Monday, December 29, 2014

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: On The Doorstep To The New Year

I can't even believe the new year is literally days away.

Franny kicked off Bat Fit 2015 on the 23rd, and as usual I am "fashionably" late to the party.

I can't even recall the goals I set for '14. Though I'm fairly certain it was along the lines of attempting to lose weight... I did, and for a while things were fairly predictable in a good way. Then we moved and lived in a hotel for about a month, and it was stressful, and all I ate was take out. Then we got the house we wanted to buy, and I began cooking again... but then I got a job at Albertsons, and I began having anxiety attacks that stopped me from functioning. I worked there for a month, and when things were beginning to look very dreary, I was offered the best job I could ever hope for-- at a local fabric store, working with some exceptionally fantastic ladies whom have known each other for years and years.

It was beginning to feel like the pieces of my life were just falling into place and gaining purpose-- something I felt I was lacking for so long. I was happy, and people commented on how happy I seemed-- life felt so good, and for a moment I felt impenetrable to bad news and negative energy.
Of course, as things go, it doesn't shine nor rain everyday, and with the news of my mother's diagnosis I was immediately plummeted back to reality.

So now we wait. Still hopeful for what lies ahead in 2015.

Like most wise people, my mother says making goals is important, even if they're small-- the idea that you've accomplished something you set out to do carries the same weight in your mind, whether it is solving a global issue or just helping a neighbor out.

And so, here are my goals for 2015 Bat Fit.

  1. Organize my time better. I used to procrastinate so much, but now it feels like I'm trying to shove too much into my life. I need to find a balance again.
  2. Read more. I used to read everyday, and now I find I can barely sit through one article without thinking about what I am going to do next.
  3. Teach my mother to sew or knit.
  4. Put more into rainy day funds. Seems pessimistic, but it's better to know you have a net below when you might fall, then to endure the complete hardship that follows. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Crafty Release


I know, I need to stop disappearing. After dropping news like the last, it would seem prudent to stay on top of updates. I have a horrid tendency to withdraw from anything social when the seas get a little rough in the mental ocean... this includes social media of any type.

I have been spending large amounts of time in my sewing room; it sounds unhealthy to lock away and avoid contact if at all possible, but I truly feel it's a necessary part of the way I can cope with reality. I understand the difficulty involved for people to deal with the likes of me... but we were simply wired differently.

In any case, I want you all to know you have my greatest, deepest and most profound gratitude for all the well wishes and prayers even if I may not always show it or say it-- it's important for you to understand how much you've all moved me.
If it's not too much to ask, I'd love for them to continue as my mother continues on her journey to recovery. The surgery went well and she's in good spirits. We're all anxious for her to get better and hear more good news on that front.

One good thing that has come from my seclusion, is that I was able to successfully complete the impossible: a handmade Christmas... they said it was impossible, but I proved them wrong.

I have made a total of 26 gifts this season. 7 are still North bound because I didn't make the post office in time before I left for Phoenix to see the hubby's side of the family.

I also don't have all the photographic proof of this endeavor, however... my camera is practically broken, and will only turn on a quarter of the time, even with a fresh battery.

It would seem this year my hubby's Christmas was pretty much all from a galaxy far far away...
I made him a case for his external hard drive, a case for his DS and charger, and a drawstring backpack to carry it all in.

This wasn't enough, of course. I made him some shorts to sport (which he isn't currently because he was absent and I felt like writing).

Since I am lacking the proof needed, other than my own word here's a list of everything else I made for people... sans the ones still waiting to be sent-- they're a surprise.

