3/25/15

Stitching in the Wee Hours

It was one of those nights when I woke up and then couldn't get back to sleep. This may seem strange, but I actually think sewing is keeping me awake in the same way my job used to. When I wake up, I start thinking about a project I'm working on (particularly if it is challenging me in some way). Then, I just keep thinking about it until I've been awake for more than an hour. At that point, I figure I might as well get up and work on it. Fortunately, my time is my own on all but rare occasions, and so I can go back to bed after Mike leaves for work.

So what was keeping me awake last night? It was the latest block for Lisa's Retirement Quilt. Of all the blocks, I think this one has challenged me the most. Here is the block. This one was submitted by Natalie M. and her four children, Ty, Alex, Destiny, and Allyah. This is what Natalie said about the block design:

It is a butterfly on a sunflower. The wings of the butterfly have the stages of the butterfly on each heart; eggs, caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly. On the edges on the wings it says "loving education transforming generations" all four of my children have been in Lisa's class and they all combined their ideas to make this design. 



It was challenging for a number of reasons. I've been relying on embroidery and applique to recreate these more often than not. In this case, I was trying to figure out how I was going to get all of the layers included and still have something I could actually hand embroider through. I scanned the original design as it was submitted and then resized and cropped it to the size I wanted. For the past several days, I've had it sitting out in view where I could study it and plan my attack. Finally, it came to me that I could applique the orange and the white fabrics, leaving a gap for the yellow background to show in between. That way, I had no more than one layer of applique to stitch through on any part of the block. (I hope that makes sense.) 

Here it is rendered into fabric.


The block was completely constructed before I went to bed last night, and I'd started on the embroidery. Still, while lying awake, I was thinking about stitching it and that I could finish it today, etc., etc., etc. Finally, I just got up and did it. It's hot off the needle as you see it here.

But that's not all the sewing I did yesterday. I finished my project for Let's Book It and Another Little Quilt Swap 9. This is free motion machine embroidery. 


It's really no different from free motion quilting. The lines of stitching are just closer together. Here's a close-up of the stitching.


Here's how it looks from the back.


The pattern is from this book by Ann Fahl.


She went into quite a bit of detailed and helpful instruction about how to stitch, what threads to use, what stabilizers, etc. She also suggested hooping the design to stitch it. I didn't do that. I just did it the same way I do free motion quilting, except instead of using batting, I was using a stablizer.

Today I'm going to go to the grocery store, but I'm hoping I'll have some time to start quilting the little Sew Helpful quilt. It shouldn't take long.


That's next on my list of things to do for the month. There is still a week left in the month, and I have just two things left on my to-do list. I think I'm going to make it easily. And hopefully, I'll be able to get some more sleep.

Do you have any projects keeping you awake at night? It isn't necessarily a bad thing.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I totally understood what you were saying about the block applique method. Oh, I do love the coneflowers thread painting! How fun is that and so stunning, too. I find I have worked the night away as I tell myself - just one more. I usually am getting a couple of hours in the morning and then a little afternoon nap. Works fine for a while, but then I crash.

Janine said...

Your embroidery is stunning and your applique block is lovely :)

Vicki Price said...

You never know when creativity will strike. I've spent many a post-midnight hour, going over the construction of a particularly tricky quilt pattern, mentally auditioning fabrics or dreaming up new patterns. I get my best ideas when I should be sleeping. Oh well.

crazy quilter said...

I have the same problem usually just going to sleep, and unlike lucky you I am still in the workforce. But I try to turn off the work stuff, Doesn't always work but I try. Your free motion quilting is just stunning! I love this "Let's Book it" project. you did a fabulous job. You inspire me ... keep on sewing. and blogging I love reading your blog.

crazy quilter said...

I have the same problem usually just going to sleep, and unlike lucky you I am still in the workforce. But I try to turn off the work stuff, Doesn't always work but I try. Your free motion quilting is just stunning! I love this "Let's Book it" project. you did a fabulous job. You inspire me ... keep on sewing. and blogging I love reading your blog.

liniecat said...

Infuriating when the brain wont switch off when your really in need of sleeping, so yes if you can get up and crack on with the stitching, why not! lol
I have found I wake up having dreamt of stitching these darned rosettes for The New Hexagon Millefiori BOM I'm obsessed with currently.
But I'm not alone in that, there's now 2500+ of us following the Facebook group page and many of them say the same, that they are losing sleep much the same as you!

Dana Gaffney said...

Hey, did you know it's manatee day? Me neither, LOL. I love those flowers, that is the perfect place for variegated thread, they are so pretty.

Junebug613 said...

So glad you got that finished! I hope you can get some sleep tonight. That was a very creative solution and it turned out great! Your list of goals must be getting items crossed off left and right! Thankfully, my projects do not keep me awake at night! They are my escape and so is sleep, I am blessed in that respect.

Brown Family said...

Sewing can take over out lives and keep us up at night! I lobe the thread painting flowers. The butterfly block translated well to fabric and thread.

Jacque said...

Yup, I'm in the boat with all of you. LOL Insomniacs unite! Usually it's work stuff, can't wait to retire. Then I can spend time thinking about sewing at night.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

When I wake up designing a quilting project, and can't get back to sleep, I can't go in my sewing room. I know myself well enough to know that I'll make more mistakes during the wee hours than if I wait. I have to just go read a book. Nice blocks.

quiltzyx said...

Good job interpreting the latest retirement block. You're getting quite good at that!
Love the thread-painted cone flowers! Bravo!! Now I know I need to finish one, so I can try to pick yours from the swap!!