Saturday, September 13, 2014

Night Sky Quilt Top by Jaybird Quilts

Phew, you'd think I'm not getting any sewing done, but I am.  Maybe even too much sewing! Branching out to clothes again though - trying to implement some skills I've learned from craft sewing into garments

A few days ago I finished a Night Sky quilt top. I made it for someone I love, so that's always harder than making something for myself. Like.. higher standards, and working with desires I may not agree with!

It came together in fits and starts, I put it away for awhile, not loving how I was choosing the colors (or maybe not liking the colors in the first place)  but winter is going to be here any minute and er... although one quilt doesn't make that much of a difference when it's cold out, it cant hurt!

Wasabi supervising
I hadn't had a strong desire to make this, but  took a trip with my husband last spring to the Washington peninsula.  We stopped at a quilt shop along the way that we came upon (unexpectedly I swear!!!) as we had lunch on the drive over.  Luckily it had some great stuff in it, and I got the Night Sky pattern and the sidekick ruler to go along with it. (I already have her Hex N More ruler, as she's local and all :)

Bad news is when I started cutting this pattern out, I um.. didn't read any directions and just started cutting pieces out with the ruler.  That means my stars ended up larger than they were meant to be.  Good news is that meant less stars, so the quilt top only took like uh.. 30+ hours to finish compared to how long more stars would have. I imagine it would've been a lot worse if I'd made smaller stars, but maybe a lot better if I planned knew what I needed and cut everything out at once.

good vs evil
Err, as I didn't read any directions  I sewed the whole stars together instead of half stars. Don't do that if you want ease in sewing together, unless you are awesome at y seams.

I'm not and although some of mine came together beautifully, others were.. well... let's just say I hope everybody who sees this in person is drunk and not paying attention!

I would've liked to make this with a lighter background.  I also went a bit crazy on the brights with last years moda's bundle of new colors... they had some day glow choices, that's for sure!I don't know that I'll make this again, but I'm sure going to play around with the sidekick ruler more.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sew Together Bag - Take One

I thought this sew together bag was an awesome looking pattern, and saw a lot of pretty versions of it.  I read lots of reviews and tips and it seemed like making two at once was the way to go, to learn, so I had fabrics set aside and partially cut out for when I got around to it.  When I had time to sit down and start it and realized I was making them for *peoplewhoarenotme*  so I decided to nix those and make one out of fabric I love.

Lo and behold, I had a lot of trouble with doing this.  I couldn't chose single fabric to base this on.  That sure says something about my stash, huh?  I settled on a color scheme - orange and blue.  I don't even know how I feel about those colors together, but I have a surprising amount of orange and blue fabrics so... why not?

I followed the sewalong tutorial  which was helpful - especially how it was broken down into five days so you weren't overwhelmed.
I'd read reviews that made it seem stressful, but besides one area where it was a bit unclear what you were supposed to do, this helped a ton.  I'll say the directions themselves were minimal IMO, and would've benefited greatly from picture or drawings about what the hell you were supposed to do.  This is why I always try to read a few reviews of a pattern before buying it - or waiting for a sew along.

Note: I also found this website to be a great tutorial for sewing the bag together, Cassandra has a great set of photos to walk you through making it.  I read a HELL of a lot of walk throughs before I settled on switching between this and the sewalong.

Surprisingly, I admit, this was kind of fun to make.  I liked watching it come together and comparing it to other people's as they put it together.   I put a pincushion on one side, and a felt piece for needles the other.  Directions on the pattern are nonexistent for this so yay for the internet!

 Here is the bad thing.. I have NO need for this bag.  My travel crafts are embroidery and hand sewing, and I already have more useful bags for this, including ones that fit a hoop or two. That said, I should be able to jigger it so it has less pouches but is taller, with a bit of  *math*  I happen to suck at math, but I love the idea of having a couple zippered pouches for various projects instead of fishing floss bobbins out from a tangle.  I'll figure out that damn math sooner or later!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Making the Cold Process Soap!