  • Hanging toiletry case
  • Matching flat iron case, complete with heat resistant fabric to be able to place a hot iron in
  • Matching shoe bag for traveling with expensive/cherished footwear
  • Cowboys shorts
  • Cowboys fleece blanket, double sided
  • Knit slytherin tapestry to go with her Gryffindor one
  • Kindle/tablet case
  • Kindle/tablet case
BIL's Girlfriend:
  • Flat iron case
Best Friend:
  • Two teddy bears, one for her girl one for her boy
  • Two doubled sided minky blankets, one for her girl one for her boy
Hubby's Best friend:
  • US Marine corps double sided blanket
  • Hot chocolate kit
Hubby's Best friend's Girlfriend:
  • Monogrammed flat iron case
  • Hot chocolate kit

Like I said, not everyone on my list is mentioned because that would mean spoiling surprises... but as you can see-- my crafting therapy has benefited not only my mental health, but a few people.

On a personal note, I have 2 weeks off of work and while I welcome the time off, it's a little inopportune because I need the money much more, especially with a trip up North in the near future... but it's unfortunately not a choice I have. We'll see how it all pans out.

I hope you all had a blessed Yule with family and good food.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: The Road Ahead.

I'm sure you are all used to me disappearing for days by now, and I wish that I could say it's because I was up to some fun and exciting project.

Fact is, I've been coming to terms with some news I have been given about two weeks ago, though as rocky as it may have been at points and still is, I feel like I am ready to head it on, and speak about it.

About a month ago my mother found a lump in her breast, we have managed to remain cautiously optimistic that it was likely nothing as doctors and friends have told us that majority of lumps discovered are not actually cancerous. A close friend told me she even has lumps but they were merely cysts...

Two weeks ago she got the results of the biopsy confirming that it was cancerous. She spoke to the physician and we now know that it's stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma. My mother has opted for a double mastectomy.

I wasn't so much sad as I was angry at the world; on top of her having to deal with another restrictive disease, we now have to confront one of the biggest ones of all. I felt like the tears wouldn't stop flowing.

As the surgery date gets closer, the concerns and worries feel insurmountable and the distance between us makes me feel largely helpless and isolated. I know that as a grown woman, I must live my path... but the guilt has never left my side, knowing there was and are a million reasons why I should've stayed closer to home. My mother is my life line, and the decision to move so far away was my own-- I must live with that.

I do have plans to go up and help for however long I can, but due to monetary restrictions ( I want to save up in case she may need a large chunk of help in regards to bills and such), I have to aim for the time when she receives chemo, as we heard that, that is the toughest stretch towards remission, and when she'll need me most.

In the meantime, the post-surgery attire is expensive and not covered by her insurance. I was planning on designing and constructing those garments in a fashionable manner. It seems kind of silly to consider the fashionable aspect, as my mother is much more reclusive than I, and has reminded me that she does not like "going out"... but I want her to not look upon these garments as you would a hospital-- sterile and lacking the "life" that it gives back. I want her garments to be a reminder of the hope we should always keep.

On another note, it's a very good thing that my last purchase was another machine, because if not... then my plans might've been dashed by the return of my brother sewing machine-- who did not make the journey back to me. The "repair" people sent it back in far worse condition than I sent it. They tossed it into a plastic sack with the embroidery arm rubber banded to the machine, put it in a box that wasn't labeled fragile or 'this side up' and used expanding foam on the sides alone. To add insult to injury, they managed to "misplace" the power cord and pedal I sent along with it-- they claimed I should not have sent those with it, but no where did we find in the shipping instructions they emailed us did it say to omit those.

We will fight this tooth and nail, but it's wal-mart's extended warranty plan... so I am unsure of the outcome; whether they will claim responsibility for such carelessness, and replace the machine.

Despite everything else, I am continuing to keep busy and attempting with all my strength to remain as positive as I can-- if not for me than for my mother.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Spooky Basket: Blasting Off With The Singer Rocketeer. (Image Level:Extreme)

Oh dear readers, it has finally happened for me.

I recently acquired a vintage Singer.
Bam! To the point.

Yess'm, this is a momentous occasion... so big, that I was/am heavily debating creating a Youtube channel based on this latest and greatest endeavor of mine. I don't know why, it's just a very loud and not easily ignored inclination that likely won't come to fruition due to my lack of confidence.

