Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm Still Here!

Minky Tag Ball

It has been a long time since I posted! But, as this is a record of my sewing projects and I haven't been sewing much... There hasn't been much to report :)

Here are a couple little things I made for my new niece - a tag blanket from minky and a matching ball. I filled it with fiber fill and a little cat toy with the bell inside. I just googled "tag blanket" or something like that and found a number of tutorials and ideas.

Tag blanket and ball
My sad first attempt at prairie points...
I had a sewing FAIL or a fail in the making. I think I started this dress a couple weeks ago...

Evening Empire Dress Fail

But the result was something a little too Brigadoon, rather than the carefree summer Madras that I was going for. I found this cotton homespun at Hancock Fabrics for $2/yard and decided to give this pattern a try (since I've had it for a year!):

AMH Evening Empire Dress pattern

I'm fairly new to sewing clothes and this is the first time I've cut out pattern pieces and actually tried to make the dress (I have a number of pattern pieces cut out for things I haven't attempted yet... and I've made several versions of the Mendocino Sundress).

Evening Empire Dress Fail
I am actually happy with the bodice. I was surprised that it went together so easily and fit fairly well :)
The pattern seems clear and everything was going along fine. First time I tried the invisible zipper, but it seemed to work out ok. I decided to line the dress with more of the outer material rather than buying something else. But that made it a bit too voluminous and for a empire dress, that is a big no-no. So I ripped out the lining this weekend and that helped a little. I also have to re-do the straps because I kinda fudged them and one of them is WAY off.

But eventually, maybe with a belt and a sweater I can make it work. If not, it was a good muslin for my next attempt. I can see how voile would be a great choice - something with a softer hand (OR, with a thicker fabric, maybe I need to make the skirt piece a little smaller because the gathers make the skirt portion a bit stiff and poofy...)


I did manage to complete 5 of my cloth napkins. (Seriously, I had one done on the 18th and I've managed to make only 4 more since...). 19 to go!

Working with that stripe at the bottom practically gives me a seizure every time I look at it!
I really want to finish up my Fandango quilt because the Naked Bed Challenge comes to a close on Thursday, so that's what I'm going to concentrate on in the next couple days. Then I'll go back to the dress re-hab.

AND... Look what showed up in the mail!

FQ win from Little Miss Shabby

Corey at Little Miss Shabby was having some giveaways to celebrate her birthday and I won one! I love that top print (from Pat Bravo's Bohemian Soul line). This is a great bundle of surprising prints and solids chosen by Charlie and Lindsay of the fantastic Hawthorne Threads fabric shop. Thanks Corey!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Up to My Eyeballs in Napkins

Cloth Napkin

This weekend, I spent hours sewing and I only have one napkin to show for it!

But what a lovely napkin it is, no?

I cut out 24 of these badboys after seeing Caroline's napkins at Trillium Design, based on Penny's tutorial for linen napkins at Sew Take a Hike.

Cloth Napkin WIP
These are the 14 with the sides sewn on, but not mitered or turned...
You see, I'm a bit of a napkin hoarder. Any time we go to a place with napkin dispensers (oh yeah, we're fancy hipsters like that), I always grab a handful of napkins. I don't know why I do this, it's not like I'm unusually sloppy...  But this results in having clean napkins shoved in the bottom of my purse or tucked into corners of the car... Perfectly good, unused napkins that eventually get rumpled and dirty and then, thrown away.

At home, we use those pick-a-size paper towels (told ya we were fancy!). But, there again, I like to have a couple, so there are folded paper towels in odd places around our apartment. Because why would I throw them away if they aren't even really dirty?!

I'm trying to be better for the environment (and for the restaurants!) and more economical. I made a set of napkins for my friend that were a different style. I just used a printed square and a Kona sold square, sewed around the edges with a hole left for turning and then top-stitched around the edge. Very easy, very cute. But, then you're using two full squares of cotton and I didn't want to use that much of my precious fabric. (On the other hand, I ended up using a 12.5" square and almost an entire FQ for each napkin, so you tell me if I came out ahead!) And Penny and Caroline's were so lovely with the bright colors and mitered corners, I thought I'd give it a go...

Cloth Napkin

The blue fabric is 100% cotton shirting that I got at Hancock's anniversary sale for 95 cents a yard (!!) and I thought they'd make good napkins. I paired them up with some FQs that have been languishing in a drawer. I didn't worry about matching the blue or anything (we'll be wiping our faces with them, after all!). And voila - one napkin, 23 partial napkins...

