Saturday, September 29, 2012

Long time no....

...yeah yeah no nothing. How is it that I turned around for a minute and two months passed? I'm not going to apologize for not writing, by now if you read this blog you know that I am not that type of person. Life happened, plain and simple, and this blog doesn't own my life. I hate it when people sit there and apologize for 5 paragraphs saying things like "Sorry, Susie had the flu, Hubby flew to {some place far away}, and I had to do X, Y, and Z in 2 days!" or "Sorry, guys, I just finished popping out child # {enter # > 0} and it got a little busy, but don't worry 2 days after putting my body through major trauma plus now having a life form that needs me for everything in order to live, I'm right back too it! Hope my absence hasn't caused any of you to go into panic attacks!"

Really?! Nope, I made a promise to myself that I would never do that. Real life takes priority and this blog is only a journal of progress, projects and other miscellaneous stuff should I feel the need to write out my deepest darkest on the internet (not happening).

So what have I been up to? Work, lots of work. I work a schedule that requires I come in every other Saturday. When I do have a weekend to myself or any free time (in exchange for Saturdays I get every other Tuesday off) I do either 1. nothing 2. sleep 3. errands 4. clean.  Ok, Ok, only 1-3, 4 may or may not get done this weekend. Depends how busy I am with 1-3.

I have made 0 progress on any WIPs, but on the bright side I haven't started new projects I can't hope to finish either. Part of the problem is lack of doing #4 on the list stated above. My sewing area is under a pile of clothes and other miscellaneous crap at the moment. The other reason, space. No not outer space with all the pretty stars and planets and wonderful peace and quiet. Nope the teeny tiny corner my sewing has been relegated to in our bedroom in our one bedroom apartment. It has worked in the past, not well mind you, but it has served its purpose. Now I feel too claustrophobic to create and can't concentrate well when I do try to sit down and work on things.I'm hoping when we finally get out of this place in November then I can at least get more than 5 sq feet of room. Maybe a whole room. I can dream right? Then I would feel obligated to sew, right? Right?!

Ok, enough whinning. I'm done for now, that should cover me for another 2 months. See ya when I see ya.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Table Runner

So as you may or may not remember back in April I got these pretty fabrics for my birthday...

Well it took me awhile because I didn't know what I wanted to do with the fat quarters beyond that I wanted to make a table runner or possibly some mug rugs. I finally sat down and sketched what I thought would look good.

Then I got to cutting and sewing and well lets just say that the end result is very different than what I had planned.

This is what I came up with. Happy with the design and the diagonal straight line quilting however disappointed with the end result. When I went to wash it it became very distorted in the wash. I am blaming this partially on the fact I didn't prewash and used flannel for the batting and for the fact my quilting wasn't exactly lining up right. I was really hoping for something really modern and clean lines.....yeah not happening.

I will leave it on the table but I might retry with mug rugs since I have enough fabric leftover.

Little Goofs:
Distortion...whomp whomp :/ Oh well live and learn....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

8 hour baby quilt

This past weekend I made this really quick and totally adorable and comfy baby quilt. It is for Peter's boss who is having a baby girl in October. Since I will be beginning work next week and wasn't doing anything else this weekend I decided to go for it. The one requirement I had for this was that it had to be easy since if I got fancy or anything it likely would not get done.

So I decided to take some scraps I had from the last baby quilt I made and cut them into five inch squares and sew them directly onto a one yard piece of kona white fabric that was basted to a white flannel batting layer and pink flannel back. This gave it a simple rag quilt appearance that I think looks really sweet.

To finish it up I quilted some daisy chains around the edges and large daisies down the middle and green polka dots for the binding.

The binding I did by machine which I am glad I did, there were a few skips on the back but it was pretty simple to fix and I think that this will last much longer than anything that I could do by hand. Plus it was much much quicker. Overall I counted up the hours I spent on this and total with washing I think I spent about 8 hours on it which is pretty amazing for me. Overall very happy with it.

Little Goofs:
There were some skips when I did the machine binding but it was minimal and easily fixed. The only other issue is that some of the daisies look a little special but it gives it that homemade quality....right?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cat Bed

As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to make Fancy a cat bed since she so loves each quilt I make.
 Well I think see likes it, she went on it and stayed on it even before I stuffed it.

 I decided to go completely modern with it. I think it turned out really well for my fist modern/improvised piece.

 For the quilting I just did a stipple free motion even though I was considering something a little more complex. I stuffed it with polyfill in plastic grocery bags. All the cats I have had seem to like the crinkle of the plastic bags including Fancy so I decided to add that. It is always something that I can change later since I made it with an envelope back. That was an important design choice because as with babies, cats have a tendency to throw up on things and I wanted to be able to clean it without much problem.

