Analysis paralysis

Circle of rainbow raspberry kiss blocks

With nearly enough blocks to start assembling my quilt top, analysis paralysis has set in.  I have a rainbow of colors, but should they be arranged in rainbow order or not?

The random order is a little less obvious than a classic rainbow, but do the colors get jumbled with such a variety?

Raspberry kiss - 81 blocks in random order

Then again, although rainbow order is super cliche, do the colors look more harmonious in a more organized layout?

Raspberry kiss - 81 blocks in rainbow order

Or should I do something else entirely?  Perhaps a hybrid of the two?

The quilt is currently 81 blocks strong (9 x 9), and I think I’m going to make 18 more, for a total of 99 (9 x 11).  So, I have some wiggle room to adjust the color scheme a bit, perhaps making more of one color than another.

I think I know what I want to do, and it involves a bit more rearranging.  What do you think?  Honest opinions welcome!

Amidst chaos, there is sewing

Raspberry kiss - green blocks during assembly

Amidst the chaos that seems to define the most recent events in world news, American politics, and my day-to-day life, there has been sewing.  Calming, peaceful, and focused sewing.  Do you sew to drown out the chaos?  I know I do.  It works pretty well, at least temporarily.  :)

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Sewing room improvement: small but significant

Sewing room improvement - table risers - close up

Have you ever taken 5 minutes to do something and think to yourself, “Why didn’t I do this AGES ago???”

This past weekend I walked across the street and spent a whopping $11 and made a major improvement to my sewing room.  I bought four all-purpose plastic tubs, propped up my sewing table with them, and saved myself a ton of back pain.

I was truly amazed what this extra 8 inches or so of height did for my back.  I feel like a complete idiot – I should have done this ages ago.

Sewing room improvement - table risers

As you can see above, my sewing table is now level with my ironing board, which is a good sign that the table is now at an adequate height for working while standing.

You can also see how my desk is blocked when the “studio” is set up.  BTW, this is actually the desk I am writing this post in right now.  :)

I don’t know how long these plastic tubs will last, but for $11, I don’t really care.  I’m just happy that I have temporarily overcome my idiocy and managed to fix this extremely fixable problem.  Hooray!

On managing people: a rookie’s perspective

Managing people

My new job never ceases to challenge me.  I’ve talked about it before, wondering how long it would take for things to calm down after a tumultuous transition from grad student to postdoc.  But you know what?  I’ve come to the conclusion that things are not going to calm down.  Stress, anxiety, and exhaustion are my new normal.  I know I’m not alone in dealing with work-related stress, and in the grand scheme of things am doing pretty well in life, but man, this is tough!

I think it’s safe to say that the work I’ve been doing lately is, hands down, the most challenging work I’ve ever done in my life.

The latest challenge?  Managing.  At 36 years old, this is the first time I’ve been responsible for a bunch of people on a daily basis.  This summer I have five students working for me full time, a combination of undergraduates and high school students.  Thankfully all the students are wonderful, very bright and motivated, and really a pleasure to work with.  The challenging part is keeping everyone moving forward simultaneously.

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A quilting diversion

Raspberry kiss blocks in progress

I spent nearly 8 hours on Saturday cutting out fabric for my floral Robson… and I’m still not finished!  That’s on top of all the cutting I did the previous weekend.  I’m starting to think that I may have overdone it will all the layers on this coat.  So far I’ve finished cutting all the flannel interlining and the main fabric, in addition to most of the lining pieces.  I still have to finish the lining, cut out all the interfacing, and cut the hair canvas that I got for the front facings/lapels.  Will I ever be ready to start actually sewing this beast???

No pictures of the coat this week.  Just imagine a heap of cut fabric.  A large heap.

Because I needed a break after all that cutting, I whipped up a few quilt blocks.  I’m using this free raspberry kiss pattern and the leftover scraps from my Aqueduct Quilt.  These were so quick and fun compared to the hell of coat fabric cutting.  Wait, did I say HELL?  Isn’t sewing supposed to be FUN??  Let’s just say that cutting is not my favorite part of the sewing process!

Anyway… back to this little quilting diversion.

Raspberry kiss blocks - early block

I think my blocks are getting better as I go along.  The block above was one of my first, and you can see some puckering along the interior seams.  Later, the blocks seemed to lie much flatter, as you can see below.  Progress!

Raspberry kiss blocks - late block

I have a bunch more blocks cut out and ready to sew, mostly blues and pinks to add to the mix.

Fabric cut for more raspberry kiss blocks

For now though, my main focus is still on the Robson.  I’m really looking forward to starting the sewing process, assuming I ever make it thorough the abyss of cutting.  Oh cutting, why do you torment me so??

Hope you’re all having a good week!

Epic fabric cutting in progress

Robson Trench - black bias binding

There is going to be a ton of fabric cutting for my floral Robson trench.  This weekend, I started to make a dent.  Above, feast your eyes on approximately 12 yards of bias binding.  This took me an entire afternoon!

Robson Trench - flannel interlining fabric cut

I also cut out all the flannel interlining…

Robson Trench - starting to cut floral cotton sateen

… and started on the main floral fabric.  Confession: I almost cut out these front facing pieces with the print upside down!  I’m so glad I caught it in time.

Lots more cutting to go, including the slippery rayon lining which I always hate cutting.  I need to find a zen-like state of inner peace before I attempt this.  :)

I won’t finish this coat anytime soon, but I hope you’ll enjoy seeing little bits of progress here and there.  Stay tuned!

Resurrecting the beast

Sewaholic Robson pattern pieces

Guess what I dug out of my pattern storage bin this weekend?  My Robson trench!  Yeah!!!  You may recall that I did a ton of work on this pattern in January during a week-long sewcation, which ultimately resulted in me throwing out my back.  Not fun.  But you know what IS fun?  Returning to a complicated pattern with nearly all of the hard work (muslining and fitting) already done.

The keyword being NEARLY.

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Aqueduct Quilt – finished!

Aqueduct Quilt - finished

My Aqueduct Quilt is finally finished, hooray!  This was a really fun and rewarding project, from the initial sketches through fabric selection, piecing, and quilting.  It took me about nine months from start to finish (with a long period of inactivity in the middle), but I’m glad I persevered and finally finished it.

You can read all about the design and sewing process in my series of in-progress posts.

And now, onto the photos!

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A whirlwind May

Three t-shirts from jersey scraps

Where did the entire month of May go?  I remember it being April, then I blinked, and now it’s June.  I purposely didn’t participate in Me-Made-May this year because I knew my schedule was going to be insane, but I really enjoyed following along with all your posts and pictures.  So what was I up to?  Lots of work, lots of travel, and yes, even some sewing.  :)

Just this weekend I sewed up three quick t-shirts, the colorful array you see above.  These tops may be “boring as hell” (one of my new favorite phrases), but they’re perfect for wearing to work in the summer.  These tops were a total stash bust.  I used random scraps of cotton jersey leftover from other projects and managed to patch together 3 functioning garments.  The colorblocking was more of a necessity than a design decision given the size of my scraps, but I think they came out ok.  The pattern is my hacked Renfrew (I made 3 identical tops last summer), and the fabric is all Laguna jersey.  Each top uses <1 yard of fabric.

This was the best photo I could get on a very gloomy and rainy Sunday afternoon.  My motivation for taking photos of myself for the blog has evaporated lately, so you’ll just have to imagine them on me.

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