Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wonky Star Engagement Quilt - Mission Accomplished!

If it weren't for A Lovely Year of Finishes I may have never finished this. It's been about ten months since I finished the quilt top, and since I've only been quilting for 15 months... At that point I'd only machine quilted with stitch in the ditch,  so I thought I'd hand quilt.  I only hand stitched around the center squares and it still took forever and ever.

Not much to say.  I'm so tired of this quilt it's not even funny.  Started off with Kona solids in both parties favorite colors, but that looked flat so I added some prints & Pure Elements empire yellow (I love that color so much!) and it helped some.  This sure isn't my favorite quilt to date, but's done! *happy dance*

Yes, its horrific isn't it?
I didn't think I was going to get it done with my machine broken -somehow my dear husband bringing my backup up from the garage did what a few hours of tinkering couldn't...made the feed dogs kinda start working - they wont start things moving unless I start stitching away from a corner, which is what my old machine did.  Think they're still a bit lower than they used to be. No singer warranty centers in my state.  Not happy.

But it's patched where it needed to be yesterday, washed and dried it and labeled, done and cat hair free! My dear ex DID joke "didn't you start that two years ago or something?" so I might smother him with it...

Friday, May 24, 2013

So this is how it's gonna be huh? Also Contemporary Cloth mini review

Scrappy Sewing Machine Cover in Progress
This post is going to be all over the place, chalking it up to the 4 cups of coffee and the chocolate covered espresso beans that've been all I've had today...huh it's lunchtime isn't it?

I got a(n all things considered) thrifty Singer Quantum Stylist machine for myself for Christmas.  I was working on a sewing machine cover for it this morning when things stopped cooperating.  My top thread kept breaking (thought it might be the thread, it was some semi metallicky Sulky for the topstitching), the stitch length stopped regulating, things started knotting up & I kept re-threading but finally it just started knotting up.

Henry Road remnants - 7.5" saucer for comparison
I wondered if it was the fabric I was working on, which at the moment of destruction happened to be cotton duck.

Hey look its a great segue to mention something I got from Contemporary Cloth this month, a Henry Road remnant pack.  Now, apparently I'm a sucker for scrap packs, but when I got this I was like..what the heck did I just get?  Ive never even actually heard of Henry Road, and don't have a need for cotton duck, but well there ya have it.  $50 a yard cotton duck, and here's what I got in my remant pack. They do make some fabrics I like but most of these aren't them!

Back to the machine - the feed dogs wont raise all the way so the fabric won't move.  I can manually lift it up but as soon as I start moving the needle it drops down into the FMQ position and won't go back up.  There isn't an easy way to get the machine apart so I can see how the whole things works, and although the hubby is tech savvy, he's not this kinda tech savvy.   It's all clean, new needle, so its probably the spring.  I'm going to keep tinkering with since I have a number of threads open with tips, but I think I'm out of luck.  Main irritant about this is I haven't finished my Lovely Year of Finishes project for May yet.

Oakshott Lipari charm pack
I'd ordered a charm pack of Architextures too, and the Lipari Oakshott charms.  I wasn't too happy with the Oakshott because they were creased in the middle and I've ironed them but the crease didn't come out on all of them.  I was less than impressed with the brown and black in the pack, but the luster of  some of them is undeniable.  Too bad they aren't a bit less pricey.

Anyway, my order from Contemporary Cloth arrived in a timely manner, the other items I got were all in good shape,  I'll order from them now and again, and I'll never need to buy another remnant pack ;)

So back to the machine..there's not a Singer Warranty center anywhere in WA state, so I'm hoping shipping it out won't be too much of a hassle, but I can't say I'm feeling optimistic about this, or looking forward to going back to my garment oriented and non quilt friendly Brother .


On a side note, it turns out the Groove Quilt from the totally groovy quilt along matches the  Comma pillow I made well enough that I don't have an excuse to make a new quilt this week..then again since my main machine is broken I suppose that's for the best!

Ponzu settles into his new crib

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Comma Body Pillow

So much for a catchy title!
When I married my husband, part of his dowry was an ugly beige body pillow.  I don't actually know how old it is, and I don't want to, but he's been adamant about keeping it.

 For the last two years its been residing on the top of the loveseat in our computer room, mainly as a cat bed for our kitty, Ponzu. 

Ponzu really likes to lick his arms, and then move to licking the pillow, and that noise... *shudder*

I decided to discard the old cover, and make a removable one I can wash the cat spit out of :| 

My husband actually liked the bold graphics in the charm pack of  Comma by Zen Chic for Moda that I got earlier this month, and he rarely likes any fabric I get.  Since he has to see the pillow every day, it seemed to fit the bill.