Now I would make one for Goofy too but I really highly doubt he would use it.

Little Goofs:
Actually pretty happy with this and can't think of anything I really messed up. I would change the pink polka dot border on the log cabin center to make it wider but that is the only thing.

Next Up:
Summer table runner
Finishing up Fall Quilt

This next month is going to be a push to finish my summer goals because......I GOT A JOB! Yep! I start on July 24th. So that gives me a few days short of a month to really work on WIPs and other projects I have been itching to do.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wall Hanging and Other Things

At the beginning of the year I made a few goals for myself as far as quilting goes if you recall...

So to start this new year I have set some goals for myself quilting wise. Here they are in no particular order...
1. Try applique for the first time (that will come into play in eclipse)
2. Conquer my fear of triangles
3. Fully complete at least one lap size quilt (this may seem like a really small thing for some people but on average it takes me a year and half to do this and I have only done it twice)

This wall hanging took on #2 which is to conquer my fear of triangles. This also was part of the small things quilt-along hosted by crazy mom quilts where I made the goal of making a wall hanging for a wall in my living room which was begging for a quilt.

Now this is pretty basic pinwheel type of pattern with half square triangles but I think it turned out pretty well. I did straight line quilting so as not to majorly detract from the pattern.

I love the pattern of the border fabric, it fits perfectly with the color scheme going on in the living room and it's so me.
I also made a label using the alphabet stitch function on my new machine.

Little Goofs:
1. The binding is much better on this quilt and I think that is because I followed the tutorial on crazy mom quilts which I am now calling the no tears binding tutorial. I still had issues with the mittered corners getting too much bulk there making them a little on the pointy side but nothing that I am really upset over.
2. This is actually the second version of this quilt. The first version had many more triangles and somehow ended up being crooked and not really what I had in mind. So that was scrapped and this one rose from the ashes.
3. The small things quilt along was over before I even started this but I am gonna keep on with it because a lot of the things on the list I really want to do and soon because I  keep putting them off.

Now this is the first quilt that I have made completely with the new machine. It was going pretty well until the actual quilting and then something weird was happening with the thread jumping off the guides. I don't know if this is a machine thing that is just now happening or if it is the thread. Hopefully it gets better or better yet goes away completely because this machine cost way too much (at least to me) for this to be happening a month after I got it.

In other news I have graduated and now looking for a job. Anyone know any lab jobs in the VA area?
But since I don't have a job or school I have all this extra time on my hands. I used that time to make bread...

It was amazingly simple: combine flour, yeast and salt, add water and let rise. Then you can either refrigerate and bake it later it or bake it right away. I have already experimented with different things you can do with it since it is simple by itself. The one I like the best so far is rosemary and roasted garlic.

Up next is a small project that I didn't know I wanted to do this summer which is to make a cat bed for my cat. She loves the quilts I make so much. Every time I go to hand sew binding on a quilt she has to be on top of it which makes it extremely difficult. Anyways I have some bright pink plaid fabric that is perfect for this. That should be started tomorrow and I am hoping to make it more modern.

 Long post I know but like I said.....lots of free time.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Machine!!

So for graduation I got a lot of gift cards and such and was finally able to upgrade my machine. Prior to getting this new one, which I will talk about in a minute, I was using a basic bottom of the line Brother that my mother got me for Christmas a few years ago. Now don't get me wrong, it was a great little machine to learn on, it just couldn't handle the quilting I wanted to do with it.

For the past few months I have been looking, comparing and yes drooling on quiet a few machines online. I thought the one I really wanted was a Brother quilting machine and then I saw this one....

 At half the price and with better reviews this Singer Quantum Stylist was the perfect bet.

It has over 600 stitches and it came with that extension table for quilting.

It also came with all of these accessories which alone if I had gone and bought all of them would have cost well over $100. (Not in this picture is also a walking foot that came with it, that is on the machine right now).

To top it all of it even came with this cover/case. Totally awesome and totally worth it.

As I mentioned before I did half the piecing and all the quilting on the Sophia quilt with this new machine. The piecing went a lot smoother and quicker and the quilting didn't have nearly as many problems. I did have a problem right at the end of quilting where the bobbin thread got jammed and then when I rethreaded it was causing that loopy rats nest problem on the back. After a 1/2 hour I got it figured out. I won't blame that on the machine quiet yet since I am still learning everything with it.