This was a bigger undertaking than I had thought. Note to self - always do a test block/napkin first :)

And now I think we're in for the Summer Sewing Slump. I still think about sewing a lot - probably because of the five million blogs I follow... but I haven't seem to do much sewing lately. Fortunately, it's just a hobby and not a job :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Welcome Spring in process

Whoopee! This is my first time participating in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. Thanks so much, Amy, for organizing all of this quilty-magnificence! And welcome, festival-goers, to my personal quilt journal.

I mostly make quilt tops with the intention quilting them later because I have space for basting (and I have a behemoth quilting frame waiting to be set up after a final move). So, I don't have a ton of finishes to choose from, but I do have this small quilt that I made last July.

Welcome Spring
The pattern is Welcome Spring by Cherri House for Moda Bake Shop using a jelly roll of Sanae's Oz line (check that link action!). I love the asymmetry of the quilt and it comes together really quickly. So, I would really recommend this pattern for a new quilter who likes modern-style quilting.

Welcome Spring Backing

I believe I used every last jelly roll strip in this project! I modified the pattern by making it a little longer (I think this pattern calls for 17 strips and I used 21). I made a pieced back and used the gingham-type strips to make a scrappy binding. 

Welcome Spring in process
I tend to do straight-of-grain bindings, more out of habit than anything else.
I believe that bias bindings are supposed to be more durable.
We've been moving around a lot and at the time I made this, I only had a card table to sew on and no design wall (I currently use the back of a tablecloth!), so I just taped the strips on the wall and moved them around till I liked the layout. I found it very helpful to number my strips since I was going for a planned layout.

Welcome Spring in process

This was my first attempt at spray basting and I really liked it. I hate, hate, hate pinning quilts (maybe one of the reasons for so few finishes?!), so spray basting was a great option for this project.

Welcome Spring in process

I finished it off with some straight line machine quilting, as Cherri suggests in her instructions. And this is the first binding that I really feel good about. I've had some disastrous ones in the past, but I remember feeling proud of this binding.

Welcome Spring

Finishing a quilt is such a great feeling! I love playing with fabric (and buying it, too!) and watching the quilt take shape along the way. But seeing a finished quilt come out of the dryer, all crinkly and soft is the best!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Two More Notes...

I also finished my May TwitterB blocks this Sunday, but had to wait till Monday morning for photos! Laura chose the Rectangle Squared block from Ashley over at Film in the Fridge.

Remember her focus fabric?

May TwitterB fabrics

And here are the blocks! Like other participants, I'd like to not have to buy fabric for my bee blocks, but my scraps are a bit limited at present. So, you'll see a lot of repeat offenders in my blocks (you know who you are... ahem, Parisville).

May TwitterB

I also found a little Twiggy to add. I loved that line. I made a tumbler quilt for my friend's baby out of it.

Hope you like them, Laura! Can't wait to see how this one turns out!

There's a magical thing that happens between Blogger or Flickr and my photos. They don't show up online looking the way they do in Photoshop. Of course, they don't start out looking great, but they always look worse once I get them uploaded... Oh well.


My picks for the FQS Bella Parade is up at Shruti's blog. For those of you who like to take pictures, this is a chance to win a yard of Moda Bella Solids every other day! There is also a quiltalong associated with the parade.

As you may remember, my color for the Parade was Peach. You can check my picks and Quiltdad's picks out at 13 Woodhouse Road!

Mother's Day Sewing and Dressing My Bed

Mother's Day Buckets/Baskets

I decided to make fabric buckets/baskets for the moms in my life - my mom, stepmom, and mother-in-law. I was inspired by Anna's versions at Noodlehead. She in turn based hers on the tutorial at Ric Rac. We added in some dishrags knitted by my husband. (Yes, my husband knits, in the grand tradition of pirates and sailors, so he says :))

This one is for my mom. It's probably about 10.5"in diameter. As far as interfacing, I used fusible fleece on the outside/pieced part and then stitched in the ditch along the vertical seams. I used some Peltex 71 fusible interfacing in the lining, to make sure that the bucket had some structure, but was still scrunch-able.

Mother's Day Basket-Mom

This one followed the measurements from the tutorial, so I think it is about 5.5" diameter finished. I used lightweight interfacing on the pieced part and fusible fleece on the lining (the pattern calls for lightweight interfacing and a strip of batting).

Mother's Day Bucket-Stepmom

One of these went off to my mother in law, not sure which one... I had intended to make two nesting baskets by I got my math a little wrong and basically they were the same, except one was about a 1/4" shorter than the other, making them look like mistakes instead of intentionally different. So, I kept one!

Mother's Day Bucket-MIL

Hope you and yours had a fantastic Mother's Day!!