The front used just about the entire Comma charm pack plus six 5" kona solid charms all split into 2.5" strips.  I quilted it with green, yellow and orange Aurifil thread.

 For the back of the pillow, I just used a grey yellow & white print,  I did some FMQ on the back, but the contrast isn't interesting enough to really show up well so you don't have to see it ;)  Most things even line up!   Now of course I have the problem that the quilt on the sofa doesn't match, so I guess that means some more interior decorating is called for.
filthy bastard

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Center Diamond Fabric Store "Review"

This one I didn't take, but this is Center Diamond Fabric Store in Cannon Beach, OR

As I've waxed on and on about previously, I spent five peaceful nights on the Oregon coast recently.

It was a mistake how it all happened - while googling for "Alki" & "hot tub" and meaning Alki Beach here in Seattle - this lovely mid century modern place named after it called Alki House in Arch Cape, OR came up.

It seemed like serendipity (aka they offered me a 25% rate reduction for it being last minute!) and off I went with a bag full of embroidery and some hand sewing.

Of course it was my duty to check out Center Diamond, which was located ten minutes north in Cannon Beach.

I really wanted to pick up some Oh Deer by MoMo

So as expected they had lots of batiks and traditional fabrics, which aren't my style but OH MY!  They had a large variety of modern fabrics, and it was amazing how fun-ness much they fit inside. I imagine the turnover for some of these things are not super fast in a vacation-y town. There were a great selection of Art Gallery fabrics (my faves!) Lotta Jansdotter's Echo (not the print I wanted most of course but most of the line), Cloud 9 Organics and ton of fun and awesome fabrics, .  There were a few Heather Ross Far Away 3 prints, I almost got some but decided to make my splurge fabric one of the Echino's they carried.

Happy Zombie has a review with more great pictures of this shop too from her stop there during Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day!

Besides some fabric, I picked up some extra floss from their small selection. They had all the modern books and plenty of patterns to choose from.  There were sashiko patterns, thread and needles too but I managed to resist. The two employees there were sweet and didn't mind me snapping a couple of pictures as I was checking out.

Anyway summary is - great store.  It is pricier than buying online, but they have an amazing selection and nice employees.  I was much more impressed with it than I am with our Seattle Pacific Fabrics (I admit I haven't managed to check out the West Seattle Fabric company yet, even though my sister lives 5 minutes down the street from there, something I must rectify soon).  I did have to resist going back for a second round to grab a bunch of things I didn't drag to the cutting counter the first time, but as Alki House is really a romantic getaway sorta place (and I also recommend it if you're in the area), I might just be dragging somebody down there for a second trip!

Lucrative Embroidery Weekend and Sew Mama Sew! Winner

To get the important news out of the way so I can go back to talking about making stuff again, the winner of my Sew Mama Sew! Tsuru giveaway was  comment #249/266, Shirley of Simplesew. Yay!
I was also lucky enough to win some pretty Anthropology and Kate Spain fabric from Karin at Lovin' Life At The End Of The Dirt Road.

This is where the vacation magic happens!
I just spent five nights on the Oregon coast, which I'll speak more about later.  I managed to get a couple embroideries finished, a couple started (when will I learn?) and a bit of progress on the one that is causing me a lot of trouble.

Above is Jack Skellington from "The Nightmare Before Christmas".  My husband is fond of Jack, so I may as well indulge him.   I'll probably add it to the flickr group when the Tim Burton stitch along hosted at Follow the White Bunny happens as well as doing another one (an Edward Gorey stitch along is winding up).

I also managed to finish what I think is the first embroidery I started.  Think it was going on nine months or so now - a vintage birdie tattoo inspired one. 

I'm a bit grumpy because whatever I used to trace the design on the fabric isn't coming off, I think it was a Pilot Frixion pen, so lesson learned about letting things sit around for months before using the iron to erase the marks!  I've also learned a lot about embroidery since then that could've made this better, but I'm just glad to have it done.  Don't ask about those weird color choices for the wings...

I finished stitching around the center squares for all the stars for the Wonky Star quilt, there's about 6 places where some reinforcement mending needs to happen, and it will finally be off  to the rightful owner!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lovely Year of Finishes May Goal

Wow, I've been so busy getting ready to go on a road trip that I forgot to make a goal (well I mean I HAVE a goal, its just the blogging part I slacked on).  With that said, it's time to link up to A Lovely Year of Finishes so I don't somehow slink out of my commitment!