I've wanted to make soap for 20 years, I mean the using lye and making sure you don't go blind sorta soap. I had books about it over the years, but whenever I had strong desire I usually lived in a place it wasn't practical to do it in.  Recently I had some motivation in the form of needing to entertain my sister by making things with her when shes over next weekend, and *boom* plans were made.

freshly poured soap
I wont mention the book I own to reference, it's a first edition of a book that says to put the water in the lye instead of the other way around, which can cause a volcano of fumes and splashing.  I don't think much of an error that can result in chemical burns, so luckily the internet saved me, there are some amazing resources out there.

The smart thing to do was to make a sample batch so I know what I'm doing and can make it look easy when my sister makes soap with me. 

Let's just say it was a good idea, since it didn't run as smoothly as I wanted.  I made it outside due to the lye fumes and three kitties running around, and kept forgetting things inside.    This sample batch is citrus scented with loofah and poppyseed for exfoliation, and tumeric for color.

Supplies: Mostly bought online at Bramble Berry, which is a few hours north in Bellingham, WA.  Their prices were comparable to a number of places I looked at (I'd say the only area lacking is a variety of soap molds).  They also have a soap blog with lots of recipes and techniques called Soap Queen.  I really appreciate the well written articles and information on the site. 

I wont use the soap until it's cured for at least 4 weeks, so I can't give a review on how it turned out yet, but I learned a lot and will apply it for the future, hopefully resulting in better looking bars.  I haven't done a price breakdown so I'm not sure if this is efficient or just a fun hobby.  My recipe after the break.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ahhh..fabricking and soaping

My mysterious fabric for my sisters quilt was found, it was  PURE - STOF of Denmark - Burst Stripe in Purple and Grey.  It was found because Julie of The Intrepid Thread is awesome and when she couldn't ID it she put up a post about it, where it was recognized, and some total stranger named Anita in California happened to have some that she just up and mailed to me because *sniffle* people who sew are awesome.

This is where I tell anybody who ever wanders across this post that my ongoing review of her store is like.. BUY FROM HER.  Anita sent a total stranger some fabric because she thinks Julie is awesome and is also presumably really nice.  Julie is giving Anita some fabric because Anita was nice to me.  I am going to win the lottery so I can buy more fabric, and hopefully come up with something nice to do back for Anita.

This gave me an excuse to buy more fabric from her, and I have been excited about Indelible and I'm always short on green and low volume so there ya go.  As always shipping was fast, customer service was excellent, and FYI, they enclose a couple charm squares with each order, usually fabrics I haven't considered, and I love adding them to my stack of charm squares and pulling them out as needed for patchwork. 

I also started making soap this last weekend because I really do want to learn a new skill or two a year.  This is getting wordy enough that I'll put most of it in a new post.  I just realized this might be hereditary from my mother.   I remember her making macrame, embroidery, sewing clothes and quilts, making candles, canning, making jewelry...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Random Fabric ID Post & Soap

I'm 89% done with my sister's Tangelo quilt top (pattern by Carolyn Friedlander).  Ran out of a print that was from my stash, need a bit more cause ya know, I don't math so good apparently! OK, I ran out of two fabrics, but at least I know one is Kona in Cactus.  It's horrible to need less than 1/4 yard and be clueless about what I need to get, or face starting a row all over.  It is a couple of years old, and probably in stock nowhere once I figure this out..

Lotta Jansdotter, half the print size of mystery fabric
But what  *it* is, I don't know.  I thought it was Lotta Jansdotter but it doesn't seem to be (or exhaustive searches tell me this) let me know its similar to some other fabric that I got at about the same time.  I reverse image searched from my photo, and nothing.  Posting so I can upload picture ;)

On a side note related to my sister, I'm about to delve into soap making.  It's actually something I've wanted to do for almost 20 years, with my ex-husband we always lived in places small enough I didn't want to attempt it with our three cats. In the interim between then and now I  had other things keeping me busy, but now my sister is bored and needs a new hobby and there's plenty of outdoor space to explode lye, so I got busy planning.

I love a new hobby - I have wood soap molds to make, oils ordered from a Bellingham store that I'll get to go visit in person next time I drive north.  I have winged my own recipes with the help of a lye calculator and a lot of web research, and have my safety goggles ready so I can make a test run before working on a batch with my sister. I'd really love the quilt top done before she comes over so we can work on that and the soap!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Westwood Acres Liberty Subscription

At the end of last year I joined Westwood Fabrics liberty tana lawn bundle of the month club.  They charge your credit card monthly and ship you a bundle of 10 fat sixteenth/eighth/quarters.  It was $26.30 a month with shipping for the 1/16ths, which was as much as I was willing to spend on such a luxury indulgence with the inclusion of randomness mixed in.

