Sunday, March 6, 2011

Real life and mug rugs!

There has been very little crafting done in the FairyFace household this week. After finishing the PictureBox quilt I found myself somewhat mentally exhausted from big projects and decided to take a little break for a night or two. But then real life, in the form of my job, rudely interrupted my sewing plans for the week, and suddenly I found myself here this weekend with barely a stitch sewn! It's been truely, exhaustingly busy in work this week; I had a massive deadline to meet for Friday and it took a lot of hours and every last ounce of energy I had to get there. I was completely incapable of even doing some handsewing in the evenings when I got home.

I felt like I barely saw the kids or Himself all week too, so when I finally got home on Friday night, I spent a nice evening on the sofa enjoying my lovey hubbie's company and spent all day yesterday doing things with the kids. We went to Fitzgerald's park - a lovely big park with a great playground - in the city, and then I treated us to pizza in Milanos for lunch, the kids favourites. We have eaten out very very rarely in the last number of months, so it was a real treat. We then went and bought E her long promised big girl's bed, a real milestone! Its all made up today and ready for her first big sleep in it tonight.

All the time supervising colouring/drawing/painting this weekend gave me a little time to sketch out some designs for blankets and quilts, which are still very much work in progress but getting there. I also made some progress writing up my tute for the PictureBox quilt but its not finished yet unfortunately!

Seeing as I'm spending so much time in work these days (that's not looking set to change in the short term either) and I wanted a quick and easy little project to make me feel I'd achieved something, I took some inspiration from my friend Fi and made my first mug rug. I'm going to bring it in to work to brighten up my desk :-) I wanted to try out some free motion quilting, as I'm determined my next quilt will be quilted like this, so this was a perfect size project to get in some practice.

I cut some 3" strips of fabric, then piled them on top of each other (the alternate ones upside down) and ironed them together and cut them into a simple wedge shape, all at once. Once I had them sewn together, I trimmed it into a 7" square. I picked a totally different cupcake fabric for the back, to make it reversible, but actually I'm not sure I really like it now its done!

I got out the free motion foot and off I went. I found it a little tricky and the stitching is quite uneven but I got the hang of moving the fabric around to get the quilting line to flow, so next time I'll focus more on the stitches. I also decided to handsew the binding onto the back to finish (I normally machine sew my bindings) and discovered that I much prefer the look of a machine sewn binding to a "proper" hand-finished binding. Glad I figured that one out on a small project, rather than spending all that time doing a big quilt to discover it!!

Free motion quilters, I have a question: - do you set your stitch length to 0 and control your own stitch length or do you let the machine do its thing and set it to 4 or 6 or whatever? And do you have any tips for a beginner?

And - to all the other mammies out there who craft and look after a family and even hold down a job too - any tips for managing it all? Sometimes, it just gets overwhelming, doesn't it?

I'll be linking this up to Fabric Tuesday on Quiltstory, Stitchin' Weekend on That Girl, That Quilt and some other great blogs; check out the links on my sidebar!!


Sheila said...

Yep, set your stitch length to 0, if you have needle down facility, it helps, remember to breathe and you can also stop now and again!

Rhonda the Rambler said...

I recently decided to learn to machine quilt so I did a great deal of research. You know the split between prewash and don't? Well, it is sort of the same thing with stitch length. Some people say set it to 0 others say leave it as it is. My decision? Find what works for me and go with that!

As far as finding time? That I am the worst for giving advice on. I have children, husband and a very demanding job. I simply get into my studio when I can. AND I don't guilt when I can't. I used to beat myself up about it because I wanted to be in there all the time and all these projects that needed completion. Then one day decided NO MORE! I simply do what I can, when I can.

patchworkdelights said...

As Quilter in the Gap says "find out what works for me and go with that", I would agree, whatever you prefer.

Finding time; ditto up until two wks ago I found that I felt guilty when I was quilting or when I was spending time with family I felt I should be doing some sewing.

CHILLLLLAAXE as my Antony would say, you work full time, you have a family, and you do your sewing when you can, you are better spending a productive couple of hours on your work (patchwork) then a rushed 30 mins here and there.

I learnt my lesson two wks ago, when I thought I was loosing my mind! I was pushing myself too far and something had to give!

Your mug rug looks lovely and will brighten up any desk at work!


Elizabeth Dackson said...

I think your little mug rug is adorable! As for stitch length and FMQ'ing, I've never touched my stitch length. I put my feed dogs down, and then I manually control my stitch length by how I move the quilt around. You'll find what works for you, and then you'll stick with it.

Jess said...

That's a gorgeous mug rug!

Wendy said...

What a lovely mug rug. Making one of these babies is high on my to do list. I've never FM quilted, but I have FM embroidered, and the stitch length doesn't make any different if you have your feed dogs down as it's the speed you move your work. I've often read you put your foot down and move the fabric slowly.

the gathering girls said...

Very cute mug rug!

Megan said...

Oh your mug rug looks great. As far a FMQ goes, practice, practice, practice. :) And a glass of wine beforehand usually helps. Thanks for linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday!

Beth said...

I love your mug rug! As far as I know, when you free motion quilt, the stitch length is all on you. I've only done it once a long time ago, but I'd like to get the hang of it. Today, actually, I'm taking a long arm class and will be quilting my newly finished twin sized quilt in the process....I'm so excited!!

Sara @ Sew Sweetness said...

I've never done free motion, but yours looks very good! I enjoyed the colors you chose for your mug rug, especially the Tufted Tweets!

KD-Quilts said...

I love your mug rug!

As far as FMQ stitch length I have done both Honestly, I couldn't tell that much of a difference. So I just leave it as is and go!

Oh Sew Addicted said...

I really love the colors of the mug rug! Great job!

Jennifer said...

Very nice! One of the the reasons I love mug rugs is because I can practice new techniques on a small "quilt".

I'm a wife, mom, and work full time outside the home and balancing is hard sometimes. Just make sure that you have some time set aside for you to relax and de-stress.

Jennifer :)

Quiltstory said...

Love your mug rugs!! The free motion quilting looks awesome! Thanks for linking to Fabric Tuesday.

PS Don't be too hard on yourself!! Life is tough and it's hard to balance.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks so much for linking up! This mug rug is so cute! I'm featuring you on Made With Love this Monday!

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

Great mug rug! A perfect size piece for practicing free-motion sewing. On balancing everything - I like to make BIG projects, but have learned to really love the smaller projects too so I get something "done". Gifting them or using them around my own home really makes me feel good. A little bit at a time adds up without eating into your family time. Cheers! Evelyn

The Patchwork Heart said...

Hello from a new follower! I have just discovered mug rugs too and came across yours when googling pics! We have much in common with our work/life balance do visit me!
Heather x