Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Granny Allure

Not Your Granny's Bee picks 

Sometimes it's feast or famine around these here blog parts. I did get some sewing done over the holiday weekend but most of my time was taken up by being lazy. So, I didn't really have time to sew or blog :).

I am making a gift for my soon-to-be-2 year old nephew and that's partly done (here's a peak).

Sneak peak @ WIP 

Still behind on my Mother's Day gifts (I will be distributing them after Father's Day, so really, I have plenty of time to procrastinate) and I signed up for another swap (I'm such a sucker!). Why, because I couldn't resist the allure of the granny... square block.

If you're not familiar with the granny square block, you can check out this post at Blue Elephant Stitches. Jolene was inspired by the granny square crocheted blankets.

The Not Your Granny's Bee is swapping granny squares based on Katy's strip piecing tutorial, which is based on Jolene's tutorial, which uses individual blocks. There's another swap out there swapping granny squares but I thought the strip piecing was more up my alley, in my wheelhouse, at my speed - you get what I'm saying. The organizers had the great idea of allowing each participant to sign up for a color combo and a background preference. So we'll each get every color on the color wheel. We are each making 24 blocks - 8 on Charcoal, 8 on Snow, and 8 on White. (Katy's tutorial makes 8 blocks.) Obviously, I signed up for the pink/green combo and I chose white for the background.

I spent a lot of time trying to make all of my greens and pinks go together. But I just don't think the avocado, kelly and lime greens would really work in one block. So I ended up splitting the colors up into three groups, one for each background color.

And in fabric news... I won a Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day prize over at England Street Quilts, where Shontelle blogs, straight out of Australia! Very excited for the Whimsy fabric. With the granny swap, the Whimsy win, and a serious fabric splurge (amazing deal at The Intrepid Thread on a FQ bundle of Lucy's Crab Shack, which I have been early awaiting), I have my fall new baby quilts covered (got three of them arriving!).

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival-Spring 2012

  Hash Marks

Welcome Festival go-ers!

Amy's Creative Side

I don't have too many finishes here at the Type B Crafter (not shocking, given that blog name, right?!). I have a lot of tops (last count, maybe 25 to be quilted - eek!). But will re-share one of the rare finishes for the Spring Festival.

This is my Hash Marks quilt from October of 2011. I was inspired and motivated by the Project Modern Challenge hosted by the Modern Quilt Guild to finally put this idea into fabric.

I used three colors - Kona Khaki, Eggplant, and Pepper. There are 312, 4" blocks in this quilt (counting the ones on the back). Instead of piecing each block separately, I cut width of fabric strips in varying widths and sewed them together. Then, I used my 4.5" square ruler set at different angles to cut out the blocks. (Lots of bias with this technique - starch was my friend!)

Solids WIP

It is a visual interpretation of counting the days while my husband finishes up his graduate degree. (Hash marks are also called "tally marks' - one horizontal line through four vertical lines signifying a count of 5.) I must have been feeling pretty down when I thought up this quilt because you often see prisoners in old period movies scratching marks like these into the wall for each day they're on the "inside" :) We've been moving around a lot in the last three years and haven't yet found a place to land. At one point it was looking like New Mexico, but now it's up in the air. Currently, we are in Madison, WI. Once my husband finishes his degree, we'll be off into the great wide open. Until then, I'm just counting the days :)

Hash Marks

Back to the quilt. If you look closely, you'll see that every fifth block is a wonky horizontal block.  I purposely made the quilt 17 blocks across, so that the fifth mark would land in different places on the columns of the quilt. In the photo below, you might be able to make out the mistake I initially made on the fourth row because I didn't add enough wonky verticals (there should be another one at the beginning of row 4). (There are two blocks hanging off the right hand side of each row - I had to pin the rows to my design wall/table cloth.) So, yes, I went back through the rows and detached and reattached to make the five block scheme work out. If only I had made the mistake at row 15 or 16!

Kona WIP1

I had a comical experience trying to spray baste this quilt. It involved packing tape, my textured bedroom wall, and hope. But somehow the quilt was basted and I quilted it on my 1980's New Home. A major reason for me not finishing my quilts is basting room, as in, I don't have any. I live in a carpeted one bedroom loft apartment and despite living here for over a year now, we still have stuff in cardboard boxes (I'm always anticipating the next move!) and the stuff is everywhere! The other reason is that I don't have a machine on hand that likes quilting. Yes, my machine has personal preferences and quilting is not one of them. My Juki, which is in storage, on the other hand, loves quilting. But that doesn't do me to much good since she's in New Mexico.