You see, I bought two yards of Liberty three years ago when had it on sale for $32 a yard *gulp* finding the whole notion romantic and all.  I put in in the wash and the medium blue ran and redeposited on the fabric in light blotches.

It sits in my garment stash unused until I can find the right pattern, so you can understand why I have mixed feelings on Liberty, and consider going into therapy anytime I wade through my garment fabric stash and see it :o

Christmas Liberty
My sister in law, who as far as I knew, had no idea I'm a bit of a Liberty junkie, sent me a little bundle of it she found somewhere (for the life of me I cant find this shop online) for a Christmas present so it was like..a sign from above that I made the right choice to sign up. Or I'll take any excuse I can to do what I feel like doing.

I hadn't seen reviews for this fabric club last time I searched, so I thought I'd throw up some pictures of what I've received in case anybody is wondering what some of the adorable shipments going out in it look like.

Pros - I have a lovely little stash of Liberty,  and I really like some of the prints.  They lend themselves well to paper piecing and little projects.  I get to act like I know what's up in the world.

Cons - different colors of the same print are sent on different months, so if you dont like something, you can pretty much assume you are going to have multiple colors of a print that you don't like.  Also, there was one of randomly sized zoo animals and  I'm not really sure what to do with that. ;) 
I also spent a lot of money and yardage wise, I still only have 1/3 of a small shoebox filled with it.

Verdict: if you have the money and you don't need to love every print of a club, this is fun.  I cancelled it a couple of months ago because I couldn't justify the expense any more, but I think it's a great way to try out the options if you're in the US.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Marcelle Medallion Quilt

Well well well.  I have finished the Marcelle Medallion Quilt finally, the one I started last September.

back of Marcelle
One thing I just realized today  about medallion quilts is they looks odd being off center on the bed if you don't pull them all the way up over the pillows.  TRAUMA!

So, it's done.  It's king sized in case I ever have a king bed again.  The bedroom in our rental house is blue so it matches, what more could one want?.  It only took this long to finish due to the green border.  One of my cats (yes, my fat one)  had ripped a few holes in it while trying to jump up on the bed when I was testing it for size a long way back, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to quilt it without doing some major work.

I chose a random kelp like design that involved a lot of bubbles over the rips.  I think I patched them pretty securely!  We will see though.  I'm a little sad this will soon be covered with cat hair, but we make sacrifices for our children.

I'm actually on a quilting roll this month.  I've made good progress on a few quilts, made some Noodlehead 241 totes that have made me happy to play with, made a lot of clothes.. strike that.. started a lot of clothes and haven't managed to finish any of them...  

This was a fun quilt to make, and although I'm starting another medallion quilt, I have a feeling I will be revisiting this pattern at some point in the future. If you randomly stumbled onto this post and are suddenly struck dumb by the need to make one too, there's a great flickr group with tons of inspiration, and wonderful QAL instructionS and advice at the Penny Poppleton blog.

Friday, June 6, 2014


This is not a "I am not breaking up with you" letter.  I am not a big traditional fan, and I'm big on modern quilting but something about all these small blocks seems meditative.

I had a vague plan of something, and then I came up with this to be my color scheme.  It's a Photoshopped picture - supposedly of the Farie pools of the Island of Skye, which was sort of um.. ganked from a photo in New Zealand from what I can tell via my pal Google.  But I'm working my way through my color scheme pins on Pinterest, and it seemed time for this one!  Just to be clear, I fell in love with this version of the quilt two years ago and am finally starting it.

Then I suddenly went with dark navy blues instead of turquoise water and now I'm randomly going along.  Admission - I hit save on the above color scheme, and save as, in my $50 EQ Dear Jane program, and it said "screw you" and didn't save anything.  I just got lucky and pasted this one into Paint so I had a copy of it and I'm going with it.  Seriously, I hate you EQ.  I am smart and computer savvy.  I have done things you haven't even imagined in your mind, but nevertheless I am rendered idiotic at your stupid quilt program. Boo. Boo.

