  

 My mother-in-law is coming on Tuesday with containers of more fabric. I can't wait to see what she brings and am inspired to start on another futon.  

Keeping with my artistic inspiration theme my plan is to post about sewing centers, stores and resources in Southern California.  Check back to find out about places you can sew and create your own projects.