Monday, September 22, 2014

Christmas Down Under

It makes me feel extra lucky to have repeat customers from my Etsy store.  It's one thing for a customer to buy once, and I'm grateful for that!-- but it's a whole other level of loyalty to come back for more.

And some customers attain Fairy Godmother status.

Case in point:  I'm now processing my third large custom order for a repeat customer in Australia.

This was the first order, in March

2 runners, a placemat set, and a coaster
set in Autumn colors.

(See this post for more details)

Next, a similar set in Spring colors, done in yummy Kaffe Fassett fabrics:

I completed the whole order, packed it up, took it to the Post Office and THEN realized that I had forgotten to photograph the finished products.

You can view the project in progress here

It only seemed natural to do a set for Christmas, right?

(I left my camera out so I  wouldn't forget to take pictures before packing this order for shipping this morning)

2 table runners 15 x 46"

All of these projects have had the same random pieceing style.  I cut different size squares and rectangles from the fabrics I was using, then sewed them into pairs, then sewed the pairs to each other, etc. until the piece was large enough.

4 placemats 12 x 19"
My customer had selected a vibrant mix of current Michael Miller holiday prints to be the focus fabrics, then I filled in with bits from my own stash for a nice scrappy look.

This order also includes 2 condiment mats that are 12" square.

coasters 6" square

It's a modern and certainly vibrant look for the holidays but I was thinking that since Christmas is a mid-summer holiday in Australia, this brighter style makes a great deal of sense.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Little Embellishment

How about a little something for me?

 I bought this fun linen blouse/jacket a few months ago at a local thrift shop.

It still had the original shop tag on it, and an extra button-- so it's never been worn, despite being sold at a used clothing store.

It's great as is but I thought it might look even better with a little fabric embellishment.

I dug out some odds and ends that were laying around, waiting to be useful.

I ironed fusible web to the backs, then used the "Autumn Medley" Accuquilt Go die for the leaf shapes and little circles.

I pinned the leaves to the bottom hem of the jacket, then ironed them on once I was happy with the layout.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Learning New Things

Summer 2014 will be remembered as, among other things, the Summer I Learned How To Knit.

This has been on my "do this one day" list for a long time.  My grandmother was a master knitter and crocheter, and I've been kicking myself in the head for the last 40 years or so that I never learned either of those skills from her. In retrospect, violin playing/practicing/performing kept me pretty busy from a very young age, and there are only so many hours in a day.  So perhaps that's a valid excuse for waiting so long. Or perhaps I needed this particular activity at this rather remarkable time in my life (I'm living alone for the first time ever, see this post to catch up).

At any rate, the local Joann's offered a Knitting 101 class that got me off and rolling.

There was an instructor from the store plus a kit of needles, yarn and a booklet of basic instructions.

It wasn't a specific project class, just a technique class.

Cast on, knit, purl, bind off.  Repeat until you remember how to do it.

I've since made this ribbed scarf.

I think the yarn is really pretty but being a wool and angora blend the scarf is formidably warm, especially considering that I live in Florida.

This newest project will be a little more usable, being a cotton and acrylic blend yarn and a lacy stitch.

Don't worry, I'm not neglecting my quilting!  But  it's fun to have something to do when I'm sitting with friends or just watching TV.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Do-Over from Down Under

I think this is the biggest mess I've made in my sewing room since I moved last March.

It's for a good cause, though.

this runner lives in Australia now

Just before I moved I had processed a fun custom order for an Etsy customer in Australia.

She liked the look of some of my random pieced
projects and asked me to make some table fashions for her in fall colors (the month of March being when Australians consider their Autumn decor).
--you can read more details of that project here--

Anyway, she recently contacted me again and wanted a similar set done in Spring colors.

And she asked would I please include these fabrics (pictured at left) from the Kaffe Fassett Spring 2014 collection?

Yeah.  It's a tough job, but SOMEONE'S gotta do it.

(Kaffe fans:  the fabrics pictured are Sun Yellow, Quarry Gloxinias, Bekah Orange, and Bekah Plum. I found them all at

To get the scrappy look that she likes, I also pulled these fabrics from my own stash. . .

. . . and started slicing away.

One table runner top is complete.

plus a set of coasters.

There will be 1 more runner plus a set of 4 placemats to complete this project.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Weak Moment, and a Classic returns

I simply Could Not Resist

A fat quarter collection of Westminster Fibers Happiness and Blossoming, on sale at Craftsy.  That website is best known for offering a ton of different online classes in all sorts of areas, but they have a nice fabric selection and awesome sales, so check it out!

Also, in my Etsy store is the return of a Quilting Violinist classic:

Welcome back to the Upcycled Selvage Pincushion!

This item kind of fell off of my production radar but I felt it was time for a revival, mostly because I Felt Like Making One (always a good reason).

And, the Autumn applique placemats that were in progress in my last post (here) have been completed and listed in my Etsy store.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Looking Ahead

I realized with a jolt the other day that it's JULY already.  And the past 4 years of Quilting Violinist history has shown that many of my Etsy shop customers start thinking about (and purchasing) autumn decor in August.

Better get busy!

I never get tired of Autumn Leaf Applique.

This placemat set is ready to be quilted.

I'm all about quick and easy machine applique.  I fused scraps with Pellon Wonder Under, cut out the shapes with the Accuquilt Go cutter (the "Autumn Medley" die), ironed the shapes to the background fabric, then sewed around the edges with a narrow zig zag stitch.

As always, I love sets of placemats that Go Together But Don't Match Exactly.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Big One

I figure that since I opened my Etsy shop in 2010 I've produced probably around 75 selvage bath mats.
Most of them look like this one:

8 squares, 4 across and 2 down.

It measures about 14 x 27"

Production time:  about 3 hours

So it was an interesting challenge recently to produce a really big one as a custom order:

20 squares, 5 across, 4 down

30 x 38"

Production time:  don't ask (lol)

Well, it's nice to know that they can be made larger if needed!

At the customer's request, the back is blue terrycloth.

So.  It's the beginning of my long, long summer off from orchestra work (the orchestra season resumes in the beginning of October).  And, of course, my first summer of living alone.  I have realized that staying busy is a key component of recovery, and for the first time in many years I have time to donate to others.

Metropolitan Ministries is a huge service provider based just a few miles from my home that provides shelter and assistance to homeless people, families in need of temporary assistance, and basically anyone in danger of falling through the cracks of society.  They rely heavily on volunteers to assist their staff doing child care, cafeteria chores (they produce literally thousands of meals per day), processing donations, general maintenance chores, special events-- well, you get the idea.  I've been spending 2 afternoons per week there and enjoyed every minute of it.  Between that and quilting, going to yoga, and seeing friends I feel busy every day.  

One foot in front of the other.  Stay busy.  Keep living until you're alive again.