I'm making a wonky star quilt for my ex-husband and his lovely fiance as an engagment present... I hate to say this but I kind of blogged about finishing the quilt top last AUGUST. 

In December it was all sewn together, and I was using pearl cotton to hand stitch around the center squares of the stars. I think I'm about halfway through, but since my cats kept sitting on my quilting frame, I finally took it down until I had the time to actually finish it.

When I started this my understanding of how important having enough seam allowance was... how do I say this nicely...sucky.  There are at least a few places where things are going to come apart if I don't patch them, and thats the other reason I haven't finished this.

Luckily they are having a long engagement so there's not a wedding date set yet, but I still want this to be an engagement and not a wedding present!  They are mellow folks so I know the imperfections will be AOK with them too, but I AM going to get this done this month.

Tomorrow I'm off to the Oregon coast to relax, ponder life, and drink generous amounts of red wine while I embroider (I actually considered taking my sewing machine but managed to stop myself...) and this is in my trunk and I will be finishing the hand sewing this week, and anything I can't re-enforce by hand will be finished up by machine when I get back.

Sew Mama Sew! Giveaway

*Note - I see I accidentally posted in US only, this IS open internationally!

It's Sew Mama Sews! 10th giveaway day and I was thinking what a good excuse for me to make a montage! Ok, OK, a collage, but  whatever, I am just happy to have a growing amount of projects that I am happy about having made.

For this one, I'm giving away 6 fat eights from Art Gallery's Indian Summer & Rashida Coleman Hale's Tsuru. I'm throwing in spools of red, blue and golden Aurifil thread too.

I thought seriously hard to come up with a good non sewing question, then promptly forgot it, so I'll go with this - What's your earliest memory of doing a sewing or other needle related project?  Mine was in 1st grade, making an M&Ms felt mobile in vacation bible school, french knots for eyes and all!  It's made me start revisiting doing more embroidery in the last 6 months or so, and I'm enjoying interspersing it with my sewing projects. 

You don't need to follow me to enter, but feel free to.  I know you have lots of free time to sit around reading random things ;)

1. one comment per person
2. answer the question to be eligible
3. i'll ship internationally for this one
4. leave an email if its not in your profile.
5. comments close at May 10 at 5 p.m. PST and a randomizer will pick the winner

Don't forget to go check the rest of the giveaways!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Doctor Who? Embroidery

Excessively geeky post here.

I was lucky enough to be invited to be the guest of a guest at a wedding last weekend, and although they requested no gifts, I really thought "whats better than giving an overly personal handmade gift to somebody I met once briefly two years ago that asked for no gifts?" Thats not too weird!

It probably isn't too weird actually, as the wedding was Doctor Who themed, with a Tardis and all! (And there were men in kilts, which is totally unrelated but still welcome)  I love Doctor Who as a whole, though the episodes can be hit or miss.  My husband got me to start watching it as part of his sinister plan to make me geekier and geekier with each passing year.

I'd repinned an image awhile back from deep in the bowels of tardisadventures.

I'd thought it might make a good embroidery - one of the weaknesses with the bit of embroidery I've done is doing too MUCH & I thought this would be a good challenge to try to decrease the detail since I couldn't manage to copy it exactly.

This was a good chance to try a variety of stitching techniques, thank the stars (pun!!!!) I've the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Embroidery Stitches as a resource.  I used DMC floss & metallic floss.  I may have gone a bit overboard, some of the embroidery there is the first initials of the bride and groom in uh... the Gallifreyan alphabet as well as the word Love.  I figure any Who fan should get a kick out of that.

This was quite the undertaking, but I was happy that although I love how it turned out, flaws and all, I'm not regretting it being meant to find a home elsewhere.  (that's an 8" hoop, by the way) I suppose next time I better make something for the spouse - he's still waiting for his Dalek/Llama embroidery....

I was still finishing up a drawstring carrying bag for it last minute so I had something to put it in.  I also forgot to take a picture, but I used Madrona Road's Memoir print to cover the back,  it has all sorts of whimsical sayings that I thought were very appropriate for the situation. 

french knots, blanket pinwheel, stem stitches, satin stitches...

The wedding was great fun and their vows were everything you'd WANT vows to be.  It's good to know that I am still perfectly incapable of not crying in public during happy things!

They didn't have a gift table (that whole please dont bring gifts cause we don't want to have to cart shit home after thing I'm guessing ;) so this hasn't been passed along to them quite yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed it arrives in one piece and makes the bride and groom giggle a little bit.