Taking the Stress off!

I’d love to start this blog off by listing all the ways in which I was very busy over the last week or so. Homework, housework, kids, etc. but when you really look at the time that slipped away the only thing I can say is that I totally failed the challenge I set for myself last week.

008I managed to get in some time to practice the stem stitch, but the lattice stitch was left in the dust. The fact is, I AM a busy person and embroidery is one of the ways that I unwind and relax. It helps my brain calm down and process all of the information from the day. It also helps me remain calm before a quiz or test so I can think clearly.

This year has been a year of reflection for me. There are a few things I’ve discovered about myself. It may not seem like it but I do have a system for doing things, and getting them done. It might take me three years, like it does to get a quilt done for family, or I might eat, sleep, and drink it for the next two weeks till it is done. But it works for me. Challenges help some people learn faster or better, and others like me just need to let it evolve. That’s what I am challenging myself; to just be content with me, and to let my crafts evolve in the way that works best for me, by just letting them flow.

I’m hoping that by taking the stress off of this aspect of my life it will also help de-stress the other areas of my life as well!

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Learning Stitches

This weekend I stumbled upon a great website Needle N Thread. It’s a great resource for people who are learning embroidery. I finally found out why I wasn’t able to get my stem stitch to look the way it did in the pictures of my books.

This is my attempt at stem stitch after watching the video tutorial.

This is my attempt at stem stitch after watching the video tutorial.

Books are a great way to learn many things, but sometimes it’s better to have someone there to watch you attempt what you are learning to give you pointers. When you live where I live (the middle of nowhere) it’s hard to find people who know how to embroider and have the time to teach you. That’s where video tutorials come in handy. There are so many valuable videos that walk you through the steps of the stitch and give pointers for correction when you are struggling. There are many places to find these tutorials such as, YouTube, and sites like the one I mentioned above.

Carrying on with last weeks post, this weeks challenge is to learn and practice two different stitches; the stem stitch, and the lattice stitch. I’ll post pictures in my next post to show everyone how well it went this week!

“The Goal is NOT perfection…” Amy Fackrell

The start of every New Year brings about a lot of self-examination and reflection. Often we look for things we could have or should have done better last year and vow to do better this year. We get so caught up in what we did wrong that very few people really take stock of the things that went right and vow to do those things again.

My older sister is my best friend and she is very wise although she is hardly older than I myself am. While struggling with the things I wanted to do better, she simply told me “The goal is not perfection, it is to go longer and longer between mistakes.” This simple thought hit me very hard. It shook something loose in me and I have decided to take it as my personal motto for this year.

My older sister Amy and two fo the reasons I'm too busy to quilt!

My older sister Amy and two of the reasons I’m too busy to quilt!

Going to school and trying to be creative has been a challenge for me over the past few years. Trying to find time to sit down and quilt or sew is hard when you are taking 15 credit hours each semester. I also have a family that seem to think they need to do things like eat, have some attention, and wear clean clothes. I mean really? Do they really need to do all those things? This is how I was thinking prior to talking to my sister. Focusing on all the things that were taking up my time. After talking to her I realized that maybe right now my focus needs to be on things other than my quilting. There are many other creative things I can do now, like embroidery, and hand sewing/ quilting. There is also designing. So instead of focusing on all the things I don’t have time to do I’m going to focus on the creative things I can do! This year I want to do more embroidery, and would love to have a go at hand sewing a quilt. I’m going to try to accomplish a weekly challenge to help me with this goal.  I hope that you’ll come along for the journey and help encourage me “to go longer and longer between mistakes!”

Branching Out

How do you keep your creative juices flowing? For me I have to constantly be learning something new, figuring out ways of incorporating new hobbies with old hobbies. I’ve always loved the look of blackwork and redwork quilts. I’ve tried my hand at counted cross stitch and was not very successful and assumed I’d have the same results with embroidery.

After spending some much-needed fabric therapy time in Joann’s I was waiting to get my fabric cut. While walking around I ended up down the embroidery isle. I love looking at the kits and books. One book caught my eye, Modern primitive Embroidery by Jennie Baer. This book is full of simple projects and are great for beginners. I’m currently working on a set of dish towels that depict a tree in each season; Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. So far the Spring towel is finished and I’m making progress on the Autumn towel.

This is the Spring dish towel.