The first photo on the first day it set foot into my sewing room

Meet my newest obsession and love affair, the Singer 503A Slant-o-matic (also known as the Rocketeer).
My hubs purchased it for me after I was having a bout of the blues for having no way of finishing my projects while my Brother SE400 is away for repairs. He called it my late Hallowe'en/early Christmas present.

Some of you may remember me making a wishlist on my blog some time ago, and it included the Singer Featherweight. Well, a close runner up in popularity to the featherweight are the machines in the 500 series. These, the featherweights, and the 400's rank as some of the best Singer ever had to offer in function and aesthetic.

You can clearly see why, for the looks portion anyway... I read that it gets the Rocketeer nickname for it's "futuristic vintage" sleekness; the Jetsons comes to mind, hehe.

I remember seeing it at an antique shop in town and mistaking it for the 401A-- the older sister. I didn't take a closer look, because it would've just left with me that day... but it stuck in my head since then.

My hubby and I went back a few days ago, and there it still was, as if it was just waiting for me to finally come pick it up. It was destiny. The owner included the wood cabinet, and various original accessories.

Even the box they came in was original. The manual was an original-- everything was pretty much pristine! It filled my stitched heart with so much joy.

The only disappointing thing is that this one had its general purpose foot lost in the waves of time spent in that antique shop. Luckily, it was that one and not one of the ones shown in the photo... a slant general purpose foot is really easily located on Ebay, and I did... along with a couple other little trinkets for this machine...

I know, I'm crazy. It has just barely been a complete week since first receiving this machine, and already I am going loco with the extra trimmings.

Other things that were included in my nice little bundle are things like an extremely intimidating looking buttonholer.

I haven't even begun to read the manual on how to operate this... looks a lot like my mom's old electric razor... heh. It seems to be missing one of those plates, but I can't be entirely certain.

This Singer is all metal, and is strictly gear driven; not a single belt in there. As these things tend to go, they require an extra step in maintenance; whoever owned this in the past must've loved it deeply, there doesn't seem to be anything even superficially wrong with this machine. Even as it sat in the antique shop for god knows how long, it was still running.

It came with an original can and tube of lubricant and oil; yes, this machine does require both, for the very reason it's gear driven. I didn't want to use anymore of the old stuff, because it's a really cute display on my shelf... I'm a vintage sewing addict, what can I say?

I bought a tube and bottle of the new stuff... my how the times have changed the packaging...
I wouldn't know if it's any different in quality... but it doesn't look, sound or smell different; I mean, how much change can be done in a petroleum product? <insert naivety>

After some tune up done by yours truly, it runs like a dream. It doesn't even clank loudly as someone might expect a brute like this to do-- perhaps that's the gears?

Because of the nature of the mechanics, this machine utilizes these things called fashion discs (or cams) to create the different kinds of stitches, including a zig zag

You snap one into the top and set the width. Without one of these cams, this machine will only give you a straight stitch. The different patterns on the rims of these cams forces the inner mechanics to form the stitch. No programming in this machine, and I find that soooo cool.

Pops into this hole at the top

It came with its original 9 cams, but there are additional ones that, of course, I already purchased on ebay and eagerly await their arrival-- there's a total of 21 cams to this machine and they're all mine! All mine... Muahahah!

I haven't completed any projects on it... yet, but that will quickly change.

This won't be just another pretty face in my sewing room. 
It'll be used as it was always intended to be.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Coffin Rests, and Prototype Pumpkins

So, now that you all know I am trying to decorate my creative laboratory around a Halloween theme... I suppose it's time to let you in on all the things I am currently in the process of creating for myself, the self titled Spooky Seamstress-- could be a name for a new blog??


I'm going to post them as I finish them (or in this one case, days after), so I won't make this long... again... it might happen regardless...

This is merely a prototype; I say this because it technically doesn't function as it was meant... but the idea is still materialized... roughly.


Normal, and then spookified!

It's a pumpkin pincushion with a bat emery attached to it. I know, it needs work.
It's not actually filled with emery or sawdust, so that's why I said doesn't actually work as per its name...
I repeat, it's a prototype!