Hash Marks is 68"x68," so kind of on the big side for me. I did "organic" straight lines at varying widths in an offset X pattern. I used mostly cream/off-white thread with purple and blue accent lines thrown in.

Hash Marks quilting detail

You can see the quilting better on the back - not sure how I feel about that, given the quality of the quilting. But I feel every quilt is a learning (or re-learning...) experience. The more I do it, the better I'll get, right? I hope, so! :)

Hash Marks back

And that's the story of my Hash Marks quilt. I love it and we enjoy it here in our home-for-the-moment!

Thank you so much for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the festival!!

Hash Marks

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hook n' Eye

EED 1 - back

Why make one dress when you can make two at the same time? (I don't know either... I just did it.)

I was able to make some good progress on my Evening Empire Dresses (medium). They are two lonely bodices no longer - they finally have skirts :) I finished one and it only needs a hook and eye:

EED 1

This is a cotton sateen from Sew Lisette that I picked up at Joann's (with a coupon? But, of course!). I really like these fabrics because they are 100% cotton but they are made for clothing, unlike quilting cottons (which I still use for clothes), which are clearly made for... wait for it... quilting.

EED 2

The sateen is a little heavier than the lawn, which is the blue floral. But they are both light enough for summer dresses. I had a double zipper snafu with the blue floral, which is why I only finished the one yesterday. The grand irony (or coincidence) is that I wanted to do a good job on the blue floral, so I did the dotty one first. Obviously, it didn't help.

I mostly followed the pattern. I left the length of the skirt because despite my stubby legs (or maybe because of them!) I prefer a longer, mid-calf skirt.  But I did eliminate about 4" from the skirt width because I know from my hilarious muslin last year that the skirt can be quite full. I also eliminated about 8" from the skirt lining (and about 2.5" from the length), which also cuts down on some bulk. The thing about empire dresses is this - if you're an hour glass figure or at all busty, empire waist dresses are sometimes not the most flattering (a la maternity wear - negativo!). However, they are super comfortable and comfort always wins out for me in the summer! Anyway, all that to say, that this can be on the poofy side and the style but form of the design do not suffer if you make the skirt a skosh smaller, width-wise. (I did this by folding my pattern over about 2" along the side that you place on the fold of your fabric - what will be the center of your empire waist, not at the side seams).

EED 1 - lining

Also, you might add more bulk depending on what you use for lining (if you decide to line). I read a lot of blog posts before starting this time and one person had used a cotton knit and I thought that sounded keen.  I thought that another cotton fabric might make the skirt a bit stiff or might stick to the outer fabric, and again, increase the skirt volume. So, I found a very thin cotton/poly knit that is thin enough to breath, is a bit stretchy, and has enough poly so that the outer skirt isn't stuck to the lining all the time. Plus, it's very soft against bare legs! (First I wrote "bear legs" - I can't really vouch for how it would be for bear legs, but for bare human legs, it's the bees knees!)

Evening Empire Dress 2
Dress innards - unpicking my zipper snafu X2

I'm often willing to fudge things (that's why I'm Type B), but the zipper has to match at the top, otherwise everything else is kittywampus. I failed to read in the directions that the dress requires a hook and eye and so I was dismayed when I finished the zipper on the dotty dress to see that the zipper didn't go to the top of the bodice. But then I read the pattern more closely. I think if you're a more capable seamstress, you could work the zipper in and forgo the H&E. On the second dress, I messed up once by twisting the zipper so it didn't come together. I unpicked and tried again. This time, I didn't line the zipper up and it lifted one side of the bodice 1.5"-2" above the other side. And so, I put it to bed and I will deal with it later this evening.

Here's where I straight up TypeB'd it - 1) On both of the dresses, I topstitched the side seams on only one side of the skirt to finish the seam, because I stupidly assumed I'd finish the seams ont he other side the same way. Well the zipper goes in the other side and I wasn't able to topstitch that side. Oh well.
I did not go back and unpick.

EED 1 - side seam

2) My overlock foot is broken, so I zigzagged the bottom of the lining rather than folding, pressing, and stitching - it doesn't look all that great. But hey - it's the lining. Who's looking at your lining?!

