Tag Archives: Sewing projects

FAQ #9- Can you really sew in your RV?

Since I just purchased a new fancy-schmancy sewing machine (oy, the indulgence of it all), I thought I’d answer this question that was posed a while back by one of you’all –
If you sew in an RV … you have to clean up your mess and put everything away each and every time you sew! That is too awful! How do you manage that? I have a sewing/embroidery machine combo plus a serger. Six thread boards (and that doesn’t count the bins full of overlock cone thread!). Ironing board and iron. Drawers filled with supplies and tools. Two coffin-size plastic bins filled with fabric hanks and scraps. And you really sew in an RV?
Well, the simple answer is – Yes, you really can sew in an RV. You can also knit, crochet, make jewelry, design cards, scrapbook, or even paint. Almost any hobby that you love doing you can do in an RV. It’s just going to look a bit different. And probably on a smaller scale.
For example, instead of a design wall, you have a bed –
BOM Jan 13
I’ve laid out a good many quilts on that design bed.
Instead of a free standing ironing board, you might choose this approach –
It’s pretty portable, so you can always move it when you need to make lunch.
The cutting table and the sewing space – well, share and share alike, I always say!
And when the computer chair isn’t being used for overflow supplies, it can also double as the table extension when you’re working on an extra large project.
Of course, there are always some storage issues in any hobby. Sewing/quilting is no exception. We’ve taken the space that could have housed a washer/dryer and built in deep sturdy drawers with a sliding tray at the bottom.
(Supplies – recently organized)
(Fabric – not so recently organized)
The thread lives on the wall, and the bins on the floor hold (you guessed it) more fabric and supplies. Not pictured are the two “under bed” size containers in the closet and any number of boxes of odds and end (fabric, batting, t-shirts waiting to be made into a quilt, etc.) under the bed. And sometimes, the little bit of counter space that I have in the bedroom also falls prey to a bit of overflow sewing stuff.
(Don’t judge me, it’s a flat surface after all!)
While some folks have managed to carve out a designated sewing area in their RV’s, (check out this post from a fellow quilting RVer) I have not figured out just where that spot would be. Pretty much, when I’m sewing, the whole RV is sewing!
And yes, I do need to tidy up at the end of each sewing day in order for us to actually eat dinner. But I really only need to put it ALL away before we move the house down the road. If I know that our life is going to be very busy, I just don’t get the machine out.  I wait until I see a quiet weekend ahead, have leftovers in the fridge (or know it’s time for a pizza night) and THEN I get out the machine and start a small sewing blitz.  It also helps to have a patient husband. As long as he can find a spot for a nap, we’re usually good!

I like to think that quilting/sewing (painting, beading, knitting, scrapbooking, whatever hobby makes you happy) in an RV is like eating frozen yogurt.  As long as you don’t think it’s going to taste like Blue Bell ice cream, you’ll like it just fine!

Sea Glass

Do not be confused. We are nowhere near the sea. Sea Glass is the name of the quilt pattern my sweet daughter asked me to make for her baby.
As beautiful as this pattern is (and I really did love it), my first thoughts were “Wow, look at all that applique. And is that hand quilting?” True confession – I’ve been quilting (in various degrees of intensity) for about 40 years, and I must admit that applique has never been my strong suit. And I hadn’t hand quilted in many a year.  But it was just a small quilt (I said to myself), and it was for Little Miss (now we know her as Alexandra, but at the time she was Little Miss) so I took on the challenge! Lara and I were able to shop together to choose the fabrics, and before I knew it I was cutting out all manner of pink petals.

It went together pretty well (thank goodness for fusible web) and I have to admit that the hand quilting was quite therapeutic. I’d forgotten the quiet joy of handwork.
All in all – in spite of my insecurities – I think it turned out quite nicely!
Alexandra wasn’t too impressed, but I think her mom was pleased.
And for now, anyway, it’s found its home on her wall.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in our years on the road – in regards to sewing/quilting, anyway – is smaller is usually better. Or at least easier. And making quilts (or placemats or snack bags or Christmas stockings or purses or whatever) for a grandbaby (of any age) is always a joy!
In fact, this little pile of cheer
is fast becoming a baby quilt for this little guy.
Taran smile
No pictures of that until he gets it!

Since we were talking about the cabin…

We were, weren’t we?
For years now I’ve been wanting to do a fabric postcard of the cabin for my sisters for Christmas. And I decided that 2014 was the year it was going to happen! I called upon my good friend Lynne (who is an amazing fiber artist) for some assistance and we scheduled a studio day at her home and got to work!
First we had to choose what view we wanted of the 8472 (give or take) pictures I’ve taken of the cabin over the years. While I was leaning toward the classic “pond cabin reflection” shot,
Cabin Stephs Way-10
we decided that one that had more detail of the cabin would be better.
Cabin 2
We copied it, enlarged it, cut it apart
and then started choosing fabrics for our pieces of art!
While I was working on sky and hills and rocks, Lynne tackled making the cabin itself. Let me say right here that Lynne is my hero. She’s an expert with shadows and using net and tweezers, and thoroughly enjoyed making these 2″ cabins.
Three of them, no less!
Even before she finished the cabins we were working on getting the sky and background right and figuring out the hills and rocks.
Oy – so many choices!
By the time our studio day was over Lynne had finished the three cabins, and I had roughly put together one of the postcards.
Emphasis on “roughly”.
There was still a lot to do, but the day was done. We packed up the fabrics and the postcards and those three precious cabins, and she sent me on my way. I was on my own, but psyched to get them done.
By the time I got back to them several months had passed. The being psyched had been replaced with being terrified. What was I thinking? My mentor was thousands of miles away! Thankfully, Lynne was actually only a phone call away, and she coached me through my jitters and insecurities. Once I got started again, it became fun (I think Lynne knew that would happen) and before long (well, it was a couple of days) all three were done!
All the same, all different! The ones for the sisters got frames,
and mine is still just hanging out at my place having not quite made it to a frame yet.
But it’s hanging out with the original, so that’s kind of fun.

