Thursday, January 31, 2013

Schoenrock Cross Block

Yay I squeaked out another project before the end of the month.

Leila at Where the Orchids Grow is doing a QAL for the Schoenrock Cross block.  I got excited when I saw a few examples of the block and all the different takes on it.  It's foundation paper piecing and now that I've done a few paper pieced blocks this year, felt comfortable tackling it.

Leila gives some examples of different variants, with 4, 5 or 6 fabric choices and various color placements. Some very pretty blocks are in the flickr group too.

pre quilted

I'm not ready or crazy enough to tackle an entire paper pieced quilt at this time, but wanted to make another pillow so I can end up with that sofa full of fluffiness I promised to accomplish this year.

Full disclosure -  the magenta shot cotton was supposed to be where the grey is, but I immediately started sewing it together incorrectly so I went with it

(I DID tear things out and start over several time when I was doing the paper piecing for the January Lucky Stars BOM, no way I was doing that again!)

quilted block
Think there were better choices for FMQ'ing it, what is up with the sloppy lines I did?!?!  I've decided to rip the stitches out in some spots, so I'll see how that ends up.  With the border this finishes at about 13", so I need to go get a small pillow form to finish this up soon.

Petals and Leaves in Grey - Washi by Rashida Coleman Hale
Shot Cotton in magenta -  Kaffe Fasset
Historic Tile in Plum - Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry
Ladder Dot in Black - Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt
Dotted Leaf in Lime - Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt
Voltage Dot in Lime - Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt

Monday, January 28, 2013

January Finishes - Makeup Case and Ironing Board Cover

I managed to get a couple other projects finished this month, the first one was a makeup bag to match with the Amy Butler Weekender Bag I made out of Tula Pink fabric.

There was a pattern in Little Birds: 26 Handmade Projects to Sew, Stitch, Quilt & Love for a makeup bag with a template that was shaped differently than all the other little pouches I've made so far so I wanted to try it out.

I made one side with Tula Pink's Bees Knees in Sunset and the other in her Cameo in Sprout, both of which I used in the weekender bag too.

I used FMQ around the flowers on the fabric/batting sandwich of the Bees Knees side (must practice!)  The little box corners I got from this were much easier to do than the traditional box corners of a lot the little bags I've made so far use, easier than sewing  square corners then having to sew again and cut chunks of it off to square it off.

This was a quick easy project (yay!)

The other thing I got done was to finally recover my ironing board.  The last cover I got was wrecked within a few months, so I've been looking for another one while stalling at the idea of making my own.  Nevertheless when I saw the link at how does she? for making your own cover, and took another glance at my stained ugly cover, I sucked it up and decided to go for it.

There was only one fabric in my stash I actually had enough of to make this, purchased before I actually started quilting and realized you don't go around buying yards of quilting fabric as if you're making clothes.  That was Amy Butler's Soul Blossoms Bliss Temple Tulips in Azure.

This tutorial was super easy to follow, and although I should've given myself a couple more inches to play with on each side, from cutting to finishing took me LESS than an hour.  I've just put it over my old cover so I could keep using the pocket that hangs from it, but next time I make one I'll sew a pocket into it most likely.

 Is it almost February already?  I'll have to avoid the compulsive desire to make my husband heart shaped presents!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Portal Potholders - Part 2

that blue one isn't even really round anymore....

Yay to the fact I have my January's Lovely year of Finishes project finished.  Boo to the fact it was harder than it probably had to be.

I did my applique Chells, THEN I found a wonderful picture tutorial with lots of tips and hints at Cat Patches on how to do applique.  I did use Steam a seam on the back of my figures, but that's about the only thing I did "right".

I didn't even think to use a blanket stitch for applique, I just zig zagged it.  Probably be more sturdy if it needs to be washed....And maybe I should've used fray check cause was fraying.

mid project binding fail
The orange binding went on beautifully.  The first blue I tried puckered and warped and went on horribly.  The only difference was the orange was unwashed & the blue, pre-washed.  In fact all three blues I have close enough to match the game's colors were pre-washed.

After pretending it didn't exist for a few days, I painstakingly ripping the binding off and tried again, startching the heck out of my new bias tape, and it worked out _much better_ but not anywhere as perfectly as unwashed fabric, so lesson learned (I hope!).  I think it was slightly narrower than the orange bias tape too.