IMG_3780

And here are some nice, headless photos!
Evening Empire Dress (EED) 1
Doh! Looks especially maternity if you put your hands like this!
Must avoid this pose...

Evening Empire Dress (EED) 1
Not sure that the belt really helps...   

There is a leeettle gaping under the arms, but not enough to be too bothersome. My straps aren't crooked, it's just the angle of the photo, but I might set them out a tiny bit more next time. If you're a more skilled seamstress, it would be fun to shorten the side zipper and add pockets, but I'm not sure I'm there yet :) All in all, however, a solid, comfy dress and I'm excited to finish up my second one and take them out for a spin!

(And yes, I've had those quilt blocks behind me finished since... February and they are still not put together... It's on the list!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tula Treasure Chest

Neptune in a box

Like most people who cheer for Team Tula, I love Tula Pink fabrics. I've mentioned it many times. I think she's unique in the world of fabric design. I know not everyone agrees (that's the great thing about quilting - there's room for every taste; different strokes for different folks!) but for those who love Tula's stuff, it can border on obsessive.

I emailed her once because I saw two Neptune charm packs go for $70 on ebay(!).  She said that Neptune mania is still pretty mind blowing even to her!

You can see the care that she draws into each design (if you click on the link to the names of her fabric lines you can see the images on the fabric more clearly than I've displayed them here). She still draws each motif out by hand, the old fashioned way. And I think that attention to detail shows. It's hard to cut up these prints when you really want to showcase each little element. Some people have even asked for her permission to take her work and have it tattooed on them! (See hereherehere - you'll see some of the fabric inspirations below). I haven't gone that far yet, but I'm not ruling it out! I think Tula worked at a tattoo parlor once, in a former life, and she also worked at a record label in LA before becoming a fabric designer - yeah, she's cool like that! I think you can see a lot of that tattoo/LA rocker chick in her work, even though she lives in a farmhouse in Missouri now :)

Once upon a time, I had four charm packs and two honeybuns of Neptune. I used the charm packs on the ever popular pattern using the Lil Twister tool:

Lil Twister quilt
Neptune with Kona Slate

I'm happy with it and once it is quilted, it will be wallhanging for wherever I eventually hang my hat.  But the honeybuns... Oh the honeybuns.  They became this quilt, which I call the Faraway quilt, which had to be re-worked a TON and with which I am not super-duper happy.  (But I'm not givin' it away either!)

Faraway quilt
Neptune with Kona Tarragon

And so it began...  Next, I got some Parisville and made this quilt:

Jour de Pluie Quilt

I used some birthday money and a fortuitous blog giveaway win last year to amass a Prince Charming stash. (And I added some yardage to it with some fabric store finds)

Prince Charming

I used some to make this fun and easy quilt:

Giant Star Quilt

I parted with a few precious froggies for a friend's baby, who arrived in February.

Prince Charming

But I don't give away Tula, lightly :) Only to someone who can really appreciate it (no one appreciates frogs more than babies :))!

Like most Tula enthusiasts, I love the hidden details and the animals! (Do you see the yellow mice in there?)

Buttercup bag

I love all of the beautifully rendered animals. Or the crazy Marie Antoinette inspired hairdos:

More Christmas bags

Neptune was my first Tula fabric and it was before I understood the craze (and I do mean CRAZE) for those fabrics. They are out of print, of course, having come out in 2008. Every once in a while someone will mention that they've seen a bolt here or there sitting in a dusty corner of a quilt shop. But it's mostly rumors or whispers on the internet.  It's legen-(wait for it)-dary!

So, I have started swap, swap, swapping my way to a new Neptune stash.

Amassing my collection 

I received a couple more in the mail and I have one more on the way! The strips are from the orphaned Faraway Quilt blocks that I reclaimed (i.e., seam-ripped and ironed).

Along the way, I've gotten swept up in the Tula fervor for her older lines. I'm the proud owner of several of her first line for Moda, Full Moon Forest, spring 2007.  I tell you, those owls and those squirrels kill me! (You see the squirrels, right?!)

Full Moon Forest treasures

And Flutterby from fall 2007. I have 27 prints. Ladybugs, snails, dragonflies and bees, oh my!

Flutterby

And the 2009 Hushabye collection. Gorgeous pastel owls (some are upside down here) and some buttefly lace.