Oh and did I forget to mention that it has the really cool autopilot function where all you press is this start/stop button and it just goes automatically, so cool.

Anyways I'll stop now because I'm in the honeymoon stage with it right now and thus could go on and on!

Friday, May 25, 2012


A girl that I went to school with is having a baby and is due anytime now. I started making this quilt about 5 months ago when I found out she was pregnant.

It has gone through many iterations trying to make it what I thought of in my mind. I wanted to base the quilt around this print that I found at JoAnn's.

Now lets see if she holds on a couple more days so I can give it to her in person on Monday!

Little Goofs for this quilt:
The binding!! I can't seem to get it right. This time seemed to be a little better than the last baby quilt I made but not perfect. I have no idea what it is I am doing wrong.

Oh and I would be remiss to mention half of this was done on my new machine! I will post about that this weekend and tell you all about it then.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Last weekend was my birthday and my totally awesome fiance took me over to to my LQS and let me go on a shopping spree for my birthday present. I bought this fabric with baby stuff on it for a baby quilt I am making for a girl in the Human Genetics Department at VCU who is having a baby girl at the end of the month.

I'm half way done with the top. I'll post pics once I have it all done which will hopefully be in a few days so it can be done before the baby comes.

I also got these fat quarters....

I was kinda falling in love with these color combos in the store and I think they would be perfect for a fun summer table runner and if there is enough left a mug rug or two.

While there I also got some Kona White and Black for other misc. projects.

I also went over to Hobby Lobby and found these in the remnants bin...
I don't know what it will be but I couldn't resist the combination.

I also go this thread for quilting the baby quilt....
Doesn't everything look so inviting all stacked like that? Can't wait till I'm done with the baby quilt to really get into the other projects I want to work on. And since I neither have school or a full time job at the moment then I won't be short on time either.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Small Project Sew-along

I'm going to take part in my first sew along since in the first time in my life practically I now do not have the burden of school work. I wish I could replace school with an actual job but until then I will keep myself busy with the sew-along that is being hosted over at Crazy Mom Quilts. I think this will be the perfect first sew along for me as it is focusing on small projects and there is no set time table. I've had to think about what I would want to accomplish as most of my project goals are lap size or larger quilts but I think I've come up with a few ideas that have been percolating for awhile. Here is what I've come up with:

1. Finish the Eclipse wall hanging quilt
This has been an ongoing process (here and here) and it is really stretching my thoughts on quilting and allowing me to learn a few things as well.

2. A pincushion
I know that most people cut their teeth with pincushions when they first start sewing. I on the other hand jumped right in for a lap size quilt. I think it is now time to maybe retire the tomato pincushion I bought years ago and have something a little more stylish and me. I'm thinking about making it something like this (here) or maybe if I am really ambitious this (here)

3. A summer table runner
I found this really awesome fabric at my LQS and I think that the few fat quarters I bought are screaming to be made into a really fun table runner and possibly some mug rugs as well. See tomorrow's post for the fabric.

4. "Hemming" a skirt
I found this really awesome skirt at goodwill a few years ago but it really needs to be "hemmed". I put hemmed in quotation marks because really what it needs is about a foot off the length to be anything that can be worn by me (I'm 4'11'' so long dresses and skirts are a big problem). I have never officially hemmed anything in my life so we will see how this goes.

5. Making a skirt
Since I have never hemmed anything I have also never made anything that can be worn as clothing. I would really like to make this skirt and then work my way forward with making simple and stylish clothes.

6. A throw pillow to match my quilt
The quilt I finished last fall which I have started calling "cat magnet" since whenever it is out the cat has to be on top of it is begging for a matching pillow.

I have enough leftover fabric from it to a ticker tape style pillow cover. It shouldn't be that difficult and really won't take that long but is something I have been putting off now for awhile.

7. A Entryway Wall Hanging
I left this one till last because in a few months I don't know where or if we will be moving so it may or may not be needed. This is something I have been thinking about for months but have never really come up with a good idea on what I want to make except that it would be a quilted wall hanging for next to our door. This one deserves more thought and might not happen this summer.

There are a few other ideas that have come into my head since writing this but I think I will stick with this list for now. Be prepared though that if I don't get a job by the end of the month that the list might grow because I will likely be extremely bored and going crazy in the house. We won't go into the fact that if given enough time away from school/work I might just apply to go for my PhD.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Major Finish

While it is not a quilt or in any way remotely related to crafting, I couldn't not post about finishing my thesis.