This project is so easy and has inspired many more ideas. Embroidery is very portable and this makes it easy to work on in between classes or when I’m out and about running errands. It is a very therapeutic process as well. There is something soothing about the repetitive motion and something very satisfying about seeing the picture take shape.

Let me know what you think about my progress.Once I get good enough I’ll be making some redwork and blackwork quilts. So stay tuned!

The Signature Quilt

One of my many interests besides quilting is geneology. I love it when I find ways to combine the two interests together. In an earlier post I had commented about a signature quilt that I was working on for a family reunion. It was finished and raffled off.

The finished quilt was appr. 48″ x 48″

The reunion is held in Evanston, Wyoming and people come from all over the area to attend. Everyone really enjoyed helping create this quilt, knowing they were a part of something that would be passed down for generations to come.

At the end of the day the quilt was raffled off and the lucky winner was able to take it home with them

 

Making this special signature quilt was a two-year process. The first year I pieced the quilt blocks and sent them to the reunion to be signed. After the reunion my Mom sent the blocks back to me to be sewn together into the quilt.

I enjoyed making the quilt this way. It was a great teaser to let them see the quilt blocks and have no reference as to what the quilt would look like when finished. As part of the quilt we included a photo block of the common ancestor we all hail from. It was then quilted on my domestic sewing machine. It took 20 sewing hours to complete the quilt. I can’t wait to get started on my next signature quilt, maybe it’ll be yours!

Back After a Break

Ever wonder what superwoman would look like if she was real? She definitely wouldn’t look like me. I found that out after this spring semester beat me to a pulp.

I figured that I was definitely a superwoman, and that taking 19 credit hours, 6 classes, I would still be able to sew and have plenty of time to play with my boys as well. unfortunately that was not the case. Those classes were a lot tougher than I thought they would be. Most of the work came from the group projects that had been assigned 4 total.

So now that’s over I’m looking forward to getting back on here and back in my sewing room, posting about what I’m doing. I’ve got some exciting projects I hope to be posting about. I’m working on a signature quilt that was signed at a family reunion last year. It will be sewn together, quilted and raffled off at this years reunion. I also have 2 lap quilts that are a Christmas present. Those I really need to get done ASAP. There are more projects that are in the creative stages as well.

Stay tuned while I create Memories One Stitch at a Time!

Creativity Killers

Mustering up enough motivation to sew for 20 minutes a week as been more challenging than I originally thought it was going to be.  I’ve gone down to my sewing room with every intention of sitting down and doing something, anything creative.

The reality has been much different. Once down there I’ve been confronted with the fact that I have a problem, an organization problem. Anyone who has been down to my sewing area knows they are walking into a natural disaster zone. It’s a small space that must house a lot of things, and NOTHING has a home. Add to that, the fact my two-year old son likes to play with my scraps and throw them everywhere, it’s a daunting task when it comes time to clean up.

My Monster

This is one of many reasons my sewing room is a creativity killer. It's hard to stay mad when he's just so darn cute.

I usually put this off for as long as possible. I know, I know, this only makes it worse when the time finally does come, but old habits die hard. We all know that cleaning up isn’t really the fun part anyway. Trying to sew around such a mess and finding what I need is so frustrating I usually end up just not sewing. So I’ve decided that I’m going to start trying really hard to get things organized so my creativity doesn’t suffer and maybe, just maybe I’ll get some sewing done.

Another creativity killer is a new website I’ve become addicted to, pinterest.com. If you haven’t found this website yet, and need to get things done, stay far far away! No, actually you should start your account so I can see what great things you’re finding on the internet that will help me feel more creative.

This is a great place to go and get a false sense of creativity. Unless, unlike me you actually get off the site and try out some of the things you’ve been pinning there. I’ve learned quite a bit about different things that interest me, things to help around the house, activities to do with your kids, great ideas for date nights with your spouse. All of these things you can find on pinterest, along with a host of ideas about quilting and crafting. My problem with this website is the fact that it lets you feel like you’ve been creative when all you’ve been doing for the past couple of hours is sitting in front of your computer NOT accomplishing anything. I’ve fallen into that trap more times than I care to admit. I sit down to find something creative I want to make and end up looking up two hours later and still haven’t accomplished anything but making my to-do list longer.

So once again I set off to renew my motivation to sew for 20 min. a week. Starting after Thanksgiving. A little more procrastination won’t hurt right?