When I buy myself some emery and sawdust or crushed walnuts, this little creation might look a lot smoother and will also be a functioning member of my sewing society.


It's not enough to just post one photo... here we go again.
No really, I promise this'll be good.

If you're a sewist like me, then you have a ton of tools right beside your machine that constantly roll off the table. I did have a bowl, but that only worked for so long until I needed to spruce it up, make it spooky.

I had a few of these little wood coffins from Micheal's lying around, and they're just the right size! So a-painting I did go!

Here we have the bunch all together! How lovely. I put a ribbon on the lid to the base to keep the lid looking awesome, because the back (front)...

Has a little bat with button eyes and a web that kinda looks like it turned to stitching... kinda...

But wait! There's more!

It wasn't enough that I had a pumpkin pincushion with bat emery, and a coffin holder!

Nailed it.
I needed a skeleton hand holding it all, too.

Spook ya later!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: The Seamstress of Spooky Things.

For many of us, Hallowe'en is an important time.

It's sometimes as simple as the time of year to deck out or pads with things that will remain up for the rest of the year.
For me, it's a little bit of spiritual, a little bit of decorative flair, and lots of fun!

Unfortunately this year I feel like I haven't lived up to the "Halloweenie" title that has been bestowed upon me by my family and coworkers.

I haven't bought anything but Hallowe'en fabric this year, and the decorations that are up (the meager ones at that) were very last minute with a very small budget-- we're talking $20 at Dollartree, kinda budget. I didn't even get a pumpkin to carve...

I was working on a pretty exciting costume that I likely wasn't ever going to wear; first because I've never in my life been invited to the kind of gatherings that require dressing up, secondly I don't think there is a place in this new town that actually does something adult friendly that I could just waltz into.

Regardless of all those things, I was very excited to be working on a costume for once, but my machine had other plans... plans of not working properly anymore. I was forced to stop, pack 'er up and ship it away to get repaired. Thankfully it's only costing me the price of packing supplies, as it is still under the extended warranty.

So, I wanted to participate in Professor Z's monthly assignment, but the only place that is Halloweenie in my home is my creative laboratory, and even that is a work in progress.
Without further ado, I welcome you to my newest lab of excitements...

Here we have the view as you walk in. You might notice that I have the crappiest curtains ever to befall a place of creativity... that's going to change when my machine gets back to tip top shape. The only thing helping those awful curtains is the paper bat I purchased at Target, and some spooky windchimes I got at Dollar General.

Turning to the left you'll see my nook where my fabric, ironing station, scraps and other miscellaneous are kept.

You're quite lucky to be observing a closer look, because I've only just recently bolted all my fabric up and organized it by theme. I fear that if it had stayed in its past chaos the impact might not have made an impression. Each bolt carries an average of 2.5 yards-- the most holding 12 yards. I worry that one day that shelf will collapse under the weight of all that fabric... and this is a baby stash by many seamtress' standards. The taller bolts are shoved into the left cranny which cannot be seen clearly from this point of view. The boxes on the right carry more fabric, but are the ones that have very little use for my daily purposes. I ran out of bolts before I could finish the rest, thus the very top shelf is just neatly folded into meticulous piles, averaging about a 1 yard a bundle.
Most of it is, as you might've guessed, Hallowe'en themed.

Turning to the right wall, we can see my small stash of patterns, my various wood pressing aids, and a mini altar. It may sound like I'm bragging, but a genuine "trouble" (if you can call it that) of mine is my persistent flow of ideas, I have to temper it with meditation, thus I light an incense on my altar to create a sense of peace and focus whenever I am in there, because it is all too easy to get overwhelmed by all the things I want to make. Upon the altar there is various part of a deer (antler, vertebrae, skull) that were collected for me; to me the deer represents wisdom and tranquility. There is also a small jar of black riverstones that represent temperance and patience. It might not be the right representations, but they instill that within me and ultimately that's all that matters. I had all these in the past, but it never until moving here occurred to me to build an altar in my creative laboratory-- the place where it seems to make the most sense!