Hushabye stash

The lace is a recurring motif in her collections (not all of them, though). And she just released her first ever Halloween collection called Nightshade and she's brought back the lace in an awesome way - raven lace (do you see the birds?):

Raven Lace - Nightshade

I just love this. I was thinking maybe I should get more of the purple (eveningshade) to make another shirred sundress...

So, at the moment, I'm just in collection mode. Perhaps one day, I'll have a Tula Pink animal quilt. Or maybe I'll have a bunch of little quilts. I'm not sure. I'm just getting them together, admiring them, enjoying them and then squirreling them away!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Swapper

When my soon-to-be-10 year old nephew was younger, he used to say the cutest things.  Like "thrisbee" instead of frisbee or "suri-up" instead of syrup. And he also said, "fly swapper" which I thought was hilarious.

Anyway, I've been a swappin' fool lately (a different kind of "swapper"!). I have been able to re-home some of the fabric from my stash and swap it out for some new-to-me fabric.

A couple months ago I swapped with Dorte and she sent me some cute prints all the way from Denmark.

 Awesome Swap with Dorte/NotYetTheDodo

I love those squirrels in squirrels - orange and brown are so retro. Penguins, mushrooms, apples - what's not to love?!
Plus, it's international - Fun stamps!

Awesome Swap with Dorte/NotYetTheDodo

I had a great swap with Lee and I have another one underway right now. Lee took my Modern Workshop fats and my Jennifer Paganelli halves off of my hands.  And sent me a wonderful assortment (butterfly lace!!!).  Can't wait to see what she sends me next!

Awesome Swap with Lee/Mimi Lee 2

Susan is lucky enough to work at a quilt shop and she was able to get me some of this Hometown canvas that I'm hoping to turn into tote bags in the near future.  She also sent along that cute key fob, too!

Awesome Swap with Susan/Chickenfoot

Lee, a different Lee this time, and I exchanged Tula treasures. I sent her 5 precious Flutterby fat eights and she sent me a wonderful, stupendous, tremendous assortment (blue squirrels!!!) of Full Moon Forest and Neptune.

Awesome Swap with leecreates

Amanda sent me some of her precious Neptune stash and I sent her some of my precious text stash (Annie's Seed Catalog - eep!). Fantastic swap and she even sent me a bonus chevron FQ! How did she know I wanted some of that (hmm... maybe it's in my profile...).

Awesome Swap with a crafty fox

As you may have noticed, I am trying to rebuild my Neptune empire, so I have been a-swappin' and a-tradin' my way to a set. Actually, I'm not even trying to get a full set. Just enough so I can make something, either in conjunction with my other Tula prints or on their own. I'm getting there and Jenn helped me to get just a little further! She had quite a destash recently and these five came to live with me!

Awesome Swap with sixtwentyseventh/Jenn

[Maura is sending me another little piece in the dark blue [deep sea] colorway!] I'm enjoying the thrill of the hunt and having fun indulging in fabric collecting with other like-minded folks. Most of my friends are of the non-crafty persuasion and don't know Heather Bailey from Heather Ross! That might be a good thing, though, right? :) 

So, not a lot of sewing, just swapping and fabric-admiring. There's a lot going on in my life at the moment and I haven't felt very inspired to create, but hopefully I'll get it back soon. Until then, I just have fabric posts. More Tula, up next!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Potholders!

Yippee! Ba{M}S potholders!

Awesome potholders from Katherine arrived a week and a half ago and I realized I didn't post about them.  (These are from my Be a {Modern} Swapper group.) I love them!  

Here's my inspiration mosaic:
potholder mosaic

I said to try something new and that's exactly what Katherine did! She got some experience with a couple new techniques and I got some great potholders (which I need because we only had two before!).

I made a couple more simple potholders for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day, but I didn't snap a picture.  I was a tad under the weather on Saturday and I had to do a quick finish late at night.

As we enter May, I begin the ramp up to the huge birthday bonanza that is the summer in my family. I have 12 family birthdays (13 including me, but I usually just buy myself fabric, rather than making myself something!) from June 1-August 31, plus Father's Day. I'd love to make everyone something but I just don't know if I am going to make it this year. I'm trying to stay realistic and think small. But I'm not good at that. Lots of grand intentions... Away to the drawing board!