Gotta catch em all!

 

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Like the rest of the world, I too am completely obsessed with Pokemon Go. It speaks to me on such a nostalgic level. I was in trouble the moment I opened the app. If you have been living under a rock for the past week, Pokemon Go is a game for your phone that uses Google Maps to let you catch Pokemon in your real world environment. The key here is, that in order to catch, and train them, you will need to go exploring. Key landmarks become Pokemon Gyms,  or places called Pokestops, that give you items. After you reach level 5, you gain the ability to join one of three distinct teams; Team Mystic, Instinct or Valor. People are very devoted to their respective teams. While simple in concept, this game has taken over. Local businesses that are Pokestops will advertise and give specials to try and lure more potential customers. The sheer number of people who are out and about is amazing. The day after the game came out, I went to a nearby park and lo and behold, there were at least 100 people  scouring the entire area for Pokemon. A sideways glance and a smile at passerby’s, and you knew what they were doing. After 20 minutes or so, we kept running into the same people and conversations started. What team were you on? Whats your best catch? Have you found the ________ that’s around here yet? It was camaraderie like I have only ever seen on a playground full of children. awkwardness was thrown to the wind, as this large group of people came together over a simple phone game. I think this is fantastic on so many levels. Personally, I’m excited for the exercise. Walking for miles is now instantly rewarding. I have met new friends, and sparked some interesting conversations. I have explored areas of my town and city that I normally would never have gone to. This game is taking people who normally would never go outside, and giving us a common goal. Yes, there have been some bad experiences to spawn from the game, but in my opinion, the good greatly outweighs the negative.

 

In the past 3 days, I have walked over 20 miles. 20 MILES. Nothing has motivated me to get up and go like this before. I’ve started to track how many steps I go everyday in my bullet journal, and I cant wait to see where this takes me. What an amazing time to be a nerd!

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So, I’m level 14 so far, and I’m a proud member of Team Valor. I chose Charmander as my starter, and what I have caught so far is below.  I really want to try and find some of my favorite Pokemon, Raichu, Archanine, Ninetails, Charizard and Dragonair. That’s proving to be quite difficult. Guess I just have to get out and and do more Pokexploring!

 

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The Herringbone Quilt

 

 

While my parents were here for a visit, I desperately wanted to do a project with my Mom. She is a wonderful quilter and its because of her that I wanted to learn how to sew and quilt. I have been scouring Pinterest for months trying to find something that I liked that looked like an easy first project. I finally decided on a herringbone pattern because I feel it would withhold the test of time pattern wise better than a chevron.  I got most of my inspiration from a pin over at  Persia Lou. So, off to the fabric store we went!

 

I wanted this to be more of a plain design, using only solids for the front, and a patterned fabric for the back. I knew I wanted grey in there somewhere, but everything i really liked was way out of my meager price range. Fabric can be so expensive! I want to the budget friendly section of my local Joanns, and found a navy blue with white flowers and liked it well enough. It went with the grey, and I could use white as a secondary color. They had a solid mustard color a few bolts down, and I liked the contrast of them all, so instead of sweating over if there was something I liked more, I just went with it.  I got some quilt batting, and some white thread as well, and it was time to start!

 

I do apologize for the lack of in progress pictures! I got a new phone right at the end of this, and in my excitement, didn’t save my old pictures and lost them. =/

 

Mom and I sat down at the table and tried to work out the logistics of how this was going to work. I knew that I wanted a lap size quilt, and most of those were 50’x60. so we went off that. I didn’t know how I was going to get the herringbone cut out, but then my mom showed me that it was all about rearranging different shapes. The herringbone in this case, was just two triangles, so by making a ton of the triangles into squares, I would have a quilt block. Then arrange the quilt blocks into rows, and sew the rows together. Sounded easy enough!

 

First things first,  I washed dried, and ironed all my fabric. after that, we cut strips of the grey and the white, then cut those strips into 6 in squares.  Next, we took a grey square and a white square and put them together. we drew a line with the frixion pen diagonally down the middle, and I sewed a straight stitch 1/4 inch to each side of that line, then we cut on the line, and ironed it flat. we did this until all of the squares were done.

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Next, we took the squares and set them all out on the table. This was the fun part because you could see how the quilt would look, and you can play around with different designs. Remember doing tessellations as a kid in school? Well, here was a real world application for that. We got the rows in order and piled up the squares in the order they appeared per row. The next part was difficult. Its not just sewing all the squares together, you have to make sure that the diagonal seams but right up to one another, or else the points will not match up. Apparently this is a big pride point for quilters. Take your time, and it will be worth it in the long run. Now you sew each square to the next until you form a row.

 

From here, I opted to sew all my rows first, then put them all together. I was using a basic sewing machine, and I was having some trouble after a while of having the quilt bunch ump in a way that it was difficult to sew. I fixed this by rolling what I had already done up, and that fit nicely in my machine. After all the rows were finished, my quilt top was done!

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The back of the quilt was the navy fabric. I knew the quilt should have been 50’x60′, but the fabric I chose was only 44′ wide. Mom told me we would have to piece the back. I had planned on just sewing two pieces together so the seam went down the middle, but apparently that’s a no no. So Mine has the seam off to one side. Why this is the right way to do it, I don’t know. I do know not to argue with Mom when it comes to quilting, so off to one side the seam went. After a good press, we took that quilt batting and some basting spray, making sure to cover the table with newspaper to the spray didn’t riun the wood. The basting pray was like arasol glue in a sense. It was a two person job, but really helped to not let the fabric slide everywhere. We put some safety pins in for extra measure, and flipped it over and attached the quilt top the same way.

 

Now, it was time to quilt! Mom said that long lines were best, so I decided to go with a chevron design. First I did what is called a “stitch in the ditch” which is essentially sewing in the seam. I did this vertically in the columns first. Then I did a 1/4 in above and below each herringbone seam, then once again above and below that. I loved it! I experimented with adding a few extra quilting rows , but didnt like teh overall look, so I left this as an added detail to the bottom of the quilt.

Finally, it was time for the part I was dreading the most…BINDING. Mom had given me a book that’s everything you ever needed to know about quilting, and in it was an entire section devoted to different styles of binding. I had remembered her saying that a continuous binding was easy for her, so I went with the tube method. It was a PAIN IN THE BUTT! My lines from measuring weren’t straight, I couldn’t get things to line up right, I misread the instructions several times, but finally, got my bias tape made and ironed. I sewed it to the back of the quilt first, and used a wrap around method to bring it to the front. I had some difficulty with mitered corners, but that should get better with practice. I also had some difficulty with sewing the binding, but that was from my measurements being off and my now cutting straight. When it was finished though… Oh man. I loved every little imperfection it had.

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This was my first quilt. It is by no means perfect, or technically accurate. It means the world to me though. I got to work on it with my Mom, and has immense sentimental value already. I really loved this project, and cant wait to do it again. All in all, it took approximately 20 hours of work from start to finish. I may be new to the quilting aspect of sewing, but you better believe that I’m hooked!

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And we’re back, with an amazing even announcement!!

 

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