Moving along the wall, past my machine(s) table, we have the other side of the wall shelf. There is no altar upon this wall, but in some respects not any less special to me. Many of the trinkets and items were small gifts from friends and family all together adorning the shelves that hold many of my tools of the trade. You see that dalamation plush at the top there? That's Charlie, and he's as old as I am, and he still barks after all this time-- I can remember talking to Charlie as a child, whispering my wishes into his ear. I still do, from time to time.

To the right again, we see my handmade scissor shelf. sporting a few of the things that I bought/made/have been given. Below it, is a pegboard I framed in order to hang my bountiful array of rulers... but neglected to take a good photo of.

Next we pan out to see the right side of the room, which isn't much to discuss as it it simply a shelf for stabilizers, paddings, and whatnots. A shelf for all my sewing books, and of course my cutting table (which is really my dinning table that has been recently confiscated by me). You can't really tell but those lights lining it are litte purple bat lights.

You can see the lights just a tiny bit better from this photo-- these were given to me by my good friend from back in AZ. But you do get a good shot of two of my recent decorative purchases, the jack o'lantern rug procured in Target and the bat towel on my chair from K-mart. I put my knit hood onto the chair to make it that more batty... the material of the chair made it impossible to be comfortable, so that's really why I covered it all over.

Now that I've made this sufficiently long and windy... I think I'll end this post here, and hope that your Hallowe'en was a fabulous one!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: The Crafty Spirit of Halloween.

It's almost mid October, and I'm feeling a little guilty.

I have spent more than my "planned" budget, but boy... there was some pretty awesome things I couldn't live without-- my heart was swelling with how many goodies there were, especially in Target. Lots of their paper decorations this year were very retro. I bought a paper bat, naturally... I cannot resit anything that was inspired by old timey Halloween.

I went in there to browse their choice of shoes, but the overwhelming goodness of all that vintage inspired stuff prompted me to buy a cheap pair of canvas shoes in order to have more for the Halloweeny goodies... heh.

They're not much to look at, in fact as soon as I got home I regretted ever buying them...
I was thought why oh why did I ever think I would wear a very plain pair of shoes?! I wanted to return them (if so I could buy more Halloween sutff)... but it's not a trip my hubby likes making, since it's fairly far away.

How opportune it was that my package from Joann's came in and revealed the answer to my menial plight. I don't recommend ordering from Joann's online unless you're really desperate (such is usually my case), anyway I digress, they usually send a sheet with inspiration ideas along with a couple coupons... since it's October, they're projectspirations are all based around Halloween.

I saw this.

Source: Joann's Project Inspiration

A lightbulb went off in my head.
Good idea, Joann's... good idea.

I had plenty of left over silver fabric paint from stenciling the images of my smaller throw pillows, and lots of enthusiasm to see this project through.

I didn't use their template but several slightly more anatomically correct references, and started chalking the outline immediately.

I got a little too excited to show just the chalked lines, and remembered by the last two toes that I needed to take a progress picture.

I didn't want to leave them as they were, with just the silver, so I detailed them a little with some black fabric paint.

Until finally, I could call them done... ish...

I still haven't decided if I wanted to paint in the heel or add some glittery bats... time will tell, but for now-- they're not bad, if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: My Confessions.

One of Miss Space Unicorn's recent posts was inspired by another blogger in an event of admitting your biggest "geek confessions". This got me to thinking about mine... I could and was about to post about them, like the fact that I love comics but I'm not fond of Marvel or D.C. , or that I was an insufferable (but good) ninja during my WoW playing days, or even that I prefer DOTA2 over LoL despite the fact that LoL has more characters and more maps...

