Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bringing Baby Home

I've been on the hunt for a vintage Bernina 830 ever since I stumbled upon one for $15 in a local resale shop. That one had unfortunately been dropped and was not going to run smoothly, no matter the cleaning it endured. However, in a spontaneous Craigslist search, I stumbled upon another one that was left over from an estate sale near my home with all of the attachments, a table, and its classic red case. Score!

My family offered to purchase it for me as a graduation gift, so my aunt and I drove out to pick it up in Troy. It's previous owner, Gracie, had kept it in immaculate condition until she'd moved to a rest home, so all it needed was a good clean to get the solidified grease moving again. Now it's my new machine!

As in all transitions, I am uneasy with the newness of the situation (I'm not much for change) but I think it will be lovely. This Bernina already sews better with its walking foot than my Brother, handsome even stitches as long as I don't floor it, and to be honest, reliable straight-line quilting is probably one of the things I value most in a machine. I look forward to getting to know my new baby more in the coming weeks and going on some crazy sewing adventures together! Yippee!

What's do you value most in your machine?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Experimenting

Summer experimenting used to mean trying out new mudpie recipes, but this summer it's printing on pieced tops and matchstick quilting. One of my last weeks in the art building at school, I printed several layers on top of each other on a simple quilt top. Although it's a bit muddy, it is also a wonderful canvas for exploring new quilting ideas. Some free-motion quilting carved out the blooms, tracing certain layers, and now matchstick quilting invades from the borders. It's a soothing afternoon task, but it takes so long! I've only finished about an eighth of the quilt, and I can't even imagine how long it will take me to do the rest...

Any great book suggestions to listen to on CD as I go?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at the lovely Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Chai and Binding

Our screened-in porch is one of my happy places, calm and breezy with the voices of the woods. This morning I get to finish hand-stitching a binding out here with a mug of chai latte. Have you ever bought chai concentrate? It's practically the cost of one chai latte and makes almost ten cups! Bliss in a carton.

Yesterday I finished my Lone Star to the tune of Gossip Girl. I may or may not have finished six episodes of season two as well. Watching the series for the second time lends new hilarious insights. Serena asks to meet with GossipGirl in the season finale and he (or she...) actually shows up but you don't realize it...ha! I digress.

Sunday I had a slow and steady afternoon of quilting a baby quilt on which my mum and I collaborated. I'm excited to show y'all once the binding is attached. All in all a great week so far. I do seem to be accidentally sewing several quilts in the same color scheme, but oh well. The heart picks fabrics as it may.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Learning and Lulls

Gosh, sometimes things just don't go quite as you planned, y'know? I've been struggling a bit with selecting the perfect palette for my summer collection and on the fabric designing front as well. This lull in bubbly creative energy has lead me to do other previously undesirable tasks, such as filing for Michigan business status and whipping up some knitting I'd been putting off for months. Despite this dip, I finished two tops today and quilted one. I already know what I will change if I make similar quilts, but hey, progress is progress, right? And mistakes mean you're learning.

I think I need to tell myself that again. Mistakes mean you're learning.

Linked up to my WIP Wednesday support group over at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Barefoot Thank you

Sometimes I find it important to think back on the week and realize how truly lovely it was.

In the warm winds and blossoming sun of summer, I received my very own squeegee in the mail. The postman simply rang the bell and left the package by the door, but upon hearing it, I flew threw the house, threw open the door, saw it, and ran partway down the driveway to shout a barefoot "thank you" after him. What a wonderful Tuesday treat.

Wednesday I was blessed with a final surge of motivation to finish my business plan after many weeks reading books, mapping ideas, and dreaming. I am excited to announce that the quilt and fabric shop should open near the beginning of August. So exciting!

Thursday, prompted by my list of to-dos, I pieced and printed several quilt tops. (It's amazing how much more I accomplish when I write myself lists.) This one is a peppy poppy version of my previous cut-glass quilt, Little Pieces. Although it's missing some mid-tones, my favorite local fabric shop Pink Castle was more than willing to help me flesh out that area of my new palette. Such a friendly place.