On the down side, after taking the binding off I had to trim the edges of the potholder in a few spots and so the blue one is a bit smaller than the orange one. :|  The orange one sure looks great though! ;)

moderately better final binding

The potholders ended up going directly on the recipients bookshelf of geeky toys n stuff (along with the only cross stitch project I've made in the last 30 years) <<<

Apparently they wont be sullied in the kitchen so perhaps I could've skipped the insulated batting, but I'm glad they were well received, and now I can attempt something more challenging for next month's project!

Potholder bodies - Kona in black
Seam binding - Kona in orange and turquoise
Chell - Kona in snow
Insides - one layer of Insul-Bright insulated batting, one layer of Natural and warm batting
Thread - Guttermann

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sublime Stitching "Review" and Embroidery

A couple of months ago I won a pack of Sublime Stitching's new line of embroidery floss in the color scheme "flowerbox"  from Feeling Stitchy.  I didn't go and actually open or USE it, I spent two months just gazing at the colors, cause they're so pretty. Winning something from a company is a great reason to buy something from them, so it was a perfect chance to get a gift for my sister (and some stuff for me, I admit it!).

cool but unusable wicket stepscissors
I got two sets of floss in the "parlour" color scheme as it's my favorite, a pattern for each of us, and a pair of their wicked step scissors for my sister.  For my pattern I chose the ones by Tara McPherson, she's done art for a lot of bands I like enough to have made the effort to see in concert so that was an easy choice, while my sister gots the zombieish/monsterish/skaterish set by Michael Sieben.

I tried out the super cool looking "Wicked Step Scissors" to see if I should get some for myself too.  The way the blade is curved pushed both floss and pearl thread right out when I tried to cut it,, and if it managed to grab it at all it just gnawed it a bit.  Even holding the thread taut didn't result in a clean cut.  My husband tested them too in case it was a left vs right handed issue with the same results.  As scissors should make your life easier not harder, this obviously wasn't going to work.

I wrote about returning them & I got a fast response and great customer service from Stephanie and managed to get a pair of their less cool but still neat looking "black scissors " instead, which worked beautifully, so I'll be getting another pair for myself, none of my smaller pair of scissors has worked so nicely.

My favorite embroidery on the sheet was this one -  a lot of people have done it already so there was lots of inspiration.

I got some almost white DMC floss for part of the hair, but all the rest were colors from the parlor floss set. I love the floss, it didn't tangle at all, and the colors are very crisp and bright. (As in that balloon is more purple than I was able to capture in a photo.)  This was a fun piece to make, and I'm looking forward to trying out more of their patterns.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hand Quilted Chevron Pillow

After participating in two Kona solid charm swaps that Alyssa at Pile O Fabric held last year, I found myself in possession of a hell of a lot of 5" Kona squares.  I've seen a number of lovely chevron pillows lately, and since working with solids is something that's somewhat of a challenge for me with my print addiction, I wanted to give a solid chevron pillow a shot. (And it's sure easier to make sure your fabrics go together :| )

I had a 16" pillow form I wanted to cover, so I picked out 4 reds and 4 yellows Kona charms and made 4.5" half square triangles with Kona in snow.

Unlike my last pillow attempt I was smart enough to use some batting to back it, and I think it turned out looking much nicer. I used some DHC pearl cotton to embroider on the Kona snow some, as it looked a bit stark


The back was a bit harder, I tried a few designs but the one I wanted... well there wasn't a way to sew it together easily, so I went with this and used more of the charm squares and Kona snow

I wasn't sure how I was going to close this, but the back design made the choice of a side zipper easy.  The only zippers I had big enough were garment zippers, so I used a slightly too small vibrant pink one from my last etsy order from zipit, and just made fabric tabs for the ends so it was wide enough.

If I was predicting the future, I'd say this time next year I'll have a sofa full of pillows and nowhere to sit!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January BoM's & A New Sewing Machine

I'd been using a inexpensive Brother Project Runway I got when I decided to try making clothes a couple years ago.  It has a 5 inch harp, which has been a pain for FMQ.   My husband suggested I get a more quilt friendly machine since apparently this isn't a passing fancy.  As he's not as budget focused as I am, his suggestion for a spending threshold was pretty generous.

I almost got a Janome 6500 (since there's the option to get a long arm if we ever move to a place big enough to hold it!) and seriously, that was tempting.  Really really tempting.  Then I considered a couple of less expensive Juki's, but they were straight line stitching only.  As I do want to do garment stitching still but not switch between two machines all the time, I decided to go for practical and thriftier, and got a Singer Quantum Stylist.   It comes with like...15 feet!  Tons of great reviews on Amazon, and it's perfect for garment sewing, and it has a nice extension table for quilting.   And I <3 the automatic thread cutter.  I think it was quite a practical purchase for under $350.