The experiments that are the meat of this thesis took me over a year to complete and the writing took just under a month. In all, the last year of my life is in those 103pgs.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Buried Under

There is so much going on right now that I just don't have the time or energy to really get into sewing right now. I have so many ideas and projects started that it is a shame. Once things settle down I should be better, but that won't likely be until June unfortunately.

I am currently messing around with english paper piecing because it is something I can do with my hands while watching tv in the evenings when I am relaxing. No pictures unfortunately but it is not really a fully thought out project and may or may not result in anything.

Until I have actual progress on something to show you, how about a picture of some kitties....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vintage Quilt

This is one of the quilts I acquired/inherited from my fiance's grandmother's house when we were cleaning it out. This is also the only quilt I got that is still in one piece.

There is a story to this quilt too, like there is with every quilt. This one was made by a family member but no one is quiet sure who. It was remade I guess due to it falling apart due to age and general neglect. This is piece from the original quilt that was framed.

I wasn't totally into it in the beginning I am afraid to say. However having it sit in our bedroom and examining up close on a few occasions it has grown on me. In fact I am absolutely in love with it now and hope that one day I can make something this intricate and beautiful.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fabric Find

I found this in the remnant section at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago and I am finally getting around to sharing!
I don't know if they know what a remnant is because there is a lot of fabric folded up there. By my estimates (didn't measure) there is about 2yds of fabric there. And guess what, less than $4! Hells yeah.

It's pretty, now just have to figure out what I am going to use it in.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

V-day Table Runner

Its done. Took me about a month when it really shouldn't have. I started quilting it with red thread on the back and white on the front but my machine was having fits with the tension so it looked horrible. So I went and ripped out all of the stitches.
I finally settled on this for the quilting....

It worked out kinda perfect actually.

Here is the back.

And in full disclosure my "Little Goofs" that I made on this quilt
1. The quilting like stated above
2. The binding, I somehow forgot to fold over the fabric before sewing it onto the quilt. It didn't end up being such a big deal because I just folded it over and ironed before sewing it onto the back.
3. I finished the morning after V-day...oops.

But #2 brings me to why I have a really difficult time finishing quilts...the binding. I ALWAYS have some sort of issue with it. This time it ended up looking fine in the end but I held myself up finishing it because I really had a hard time getting over my fear of binding. Something I'm sure I will get over with more practice.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pondering the Life of a Quilting Blogger

This post is not meant to offend by any means, I am mearly curious and, well, realistic.

I have been following numerous quilting and craft blogs now for over 2 years. The women that write these blogs are amazingly inspirational and creative. However I find it really difficult to believe that these women are able to create and still have a life.

I don't mean that in a bad way but I have been reflecting strongly on my own life in the past few weeks. I would love to do what these women do, creating multiple quilts a month and seemingly have a perfect home, family and social life. But there are a few things that don't add up to me and something has to be falling through the cracks that is not immediately clear to the people on the other side of the screen. I've made a list, if this has already offended you or made you bored you don't have to continue reading but I encourage you to do this.

1. Finances
This is a big one for me. I don't know how these women do it. They all seem to be at home mothers with only one income and their hobby doesn't necessarily bring in anything. Some blogs I have come across do have their own small shops or have advertising on their blogs but that cannot possibly cover the expense. This seems even more baffling when you account for the fact that a lot of the time expensive fabric lines are being used to create quilts that are just for home use. I have no problem admitting that as a graduate student I have like next to nothing extra and my fabrics a lot of the time are Wal-mart or JoAnns on sale.

Am I just missing something? If you add up the expense of the quilt I am currently making out of lower quality materials it is about $50. That is just a small wall hanging. How in the world is it possible to live in a one income house, with small children and do multiple quilts that cost upwards of $100 a pop? To me this is where a large portion of my hobby is confined. I have a small stash of fabrics, mostly stuff I got on sale when the JoAnns near me moved. But that is it, takes up no more than a small set of plastic drawers. I wonder how much some of these women's fabric closets are worth if you were to add it all up for insurance reasons.

2. Relationships
This one is also really tough for me to figure out. I am childless for the moment, although Peter and I have been thinking long and hard recently about starting a family and when the right time would be. However, I would say 90% of the blogs I read are written by women with children under the age of 12. How do they devote so much time to crafting without letting some of that get in the way of raising a child. I'm not saying that they are not raising their children or that that they are raising them poorly by any means but I just can't fathom spending that much time behind the machine and raising a small child. Maybe this just comes from inexperience and never having had a child before but it doesn't add up.