And lastly, sewing machine hunting! I had the crazy experience of stumbling upon a Bernina 830 at a local resale shop last Christmas. I brought it home for $15 in it's pretty red case full of accessories. Unfortunately, it had been dropped on its head at some point and wasn't fit for fixing or function, said the sewing machine repair man. Since then, I've been keeping a keen eye out for another one, and I may have found it last night. Cross your fingers this little Bernina dream comes true!

What was lovely for you this past week?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Welcome to Lovely & Enough

Hello! Welcome to Lovely & Enough. I'm Kelsey.

You have stumbled across my breath of fresh air. In the midst of physical chemistry tests, dance rehearsals, and studio critiques, this is my happy place.

When I begin to look around and see other people's beautiful lives with seemingly more time, less stress, cuter clothes, and handsomer men, I come back here and remember. My life is lovely. And my life is enough. I don't need more than what I have. Close friends. Comfy clothes. A wonderful family. A burgeoning church. And time and space to sew to my heart's content. Lovely. Enough.

My biggest project to date, She Can Laugh at the Days to Come, is comprised of ten quilts and three fabric designs inspired by Proverbs 31:25. "She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future." The show worked to capture that in between feeling when we're growing up and leaving our families, feeling nostalgia but also great excitement for the future. You can read all about it and see each quilt here. These are a couple of my favorites.

My other big project right now is my Farmer's Wife quilt. I kicked off the blog with this project, and I'm still chugging along. I very much enjoy the process, and I think each block teaches me a little bit about piecing as well as color play. There are many many posts about it here.

And lastly I design fabrics! I have two that I really love: Hortensia (which featured in my senior show) and Longlegged. I hope to design more fabrics this summer and am currently sketching a bison pattern.

Blogging Tip
When it comes to quilt blogging, I think it is important to have beautiful, well-lit photos. We are a visual audience; we love gorgeous photos. I have found that the best way to achieve great photos is with natural light. Use the sun to your advantage. Find a spot with lots of reflected light (not direct), a patio or table by a window. Then grab a big piece of white paper or poster board to bounce light back onto your subject's most shadowed side. Voila! Professional photo shoot in the comfort of your home.

Quilting Tip
For quilting tips, I love having a strip of washi tape on my machine that lets me whip up half-square triangles without having to draw the diagonal lines. Camille has a perfect little video to explain this here.

When it comes to quilting and fabric designing role models, Camille Roskelley pretty much blows me away with her wonderful perspective, fresh quilts, and versatile fabrics. Erica over at Crafty Blossom always hits color play and classic right on the head with her quilts. Finally, Leslie Keating of Maze and Vale and Lara and Caitlin of Ink & Spindle round out the crew with their Aussie textile design. These are my design idols, and they are just a few of the many that inspire and encourage me daily.

Tell me, who are your quilting and designing superstars?

And if you have some more time, settle in and check out these other lovely ladies in the hop!

Camelia @ Camelia Elliott
Nurdan @ Hug a Bit Quilts
Lori @ Sew Psychd
Kitty @ Night Quilter
Christina @ Wips and Tuts
Marcia @ Cozy Capatiller
Judy @ Quilt Paradigm 
Jasmine @ Quilt Kisses

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Labor of Love

Farmer's Wife Quilt today! When Camille Roskelley made hers a couple years ago, I fell in love with it, and I'm totally and completely hooked. I've been working on the quilt little by little for almost two years, and sometimes I like to just pull out all of the squares, spread them around me, and dream about the finished quilt.

Camille gave the advice of tackling six squares at a time for efficiency, so that's what I did today. I settled in and listened to the end of a sappy novel by Nora Roberts and stitched through the rainy day. Avery and Owen fell in love with each other, and I fell in love again with this quilt process. Slow methodical progress. Do you know what I mean? Is anyone else out there working on a Farmer's Wife Quilt? It really is a labor of love.

Today's Blocks:
Birds in Air
Butterfly at the Crossroads
Contrary Wife
Hovering Hawks

7. Birds in the Air

21. Contrary Wife

34. Flock

14. Butterfly at the Crossroads

52. Hovering Hawks

93. Swallow

And I am so thankful that I get to share this little work-in-progress (WIP) with the talented sewers over at Freshly Pieced because it's WIP Wednesday!