But, you know, I haven't been doing a whole lot of either of those things since the start of October, and even a little before then (though I did resub to SWTOR this past weekend). I've been sewing... a lot. Not just the things I have been sharing, but many many other things. Sewing to the point where even I don't think I could stitch another stitch... but I keep on stitching anyway. So you know that all I have on my mind is sewing... even if I probably need a break from it. Part of the reason I resubbed to swtor is to give me a reason to step away once I find time this upcoming deadline (Thursday, phew!). 

So I figured, why not confess my biggest "sewing confessions"?! Things that I should be ashamed of, but continue to do anyway...

Onto the confessions!

You know when they tell you not to do this, because you could accidentally swallow one? Well, it's true... believe me, and I don't know why I still have this habit having nearly swallowed them many times before-- even one time recently, when I attempted to speak Klingonese while draping onto my dressform... I was caught up in the passion of a particular space battle...


I should be really ashamed of this one, because it's one thing I actively try to advocate... but the truth is, I forget to change out the needle in my machines more often than someone so loud about this matter should.


I am a night owl under normal circumstances, so this wouldn't be so bad... except lately I have been pushing myself beyond my threshold, only because I just want to be done. Another poor choice is the poor lighting I have in my room, so I try and not to sew during the night... but that's hard to do as someone who is normally most active at night.


Probably my biggest and baddest confession, I can't always be bothered to change the tension of my machine. Jersey? Chiffon? Denim?? ... it's set where it is, and unless my machine starts sassing me, then and only then will I tinker with it.

That's that. Shocked? Maybe? Not really? Heh. In my defense, I never had someone to teach me sewing etiquette... I just had my books and my wits.

Feel free to comment with your own geeky or seamster confessions!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Seasonal Winds... and Blankets.

Last week we've endured quite the rainfall.
It rained for days straight, sometimes light but mostly just heavy, and as much as I enjoy a nice rainy day, a storm that lasted this long is not a welcome occurrence... I tend to start feeling the gloom of a rain that lasts for days.

Thankfully during the past couple days or so, the sky cleared up and today revealed itself to be one of those days so gorgeous that not even the rudest person could bring me down from the overwhelming tranquility.

Though the sun is still shining, the days are noticeably shorter and cooler-- because of this, my crafty thoughts have turned to my knitting, and well... sewing blankets.

I figured I might as well show my quilt top, as I don't think I'll be getting it quilted any time soon, since I'm not willing to settle for anything less than spiderwebs and bats.

I spy a little curious shadow...

For the briefest moment, I was able to lay this completely flat on the floor and take a decent shot of it, because usually it's like moths to the flame...

Lay anything large enough on the floor, and this happens like clockwork.
Each one completing a ritual of stretching before inevitably settling down to block your view. You can set your watch to this.

I admit, I am a little anxious that I can't quilt this right away, but I am loyal to my work and the people there so going to someone else (unless it's another friend) is out of the question.

Omitted myself from fussy cutting the orange blocks on purpose.

So, since I am sans a quilted blanket, I went ahead and bought some new minky we just got in and I've been dying for a reason to buy. With a quick snip and a stitch, I whipped up a brand new ultra snuggly blanket for the coming cold winter days.

Of course I laid it on the floor and waited for one of my favorite models to make it look much better...

If the fabric doesn't make you want it enough, then surely Khan can persuade anyone with his dashing suave.
It's so soft, so soft in fact I literally fell asleep while fawning over it today and almost missed work! I'm sure I looked attractive with bed head at work *cough*.

That's not the last blanket... I also have another one that's been in the making since last year, but could not decide what I wanted to accentuate it with. It's a Halloween printed fleece; jack 'o lanterns and candy corn on a black background. The way they look reminds me of vintage Halloween-esque... so it couldn't go with just anything.
At work we got a series of Halloween cottons called Jeepers Creepers that has exactly what I've been looking for, for this blanket.

It feels right. The fleece is starting to look a little dingy because regardless of being unfinished for so long, I still used it as a blanket for when I''m lounging on the couch.

I'm going to bind the entire blanket in the polka dot and create a border for the center panel in the pumpkins... all to hide edges.