Then there is the marriage. While not officially married yet, for all intents and purposes I am married to Peter. I hardly see him at all during the day because of our schedules with classes and such despite living together. When he is home I want to hang out with him and spend time with him as much as possible. I am sure this is not much different for some of these women but for some reason it seems like every free moment is spent behind the machine or at the iron.

Finally there is the social relationships. I know in my life these have been lacking and fall through the cracks. I can't fathom, unless you are sitting there quilting with your friend, assuming your friend has the same affinity for the hobby you do, you cannot be physically capable of sewing, maintaining your family relationships and you other friendships as well. There is not enough time in the day to nurture all these relationships along with a hobby that swallows all of your time, there just isn't.

3. Constant Creativity
How do these women be constantly creative without getting burnt out? I have seen this on some blogs but within a few weeks (or less) they are right back at being perfect and creative. This is something I struggle with a lot personally because while I might have the intent of going and sewing I cannot muster the amount of creative power this takes sometimes. This usually results in months and months without ever touching the sewing machine. It is not for lack of ideas a lot of the time, it is for lack of creating will.

4. House and Home
I admit it, my apartment is a mess and has never been and will likely never be perfect. For me it is a unrealistic goal to keep it perfectly tidy all the time. I live here, therefore it will not be picture perfect all the time, I don't think I would be happy if it was. With that said I am no slob either, you will not see me on the next episode of horders. A lot of blogs do give sneak peeks at the craft rooms after a particularly creative episode stuck it. But that is it. There are other blogs I follow that are Martha Stewart perfect all the time. It is just not realistic and you cannot tell me these women with children under the age of 5 have picture perfect homes 100% of the time. They why are they afraid to show it? Do they think that people would think any less of them if there was a pile of toys in the corner of a hamper full of clothes in plain view. I know I wouldn't and would be completely refreshed by someone actually showing the truth of the situation for once.

I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. I am not Super Woman or Martha Stewart. I have days where I where I sit in front of the t.v. and do nothing including cleaning, creating, being in a relationship. So that brings me to my final and probably most important question...

While this is a hobby that is fulfilling, what else are these women missing in their lives. Dreams never chased after? Places never visited? People never met? Things left unaccomplished?

Are we slaves to this because the blog universe says we have to create all the time and be 100% perfect while doing it? What are we willing to sacrifice to let others think that we are everything and then some?

These are all just questions and this is a long drawn out blog to get to the point I just made. I will continue blogging not for the benefit of others, because I am sure no one actually reads this, but for myself so I can track my progress and moments where I too am creative. I wish everyone could make a pledge similar to this, blog for you, blog because it helps, blog because it chronicles, blog because there is more to life than what others want you to believe there is.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A belated introduction

*Before we begin, a disclaimer, please excuse any messes or anything that is not perfect. I am not perfect and don't pretend to be therefore my apartment is not perfect

I thought that this would be an appropriate time for an introduction to my life and why I have created this blog. Many people have this as their first post on their blog but as you can see from the disclaimer, I am not the perfect person and will not try to be for the sake of an online presence.

So here goes nothing,

My name is Kristyn and my fiance's name is Peter. We currently reside in VA and are both going to graduate school to get our master's degrees. I am studying human genetics and will hopefully be graduating in May. My thesis project surrounds genes and molecular pathways involved in alcohol abuse and to study this I am using fruit flies. Yes fruit flies, this surprises and sometimes grosses people out but they are an amazingly useful tool in human genetics research. I can tell you more if you are interested but for now I will leave it at that.

Peter and me at my last graduation for my B.S.

I got into quilting when I was about 14 years old. Since then I have grown and become more experienced (through tons of mistakes of course, thus the name of the blog). To date I have completed 2 lap size quilts, a baby quilt and a couple of small wall hangings.

My first quilt I finished in 2009

My second quilt I finished this past fall.

Up close and personal
I have started this blog for two reasons I suppose, one to share and get ideas and two to document my progress. So far in the past month that I have had this blog I have seen an improvement in my progress. I will often get stuck or upset with something that I'm working on and walk away from my sewing machine for 6 months at a time which is probably why I only have two quilts done. Now that I want to share I feel more inclined to get back into it. I have almost slipped back into it recently and part of that is classes starting and the rush to finish my thesis work but this weekend I have picked up the Eclipse quilt again and hope to finish it soon.

The name of my blog stems from two places. One is I make a lot of mistakes when I'm quilting either from inexperience or from just moving through the motions to quickly. The second is that my cat's name is Goofy and well he's adorable.

That's all for now, don't want to overwhelm. Hope this gives you context for future posts in this blog and a little insight to the person on the other side of the screen :)