Stitching a Colorful Life

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Fearless is going after what you want in life even though you might fall short at times. As a budding maker, I’ve experienced a lot of failures through projects. Sometimes, I didn’t have the best material or I didn’t follow the instructions carefully. However, my goal is to live a colorful and creative life. Living creatively means brushing off fear.

Have you ever woke up one morning and asked yourself “why am I not going after the things that matter to me in life.” Why am I not following my dreams? It doesn’t have to be anything as challenging as finding a new career or traveling across the globe.  It could be cooking out of your dream kitchen, building a new wardrobe, and hosting a fabulous dinner party. Maybe you always wanted to be more social or meet new friends. There are these quiet dreams inside of us that we wish we could explore, but life’s lows can get in the way.

I looked at myself one day, and I was tired of the boring clothes I was wearing to work. I would go to the same tops that were easy to pull over while I dragged myself to work each day. I sure you can relate. You stop putting effort into your day. You quit making lunch. The small wins don’t mean anything. You stop participating in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Eventually, you find yourself stuck in a rut with several developed bad habits.

Dragging to work with the same clothes on each day was irritating me. I found it a challenge to stay motivated. I told myself that I would work on taking care of my appearance. I wanted a creative life, so why not style myself in my own unique way.  I love being creative with my hands. So, learning how to crochet seemed like the perfect creative opportunity to help me work on my appearance. I didn’t necessarily wanted to go out and purchase a finished product, but I wanted to create more looks out of styles I envisioned.

I also had a desire to get back into learning how to crochet. The crochet patterns attracted me. However, the last time I tried to attempt to crochet was  during the summer of 2016. My skills were very rusty. Honestly, I wasn’t very great at crochet.  But, I decided to give it another shot. I took the yarn that was going to waste  in my craft box, and I started practicing single crochet stitches. I would crochet for a while and then I would simply rip the stitches out.

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I wasn’t focusing on failing, but learning and relaxing my mind. I did my best to count my stitches as I carried on. I ripped out the stitches again and started thinking about developing a small project. I had my heart set on a colorful scarf. With a lot of help from YouTube tutorials, I learned how to add a ball of yarn to a crochet project, weave ends, and single crochet the seams of both ends of the project making an infinity scarf.

I know some will find my idea shallow, but for me I felt as if I was taking back a small piece of my life. I wasn’t simply dragging through the day. I was making myself happy. I wanted to live a more colorful life, and instead of dreaming about it, I started thinking of ways I could achieve it.

After completing my first crochet project, I decided that I would continue on with new projects. I want to take simple steps each week to live a more colorful life. I waste enough time just dragging through the day, complaining about work, or wishing I was in in someone else’s shoes. You only get one life.

Do you have a desire to thrive? Tired of being in a rut? Where do you start?

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Baby Quilt in Progress

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I wish I had all the time in the world to create, but at the moment my nerves have been bothering me in regards to my latest baby quilt. Honestly, I really enjoy making baby quilts and blankets. I feel like it’s one of the most useful things I’ve ever sewed so far. I feel like outside of work I get to enter this whimsical world of joy. I get to be at place that reminds of happiness.

However, the state of  bliss ends when I make mistakes. Sewing can be frustrating, but making mistakes is part of learning. You can’t get around it. You will ruin fabric. It’s just part of the process. There are days you will sew and then there are days when you will spend time ripping seams. Binding gives me the most trouble lately. Sometimes, I wish I had a quilting instructor to walk with me through the process of binding a quilt. I find the process nerve wracking because getting accurate mitered corners has been a challenge for me. At this time, I’ve been reviewing different techniques on binding a quilt through Craftsy and YouTube. I keep telling myself that I’m going to get through it. I’m going to somehow find the time and the energy to finish my “back to school” inspired quilt. The not “finishing part” of the project is giving me anxiety.

When I first started the “back to school” quilt, it was almost a project that ended up in the trash pile of projects that just didn’t work out. I chose a free quilt pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop, called the Jelly Roll Jam Quilt. I would eventually learned that there are a lot of things to consider before diving right into a quilt pattern.

Last year,  I purchased two jelly roll sets. A jelly roll is a named of a specific pre-cut coined by Moda Fabrics. Its a large roll of strips measuring 2.5″ x 42.” For Moda Fabrics, a jelly roll contains 40 strips of fabric from a particular fabric line. Keep in mind that the not all jelly rolls are created equally. The term can change depending on what fabric company. For instance, Riley Blake Designs refers to their rolled strips of fabric as “rolie polies.” Not all jelly rolls contain 40 strips of fabric. You have to pay attention to the amount of fabric strips you need while doing your fabric shopping.

Precut fabric reminds me of sweet candy actually, and I wanted to look for ideas on how to use them. I thought a free quilt pattern would be an opportunity to start using my fabric stash. One of the cute precuts I had on hand was from a fabric line called Tree Party by Kelly Panacci for Riley Blake Designs. It’s a super cute fabric line, that reminds me of having fun in the fall. The woodland animals appear so bright and cheery on the fabric.  You can’t help, but get happy while sewing.

 

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After diving into the project, I realized that I didn’t have enough strips on hand. I was hesitant to cut into the yardage of fabric I purchased from the same fabric line. I found another set of fabric strips that were in my stash that seemed to complement my project. The fabric strips were from the fabric line Crayola by Riley Blake Designs as well. Somehow, I was able to piece the strips together for the pattern. However, I ran into more problems. I accidently measured and cut incorrectly at least twice ruining some of my fabric pieces forcing me to improvise and alter the pattern.

I failed at the pattern, but I didn’t want the fabric to go to waste. I did the best I could to work on piecing what I had together to create a quilt top. In my mind, I knew that I had made various mistakes throughout the project. It’s hard not to feel disappointed, but I had to keep going. I know that if I plan on working on patterns in the future then I must work strategically. It would start with making sure I have correct amount of material on hand. I will be writing a future blog post on steps to take while working from a sewing or quilt pattern.

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Despite my mistakes and failures, when I showcased my quilt top no one really noticed or cared about my errors, but me. I actually received a few questions about making baby quilts and blankets. I’m not an expert. I make sure I tell people that directly. In the future, I could become an expert and a designer at making baby quilts. What’s stopping me from working hard and gaining new skills?

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My advice for newbie quilters and sewist is to keep going. I’ll admit that there will be projects that turn into disasters, and you might not ever want to return to them again. Maybe I’m a hoarder of some type, but I no longer just through away fabric from my failures. That fabric can be saved to do all sorts of patchwork. I say move beyond your failures, search for new ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.