I really love vintage Halloween memorabilia. It's the best thing since chocolate and candy corn martinis (thanks to Franny!).

As for my knitting... I've been doing it when I don't feel like sewing or gaming. I've made a trade with one good friend that I am really excited about. She is going to crochet me a death star pillow for my hubs, and in return I shall knit her a 13ft Dr. Who scarf.
If you were to ask me which Doctor's scarf it is, I'd simply shrug at you... I don't know anything about the lore, just that it exists and requires these colors, ahaha!

Who's the Who down in Whoville?
And once again, this isn't the only project I have been up to, but I can't divulge the slightest clues since they're gifts for the family (who read my blog likely to try and nab hints at what I am making them... =P).

I feel like a craftosaurus these days...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Spooky Basket: Meander.

It's 12am, and my brain is further from the thought of sleep than I care to indulge, especially on the dawn of a full days work--meaning early start.

I already popped my melatonin and await sleepy bliss.. but until then, I am positively swimming with passing thoughts, aggressive ideas and excitable anticipation. Not one correlating to the other, mind you.

Yeah, it's one of those nights.

Any other time, I oblige my sleeplessness because it's usually the only time when I can really push out my crafty delights before I inevitably crash.

Ok, I lied, maybe two of the above deal with each other...

On a lark over the weekend I decided I would start a quilt.
On Monday, I finished the quilt top.

A sneak peek from the weekend
This is my first time ever making a quilt, and I gotta say... it's definitely not as difficult as I've been led to think. I guess I could see how elitism could sprout from this sort of craft, and why there are entire shops and shows dedicated to quilting goods and materials.

I bought the book First Time Quiltmaking and I was able to dish out their most complicated pattern (granted, this is at a beginner's level) in roughly 24hrs-- give or take due to the breaks I took to work on other things.

I could've easily just have asked my boss to give me some pointers to begin my quilting endeavors, but you know me... I gotta learn "the hard way".
My justification? I can tell my friends and readers whether it's a good book to learn from, and it is.

If someone like me, who is terrible with math (even though I strive with all my heart) and pinpoint accuracy that leaves a lot to be desired, can learn to craft a decent quilt from reading just one fairly short book on the subject? Then surely anyone can. It's the cost of quilting that should be the bother... rulers, rotary blades, and cutting mats aren't exactly cheap. Then you have to decide whether quilting and binding it yourself is worth your time.
Binding is a four letter word; it's probably the most tedious thing about quilting and, for me, detracts from the pleasure of quilting-- I'm not alone either or there would not be such a demand for it in the shop.
Doing anything other than a meander on your own machine might result in tears of frustration. If you go to a professional long arm quilter you can have large silhouettes in complete themes!... Like I am hoping for mine (bats, spiderwebs and filigree). But then there's the cost of quilting it professionally... though, it's kinda worth it, and I'm not just saying that because I work at a fabric/quilt shop-- I am saying it because it adds such an awesome final touch to a quilt.

I'm not certain when I'll get mine quilted, as I am waiting for a window to open up at work since we're incredibly backed up by quilts that need that kind of treatment.

As for the book. It is great, but it is also very short. To judge the price of the book for the amount of content, I would say it's probably best to buy it used because you're not going to get a lot of mileage from this book before you're ready to advance-- and let's face it, leave it on your shelf to collect dust.
Now, if the intent is to make the reader lust for more quilting conquests in such a short and sweet way, then I'd say they succeeded because I am thirsty for more...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Copy Bat Strikes Once More.

'Tis our season, my pretties! There is no inspiration quite like the first glimpse of a jack o' lantern smiling back at you when you enter any shop, or the whiff of piles and piles of candy and pumpkin pie pervading the grocers; the harbingers of joy to many creepily inclined souls.

Nothing gets me in the mood to craft faster than the slew of delightful materials available to me during this time. I could spend a couple million in a day, no doubt, during this joyous time of year.