Thanks for stopping by!

And so it goes….

Did you have a good Valentine’s Day? And a good week last week? We’ve been keeping busy and I trust you have been too! Gary has been very focused on his HVAC/Electric job over at the job site.
Good thing knows what he's doing, right?
With only two weeks left in our time here, he wants to leave “his area” as organized as possible!
Needless to say, he has some great job security!
I’ve been bouncing around, helping out where needed. I often cover the front desk at the school, sometimes I work in the job site office, and if Gary needs my expert wire-pulling skills – well, I’m there for him too! And then there is also our Sewing Class –
MCASewing Class-11
And so it goes – busy days, doing what we’re called to do. And loving it!
Yesterday, while Gary was busy wiring away at the job site, 6 of us SOWER ladies enjoyed the 2014 Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show!
(I really need to work on my “group selfie” skills!)
But oh, what a grand time we had!
So many colors
So many textures
So many ideas!
We were inspired by the presentation of a quilt to a veteran
and moved by a quilt made out of the shirt pockets of a beloved husband, now home with the Lord.
We were challenged with new techniques (well, at least ones we hadn’t yet tried)
and encouraged to see the classics presented in a new and exciting way.
Our breath was taken away with the intricacies of some
and we found rest in the calm of simplicity.
There was beautiful hand applique and hand quilting
along with great ideas to do it all by machine!
We picked up some ideas to use up our stash
and also picked up some inspiration to start something all together new!
(OK, so realistically, I doubt I’ll be doing THAT one, but there was just SO MUCH INSPIRATION!).
After a sweet lunch out, we all returned to our rigs to figure out just what to start sewing on first!
So many ideas, so little time!

My Valentine’s Day ended out with a trip to a local pizza joint with my sweetie
Even the pizza place is all about Valentine's Day.
and enough leftovers to feed us through the weekend!
Hope you all have a great weekend. I think I hear some fabric calling me……


(Spoiler Alert – it’s not the A/C {yet})
Eighteen months ago I signed up for a free class over at Craftsy.com. (which is a great site for all kinds of crafters, BTW, not just quilters! Check it out sometime!) It was the 2012 Block of the Month class and I figured it was a great way to use up my plethora of fabric (aka The Stash). Each month they presented a different technique and had you construct two blocks (usually with a little modern twist) using that technique. The premise was that by October you’d have 20 blocks, November you’d sew them together, and by the end of the year you’d have a completed quilt. I must say that the true beauty of the course (and every course offered by Craftsy) is that the classes are always available, so even if you get a month or two behind, you can still watch March’s class in June. Just sayin’. In case that might ever happen to you.

And so I got started – all Stash, all the way!
BOM Start
By January of 2013, I had all the blocks completed!
BOM Jan 13
Next came the quilting! By this time, the good people at Craftsy (in their infinite marketing wisdom) were offering a course called “Free Motion Quilting a Sampler” based on (you guessed it) the 2012 BOM Quilt! Along with the traditional method of quilting a full quilt top, it also taught a ‘quilt as you go’ technique that really appealed to me, given my limited studio (i.e. kitchen table) space. So I set out to quilt each block individually, following the expert guidance on the computer! Borders added (full disclosure – I did purchase the border and joining fabrics) and backing selected (also from the stash), ready to quilt!
It was great to only have to handle a 15 inch square instead of a 60 x 75 quilt top,
Quilting BOM
and while I still have a long way to go in my free-motion quilting, I’m definitely a lot better than I was.

BOM Start
The joining of the blocks went a bit more quickly that I thought it would (thankfully – I was a little nervous about how that would all work!), and by noon yesterday, a mere 18 months after I started the project, it was FINISHED!
BOM Complete-1
BOM Complete-2
Quilting each block individually gave me the opportunity to use up a batch of fat quarters that have lived in my stash for about 15 years (they came as a bonus with my sewing machine) as the backing. And that made for a pretty interesting back too!
BOM Complete-4
BOM Complete-5
It feels pretty good to wrap up that project.
But here’s the thing.
Back in January 2012 when I was starting the whole project I decided to do two sets of blocks each month. One with my green/gold/ecru stash and one with my blue/yellow/white stash.
And those, dear friends, are still staring me in the face!
BOM Complete-7
All in good time. All in good time. Next up on the quilting agenda is a Baby Quilt! 🙂