So navy blue for the innards, printed out the rest of the first half or so of the rows patterns, I have to get my double wedding ring further along so there is room for this stuff to go up on my quilt wall, and to resist starting anything new for awhile...

3 blocks left on the blues, some of them have taken 2.5 hours, and I'm getting practice in applique.  Daytime pictures to follow!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

It's my new machine!

I'm posting about my new machine.  I named her Molly.  I might change her name. Regardless I will probably forget whatever I named her, like I forgot what I named my Mustang.  I don't forget much, but made up names for inanimate objects seems to be my Bermuda triangle of information.

You see, it's my birthday this month.  I get weird about my birthday.  Presents make me nervous but I want to give myself a present cause I like me, so 4 weeks before my birthday when life was going BADLY I sorta caved.  I'd wanted a non-lowest tier machine for a long time.  I had a couple Juki's in my amazon list but couldn't justify the price .  During a sobby phone call to my husband about the stress of getting through the day while my garment sewing machine made me tug my double wedding ring blocks over the feed dogs inch by agonizing inch I expressed an early birthday present would make my life not suck, because despite myself I still love sewing and want it to be pleasure, not pain.

He told me to go for it, and even though I don't do spontaneous... I did..  I'd found this Brother PQ1500S on Amazon that I hadn't even registered before.  I read one details blog review on it.  The review listed it's pros and cons.  Even though one con was difficulty to replace the bobbin/can't see the bobbin without a clear screen, and thats important shit...I hit buy (did you guys take advantage of Turbotax offering an extra 10% on your tax return if you got it through amazon?  I did, so you know, it seems like it's free right?) and a few days later it was here.  I read the reviews after...

blurry lights off cell phone picture
Things I am dinking with - it seems set up for cones and short spools.  I have half a straw on the machine because when I used the thread cutter it was sending Auriful spools bouncing off of the thread holder.  There's this nifty apparatus for holding spools on but Aurifil is too tall for it? Tinkering with the thread cutter, when the tension is right it leaves enough length, when its not I have to rethread a lot (trust me, it is probably user error.) Even with the same thread above and in the bobbin, it's tricky getting the tension right until I figure out where I'm going wrong.

Sews like BUTTER, I was able to easily do straight quilting, it doesn't turn my seam allowances the wrong way I'm saving 50%+ as I sew together my double wedding ring quilt sections.  It has 1/4" marking that seem to be accurate..  It has a great harp space and I doodled a bit to check out the FMQ and I didn't pull out my own hair while doing it!  Bobbins hold a lot of thread, even if it's hard to get to it (ps, I think it's a benefit to be left handed due to the bobbin set up) It has a super sexy knee lift - I did not know I could feel like  *that* for a machine, but yeah, it's my favorite feature so far.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Finishes & Spontaneous Starts.

So many in progress things (and so many finishes that weren't needing a blog post - I seem to get a kick out of making certain things repeatedly, go figure!).

I finished my king triangle quilt, one I started April 2013... the damn thing should be longer but eh....  Just in time, as the warm weather has made my husband eschew thick cozy comforters -  We are using two quilts, I'm using one of my lap quilts too. How the fuck did people used to get by on just quilts?  Maybe I read Little house on the Prairie wrong.  Maybe they used a goose down comforter they got at land's end under their quilts.  I have the series on my birthday wishlist, so maybe I can reread it and it will tell me how they didn't freeze to death each winter.

Er..OK, so I've decided to regain my voice, regardless of any of my mothers or mothers-in-law reading it or not! I do like to swear, tis true.  I also like taking crappy pictures and not worrying about it as much as I'd like, so this seems like a great decision.

I'm also working an a double wedding ring quilt which was on my quilt bucket list.  I  think it's going to be twin sized. I have a boyfriend who's mother got him one and seeing it reinvigorated my interest. I wish I had gotten my new awesome sewing machine before I started this.  1/4" seam allowance was just a vague marking on the old one.

I started a new bucket list project too, cause finishing things that are taking up room would be anathema to me.  It's a Dear Jane. I don't know why.  Well I do, its because I saw this here, loved the quilting loved the version of this quilt, it was one of my first 5 pins on Pinterest.