Regular function

This year has inspired me to finally test out the embroidery function of my beloved Brother SE400. I already knew I loved my machine, but after the past couple days did I realize I am completely and irrevocably smitten over my machine. It's true, it may not be built to last like its much older relatives that are still sought after today, and it may need more babying too... but let not its modernesque detract you from its capabilities. It just may surprise you.

Embroidery machine formed up and ready to stitch out!

After drooling for what feels like the thousandth time over the embroidery designs at Urban Threads, wondering if my machine was even capable of quality stitched embroidery designs, I finally had enough and just took the plunge.

I purchased their Gothic Lace Bat design. $3.00 seemed a lot to spend on something I wasn't even fully confident would work, and it's not like it's tangible data... if it didn't work out, it would just be a folder stored forever in my external hard drive. $3.00 could buy me a cone of much needed black thread!

It's funny, but what spurred my plunge is yet another moment of longing, but waiting for the right moment to buy.
I love those gothic rockabilly cardigans with the embroidered shoulders, you know the ones; you've probably seen a few of your favorite bloggers sport them with pride.

Source: Sourpuss, currently unavailable

The problem with waiting is that when that "right time", that moment when you've finally convinced yourself that it is worth it to you to spend the money (even though it would blow your entire crafting budget out of the month), when it all finally comes to a head... suddenly it's gone, and ebay might be your only way to obtain it from a seller you've never bought from before, thus perpetuating the cycle.

I was fully intending on buying this cardigan... but now that it's gone from my clutches, its released my inner copy bat from the deepest depths of my being; the closet wants, what the closet needs.
So I must make do with my ingenuity.

I shopped around my closet for things I haven't worn in a few years, and dug up a tired looking cardigan that is 8 years old for myself, but likely older since it was thrifted those many years ago.

The subject
Pretty basic, but fit the bill for my needs! So, I had the design, and the foundation cardigan... next was to shop around work for what I needed.

Stabalizer, machine embroidery thread, buttons, hoop, and scissors.
The markings of a great time.
Since the shoulder area is too narrow to hoop, it was in the best interest of my project to make little lace appliques. Because this is lace, I couldn't just use any type of stabilizer, or I would risk having too many white flecks within the scrollwork of the lace when trying to remove regular stabilizer. So I bought a roll of water soluble stabilizer by Sulky.

The most essential tool in machine lace making. It really does dissolve in water, and it only takes a minute or two to completely dissolve away.

Something that always makes me nervous when it comes to machine embroidery is the thread. Most people who sew know the tyranny embroidery thread holds onto our sanity. It's so pretty to look at, but an utter pain in the ass. It wiggles and squirms the opposite way you're trying to direct it, it doesn't like being handled roughly in the slightest, in fact it hates any type of needle but top stitch and embroidery, and to add to all that, it's the most expensive kind of thread there is because it's normally made from silk in the finest weight.

I wasn't ready to waste my purple thread on something untested... so I used some off white spool I had purchased a few years back with the machine (because I thought I would use this function soon than later).

I had my stabilizer hooped, and my machine prepped (after reading the manual over at least 3 times).
It was the moment of truth.

When I selected the design, what looked like a Rorschach blot vaguely resembling a bat appeared on the screen of my machine... not the best sign, to say the least.

*Whirr* went the machine.
After I engaged the machine, it began doing its thing... which also started to resemble the Rorschach blot in the beginning...
When the machine finally beeped finished (20 mins later), to my shock and thrill...

It actually looked exactly like what I wanted. Not a single stitch out of place.
The pride I felt was nothing short of high.

Naturally, I had this seething desire to embroider this bat onto anything plain and a little uninspiring... but that seems a little excessive. It wasn't easy sticking to the original plan, but I managed it

It's amazing what a few pieces of applique and a change of buttons will do to an otherwise plain and boring article of clothes. This is precisely why I never throw or donate any of my clothing, because somewhere in time I will find a way to breathe new life into... but it also doesn't help my closet space problems, just adds to it...

I do intend on modeling this, but I would like to complete the dress that I feel would go so well with it first!

Time to buy more embroidery designs!
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