This post isn’t even remotely crafty or nerdy, so for those of you who follow the blog for my craft projects or nerdy rambles, I’m sorry. If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll notice that I do occasionally talk about my life here – and, well, some pretty big stuff has happened in my life recently.
The biggest thing: I GOT MY DRIVER’S LICENSE.
Yes, after seventeen years of anxiety, terror of piloting a vehicle at speeds faster than 20 mph, three scooters, one moped, and two cars, I’ve finally got my driver’s license. At the ripe old age of 35. But I did it.
I recently finished my second quilt. It’s nothing super fancy – I ordered a sampler pack of 10-inch squares of the Luna Sol sampler from Connecting Threads, cut them all in half, and stitched triangles together until I had a quilt. Hand-quilting sounded like an amazing idea when I first finished it, and while I was absolutely tired of this quilt by the time I got to adding the binding, I am pretty happy with the hand quilting.
This quilt is not without its faults. As you can see in the picture, I stitched one row in the wrong direction – and didn’t realize it until I’d finally pieced the sucker out and laid it out for this picture. I almost gave up on the darn thing then, to be honest, but then I took a closer look at that picture, and plotted out how I’d hand stitch things. I ended up going with a sort-of lightning bolt arrangement of geometric shapes for the quilting. It still looks a little awkward, but hey, I made it a beautiful sort of awkward.
Shortly after starting the hand quilting, I found another issue in the quilt – two squares weren’t exactly stitched together, and were coming apart in one corner.
It was at this point where I said “screw it, this quilt is already imperfect, I’m just going to stitch the hole closed and carry on, maybe patch over it when I’m done.” And I did the patch you see above, and then went on about my quilting.
But the more I worked on this quilt, the more I saw it as something of a self-portrait. It was imperfect, just like me. It’s got some rough patches and parts that were hastily fixed. It’s got some awkward bits. But in the end? It turned out beautiful.
It’s a perfectly-sized little lap quilt, and I absolutely love how soft the fabric is. Plus, the little bunnies are adorable. (One of my nicknames is Beth-bun, so that may have highly influenced the choice of fabric, heh.) Despite all the hiccups in making it, I love how it turned out. And it really is a self portrait, in quilt form. Awkward, not quite perfect, but wonderful all the same.
I know, I know – I didn’t post last week. And here it is, Wednesday, and I’m just now getting around to this week’s post.
Long story short, I’m pretty overwhelmed at the moment. Changes at work, combined with nearing the end of my final semester of grad school, with extra anxiety thrown on top, has made things a bit of a mess for me lately. And trying to keep it all together lately is a bit of a struggle.
I’ve been trying to find ways to calm my brain down, and reduce my stress – mostly they involve crafting. I picked up quilting recently, and the intense focus quilting requires has done a good job at not giving my brain any room to process anxiety.
That’s been helpful on the anxiety front, but not quite so much for the schoolwork front. I’ve been trying to balance it all, and I’ll admit, I’m not doing a very good job of that. And on top of it all, with so many work changes going on, things just are a discombobulated mess for me right now.
So, I apologize for not having anything of substance to share the past couple of weeks. I’ll at least try to share some nerdy stuff next week, and post any quilting stuff I’m doing to help keep my brain sane, but bear with me if it doesn’t end up being as awesome as usual.
Thanks for sticking with me, readers – I do all this for you. And a little bit for me, because I don’t want to overwhelm poor Ross with my crafty ramblings. 🙂
The very first crafting obsession I ever had was sewing. I learned how to sew by hand in Sunday school, back when I was 8 years old, and I turned out to be pretty good at it. And on top of that, I really enjoyed it. Really, really enjoyed it. So much so that I was shortly begging my dad to take me to the nearest Jo-Ann Fabrics, two towns over. And when he did take me, it was like walking into craft heaven.
And thus, my crafting addiction was born, with scraps of fake fur fabric from the remnants bin, a couple of sewing needles, and some thread. I made a rather homely looking bear, and then another homely looking animal, and then kept on sewing until my skills were passably good. I even made a tiny doll quilt with the help of one of my neighbors! I went on to make bigger and better things – clothing for dolls, clothing for myself, Halloween costumes, another quilt, and more stuffed animals.
The last sewing project I embarked on, until very recently, was my giant Toothless plush that I made back in 2012. You’ve all seen pictures of him. I’ve posted about him a bazillion times. And aside from sewing on the odd button on a shirt, or patching up the antique quilt I picked up in the Adirondacks years ago, I haven’t really sewn anything since. Crocheting and cross-stitching and many other crafts got in the way, unfortunately, and my poor old sewing machine languished at the bottom of closets or in the garage for a while, waiting for me to pick it back up again.
And thanks to the need for curtains, combined with a gift card for Jo-Ann Fabrics from my little sister-in-law, I broke out my trusty Brother sewing machine and picked up the fine art of stitching again. I’m not amazing with a machine yet – I can do straight lines, and I know the basics of how to operate my sewing machine, but all the fancy options this guy has are kind of intimidating. Curtains don’t need fancy stitching, though.
Aaaaand I made myself some curtains! They’re pretty, and perfect for my craft room. It feels more lived-in in here, far cozier than it used to.
During the process of making those curtains, I realized how much I missed sewing. As I said, it’d been years since I’d picked it up, and I had fun doing it, so I was looking for other sewing projects to do – and one fell into my lap during a trip to, you guessed it, Jo-Ann’s. My friend Kasi and I had headed over there so Kasi could get some thread and we could drool over yarn, and we almost walked out with little stacks of their Sweet Roll yarn, when we wandered over to the quilting section and found fabric we each fell in love with. Neither of us had done any sewing projects in a while, and Kasi found so many beautiful collections of bright fabric she wanted to make a quilt from. Me, I found fabric with scooters on it. SCOOTERS. I took it as a sign, gathered up both bundles that had the scooter fabric in it as well as some other pre-cut fabric, and set out to make a scooter quilt.
I’m using a Jelly Roll strip bundle in various black patterns, as well as a bundle of quilt fabric with roses, scooters, and the Eiffel Tower, oddly enough (I thought scooters were big in Italy, not France), and I’m doing a combination of strips and squares. This is what I’ve got so far – and I’ll post updates as I go along. The scooter quilt, as I’m calling it, is going to be mostly hand sewn – I might get lazy and do the actual quilting on the machine, but we’ll see. So far, I’m still piecing things together. I’m glad I got back into sewing, though – it’s something different to occupy my hands with, and it’s also something I’ve missed doing.
You’ve noticed it. I’ve noticed it. I’ve neglected The Crafty Nerd pretty seriously during the second half of 2016. And some of it has been due to good reasons, like moving to a new house, celebrating a wedding, grad school, work, and so on. Some of it has been due to sheer laziness and a little bit of depression mixed in. I want to change that, though! I’m coming out of my unintentional hiatus with a much-needed blog facelift.
Now it’s got a fancy Material Design-inspired theme, which I enjoy, and will likely have a header image added soon – haven’t decided on that yet, and if I do stick a header in, I’m not sure if I’m going to create a new one or use one of the old ones. Either way, hopefully a shiny new blog theme will encourage me to post more. And I have plenty of blog post ideas – just have to actually type them up!