This is my Naked Bed Challenge (see button at right for more info) WIP. This is essentially a slapdash project. I had two Moda Scrap Bags in Fandango. I picked 55 strips of differing widths (whatever was left after trimming the selvages - the strips are 1", 1.5", 1.75", and 2" finished) and they are each about 31" in length.  Then I took a selvage to selvage strip of Kona Bone, sewed it to either end of the Fandango strip and then cut the solid strip at a random spot with a scissors.

Naked Bed Challenge WIP
This is a shot of the 2.5" and 2.25" (unfinished) strips
The strips with the two different patterns were a variation on that method. I plan to square it up at the end. I definitely could have measured everything out and cut it to make it come out square/rectangular in the end, but I didn't.

Naked Bed Challenge WIP2
There's definitely more color variation after adding the thinner strips

This photo has five main panels of strips. I have about 16 strips left to add. The idea of the challenge is to "dress" your bed. I lucked out because right now we are in a double, so I can make it slightly smaller than those folks out there in kings! I think I may have to add a border, but I'm not sure. If my calculations are correct - and they usually aren't - it should be about 71" x 85", which is more like a twin.

The jury is still out on how I feel about it... My husband said that he really liked it. So, that's at least one thumbs up! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gen X Japanese Imports Swap

Gen X Quilters

I received my fabric this week! I had originally thought that I purchased the elephants on blue background, but I actually bought the natural background and I have to say, I like it better!

Gen X Swap

This was my first time ordering from SuperBuzzy. And I'm really happy with the service! The shipping info page says 5-7 days processing and 2-6 days transit. I ordered on Friday, April 22, in the afternoon and the package arrived via priority mail envelope on Monday, May 2. I only mention it because it's a bit longer than some other places I've ordered from, but it is exactly in keeping with their posted policies. So I give SuperBuzzy two thumbs up!

They also put two Japanese candies in the package, which my husband happily gobbled up!

Now, all I have to do is cut them up into charms and get them out in the mail to AnneMarie.

This week I've been focusing on some small Mother's Day gifts.  I'll probably post them this weekend or early next week. It's Thursday and I just got them into the mail today - nothing like taking it down to the wire!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Finally a Finish

Jour de pluie à Paris - Gustave Caillebotte
I hate the feeling of having orphan blocks and projects just hanging out in plastic bins. But I have a lot of them.

But, I am glad to say that I cleared two projects out of my bins! (I still have pieces of a 241 Tote languishing on my cutting table...)

The photo above is Gustave Caillebotte's Jour de Pluie a Paris - "Rainy Day in Paris." Jera made this quilt and called it Rainy Days. I made mine a little larger, out of Parisville and therefore, it's my version of Jour de Pluie a Paris!

Jour de Pluie Quilt
I have a bent corner up there on the left...
I decided to go mostly random on this and keep it as no-fuss as possible. The only truly directional fabric is the the Sea of Tears print - the teardrop print with the ships in it.  It was a toss up with the fans. I decided to make them look more like scales, instead (I do love Tula's Neptune!). I suppose strictly speaking the eye fabric should probably be vertical, but again I figured there was leeway. I think I washed out my photo a little bit - the colors are more vibrant.

Jour de Pluie Quilt part deux

As I've said before, I think this is a really quick pattern (provided you don't cut out the pieces and then let them sit around for weeks, then put the blocks together and then let the sit around a little more - let's call it "simmering" them, and then putting the quilt together) and it's great for larger-sized prints.  Thanks, Jera!
Foot rest
I finally also finished the floor cushion/foot rest. About time, right? I only cut out the pieces back in February!


I put a zipper in it, but this time I went vertically and I think it worked out better. I think the best filling would be bean bag beans. But I didn't want to put any more money into it, so instead, I filled it with some old sweaters and a set of sheets that I hate and then some fiber fill. It's still not as sturdy as I'd like, but it's a bit more substantial.

Seems to be serviceable, anyway!

Foot rest

I finished this Cabrio Tote I cut out way back on April 19th. And this one is all mine!

Cabrio Tote 2

My sister was the recipient of the poppy bag. Actually, I brought the bags home with me at Easter to see if I had any takers. Surprisingly, both my sister and my sister-in-law liked the poppy bag. (It was my first go at the Cabrio bag, so it was kind of a muslin.) And no one wanted the Parisville bag! But it just goes to show ya - we can't always anticipate what will be popular!

Cabrio Tote 2
Here's the ever-helpful mirror shot :)
I didn't mess with the straps that I thought I would, but next time... next time.

I took advantage of the sunny weather the last several days and took a few somewhat (it's always relative) better photos of older finishes. It's better than on the pool table, I think.

Dream On Charming Stars
Charming Stars
Origins Avignon Picnic
Avignon Picnic