Caught a quilting bug…

Anna's Quilt - made by Erin M. Klitzke

Anna’s Quilt – made by Erin M. Klitzke

It’s official.

I’ve caught the quilting bug, and I’ve caught it pretty bad.

Now, making patchwork quilts has been a thing that I’ve really wanted to do since I was a kid and it’s something that I’ve dabbled in since I was pretty young.  I have tons of half-started projects laying around the house, tucked into bins or shoved in drawers.  I have a stash of fat quarters and yardage of quilter’s cottons and calicos that’s a shame to waste (we’re talking a few bins worth of fabric here–probably as much or more fabric than I have laying around for costuming projects).  That fabric and those projects have been sitting idle, quietly waiting for me to get around to making use of them.

Anna's quilt before I put the binding on.

Anna’s quilt before I put the binding on. The binding is in the same red fabric as the squares.

Before my niece was born, I started working on a strip quilt for her.  I’d finished the top by the time she was born, but the hand quilting and finishing took me until her first birthday–and made me vow to never hand quilt anything again!  Still, I managed to finish it, and for my first quilt brought to completion, I happen to think it’s wonderful (and my family and my sister-in-law’s family agreed!).

Immediately after finishing that quilt, I started digging around in my sewing area and found some nine-patch blocks for a quilt I’d started a long time ago for my younger sister, Kendall.  I realized that I was short a few nine-patch blocks, so I made some more over the course of the intervening days, watched a little too much of Fons and Porters’ Love of Quilting (yes, the series from PBS–I have some DVDs laying around because I am really that kind of geek), and spent a Saturday morning cutting background squares before bringing it up to the family room to test layouts.

Experimenting with layouts for Kendall's quilt

Experimenting with layouts for Kendall’s quilt last weekend–this is actually the layout I ended up going with.

As my mother and I stared at the first test layout, she suggested doing the blocks on point rather than as straight strips–and it was the on point layout that I ended up going with.  I was joking that my sister might not even want the quilt anymore, at which point I’d figure out something else to do with it–but one text message with a picture of the test layout later, and I knew that she still wanted the gift I started making her five years ago.

Over the course of that weekend and the following week, I finished sewing the blocks into strips–this weekend, I’m looking to possibly finish off the quilt top and maybe even finish the whole quilt–it depends on how ambitious I get.

The terrible part is that I’m already trying to figure out what the next quilt will be.

I’m hooked and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, either.

Detail of a strip from Kendall's quilt.

Detail of a strip from Kendall’s quilt.  She plays upright string bass.  The treble cleft and sheet music fabrics I chose for her and she chose the black and white cross-hatched.

Workshops, works in progress, and upcoming show update

So, I finally heard back from the instrumental music boosters organization at Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights, MI, and I’ve been accepted into their Crafter’s Clearance coming up in February.  I’m actually very excited because I’m still sitting on a lot of product from last year’s shows, which were pretty abysmal except for the festival at Grand Valley State.  This show looks like it might have a lot of promise, so I’m guardedly optimistic about my prospects.

As a result of getting into this show, however, I needed to take some work-in-progress and me-at-work photos so I can have them on me (basically to prove that I made what I’ve got with me in case someone challenges me about it).  I, of course, have never bothered taking any pictures like that, and any pictures taken of me while sewing back during my college days are completely lost somewhere in the maelstrom that is my bedroom or in the deepest, darkest depths of the internet.

So, my brother having disappeared from my workspace so I couldn’t corral him into taking the pictures, I found a way to set up my camera to take some shots while I was working.  Let me tell you, it’s wasn’t that easy!  I did get some passable shots, though.

My tools for my sewing are actually really simple.  I’ve got my dressmaker’s shears, my pinking shears, my dress form (rarely used, to be honest), my Kenmore sewing machine, the iron and the ironing board, pins, the actual materials for the garments and not a whole lot else!  A lot of the work is in the actual seaming of the garment: I try to enclose any raw edges that I can with French seams.

These shots are of another skirt in progress (I started the sewing for it this morning, though I’ve had the pieces cut since at least this past September).  I’m in the ironing process here, preparing first seams to be encased.

And then there’s my workspace–not really much to look at, is it?  It mostly does the job, though.  I do a lot of my cutting upstairs becasue there’s ample floor/table space to do it and the lighting is better.  I have some task lighting available in my actual workspace, but for some things, natural light is just better.