I've only sewn a bit with it so far but I'm very happy with the upgrade. I got to use the lettering option to sew "BITE ME!  The feed dogs are great, with my Brother I'd have to move a lot of quilt blocks manually a bit at a time for them to catch and start, so with all the layers the practice block for the Lucky Stars BoM was quite difficult, but this Singer easily moved along the foundation paper pieced blocks, even when there were seams on each side pointing in different directions. 

So with my happy new machine I finished blocks for Lucky Stars and And Sew On...

The "Measure Twice" for the And Sew On BoM was a nice simple block & the second foundation paper pieced item I've done (the first being the practice block for Lucky Stars).

I didn't have any ruler fabric around, so I used my machine to make a crappy looking ruler!

Wasn't sure what direction I was going to go in for fabric, but I guess I will be making sweeter softer color choices for this project. (A good way to use up some of my fabrics I wouldn't usually use!)

The January "Lucky Stars" was not quite so easy for me.  I started sewing without reading the directions... ya, that's me.  Then on one square I sewed the fabrics onto the wrong sections.  I sewed on the wrong lines more than once too. Embarrassing! ;)

I still have a lot to learn about how to choose fabric combos, and there is a good chance I will remake this block at some point, as I'm not thrilled with the butterfly fabric in this application.

Turquoise, bright greens, yellows, pinks and creams are going to be my colors for this quilt.  Since I used red & sienna instead of pink those may be other good reasons to revisit this block.

I was worried BoM's would take up too much time, but I think I will be able to get lots of other projects done too, even with the other BoM and Curves class going on.  And my Singer just sewed these together like a dream.  I think I'm going to go pet it for awhile and think of a name for it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Portal Potholders - Part 1

This is my first post for a 2013's A Lovely Year of Finishes. I started working on this project 4-5 months ago and it's been languishing while I did much funner things, and I am determined to finish it this month.  I'll be doing more traditional projects in the future, but I need to get this one out of the way.

Portal Embroidery Hoops from troublewithcrafting
I have a number of geeky video game lovers in my life (I guess I can include myself in that population), and it's fun to translate game stuff into crafting projects once in awhile.  If you haven't played portal (admittedly while it is cute and fun, I have not gotten around to playing through it myself)  the premise is simple, your character makes portals in different areas and walks in one and out the other to progress through the game.  Gosh, that sounds boring but it's not.  It's basically a rated G puzzle game with a slightly sarcastic robot narrating your progress. 

I made a few insinuated hot pads for Christmas, and when I saw the embroidery hoops from thetroublewithcrafting I realized it could translate (hopefully) into some potholders. 

I was merrily zooming along when I got stuck.  I got stuck was because I had trouble printing out just the right size Chell (that's the character's name) to use to go on them.  Then when I thought I had it, with some experimentation realized there's not a graceful way to rotate him to keep him inside the potholder area without him being too present or not present enough in each one.  Also I have to do applique, and I am pretty intimidated at the idea of managing that with this project.

So everything is cut out, it had been hiding in a drawer like any good UFO should.  I guess now is as good a time as ever to let it sit on my table taunting me until I get it done!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Kool Kat Kwilt

So after I had....just about two quilts under my belt early this year, both made with GIANT squares of fabric so I was feeling confident.  I thought I would start early to make my MIL a quilt for Christmas.Our decor tastes are different, but I figured we both think cats are awesome, and I figured I could handle a lap quilt, so I went a-googling.

I searched around and found the Kool Kat Kwilt pattern, made by Patti Carey.  The PDF doesn't seem to be available as of 12/14. I scratched my head  a lot over the directions a lot as I'd never done a quilt block before and I'm not sure it's a proper pattern.  I ended up with askew blocks & while they were supposed to be 8" blocks I ended up having to trim them to 7.5"  I didn't know how to plan for fabric amounts, so I ran out of the FQ bundle I'd got when I tried to finish this up later in the year, and uh...improvised.

There were all sorts of problems, I accidentally cut through two pieces (no spare fabric), fused them next to each other onto interfacing and didn't think to zig zag them together or something BEFORE I sandwiched the quilt.

I don't want to think about how many mistakes I made on this - ha ha ha, embarrassing and on top of that, my husband said his Mom had made one quilt in her life, and on our last visit there I saw NUMEROUS well made quilts she had done - if I wasn't embarrassed before ;)  But it's the though that counts at least!

I hand stitched it with pearl thread, and used a satiny sheet for the back.   I'll just cross my fingers that I've learned a lot since I started this and could do it better today.