GO DEAR JANE! I'm excited about it, so far of the dozen blocks I've made I've had 20 minute blocks and 90 minute blocks. 5.5" with sashing Gah, 220 some blocks.  It hurts.  Nevertheless I don't have a day job so sometimes I can geek out on sewing for hours at a time. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lush Uptown, a Pillow For a Hunter.

This is just a pillow I made for my favorite Bambi murderer, I mean person who is OK with the fact that meat doesn't come from a grocery store if you really think about it.  As soon as I saw this print from Lush Uptown which seems to be a re-release from 2008, knew I had to make him something from it since he wasn't making it out for hunting :(

I thought it would be easy and fun to embroider around all the different paint by  number colors with a backstitch.


 I can't  say how many hours I spent just doing the bits that I did.  It's a hassle, all those little curves made my head and fingers ache.  I ended up FMQ more of it than I embroidered because life is short and I didn't want to die while still working on this.

The back is a paper pieced thing I put together, I won't admit how many problems I had with it, but uh... yay it's done!  I don't hate it overall, and screw it, maybe nobody ever made him a pillow before and he'll appreciate it ;) 

On the brighter side it gave me a chance to order a FQ of all the painter's palette prints which I'm a big fan of!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Embroidery of the Month

I've been working on SO many embroideries, and finally finished a few of them recently.  I am not sharing all of them cause there seem to be a lot of topless ladies in them and/or they are neat but not impressive in my opinion, but I wanted to share this one.

This is from an art piece by Magicomora at deviant art.  He's a Spanish artist who has a lot of cool stuff, if you like that sort of thing, which I sure as hell do. It's titled "Innocent Bomb".  I plan on doing a second one with pencils and oil pastels for a lot of the coloring to save some hours.  A young lady of my acquaintance requested one without a bomb in it.  I think that's just asking for Bambi, but I'm not going to argue semantics!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Birch Bay Spring Quilt

I've been starting and making lots of things, as well as finishing plenty of small things, but I finally put together and finished my Birch Bay lap quilt from this shopping trip fabric buy.  And felt like writing about it, so here I am!

Not too much to say, it's prettier in person, one of my cats made it into a bed within minutes of the finish and me putting it down on the coffee table so I know it's a winner.

 Here is the truth.  I had to take it off my quilt wall mid assembly to take photos of something else and I didn't keep track of what went where so the rows did not go together in the way they were supposed to. Whatever, I don't care,  it's bright and cheerful and I have it wrapped around me this very moment.

I put most of my Heather Ross' Mendocino scraps in it since it matched the colors I was using which makes me happy, no more hoarding them in a drawer, I get to look at the mermaids and seahorses and octopi every day.

Backed with remants from the front & a vintage sheet.  The binding is Rashida Coleman-Hale's Koi in plusses.  I admit it, I love this print more than almost anything, already made a shirt out of it, want to by more yards so I can hoard it for no good reason except sometime the world might end and I'd be proud to leave a super awesome stash behind.

Main fabrics -
Alison Glass Bike Path in Chartreuse
Lizzy House Pearl Bracelet in Meyer Lemon
Kaufman Interweave Chambray in Sorbet
Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee Ladder Dot in Fuschia
Lizzy House Pearl Bracelet in Chat Noir
Moda's Comma in Black and Chalk

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Ellie Bag

I've been sewing, but also having a nice busy life.  Well, that and I'm on my third round of antibiotics for strep this year, as well as suffering through some colds and 24 hour viruses gotten from some evil children!  Anyway, I'm going to focus on the fact that I'm busy with fun stuff so haven't been writing.

Awhile back I saw and pinned this cute bag tutorial, the Ellie travel case tutorial from over at Fabric Mutt.  I took a day to sit down and make it because I ...need more bags?  The tutorial is pretty fabulous.  Thanks to my practice making the Aeroplane bag from Sew Sweetness I had better success with sewing a zipper in this way, and added an interior zippered pocket.

I used two prints from Pat Bravo's Carnaby St collection, Go Go London in Powdery for the exterior  and Psychedelia in Gold for the lining.  I also used Essex linen in Ivory for the exterior and handle.  The only real problem I had is that I SUCK at attaching handles without ending up with lots of extra sewing.  I don't know how people make them look so neat and tidy, and maybe I wouldn't be so aware of it if I hadn't used pink aurifil for it ;)

This was a fun bag to make, and I'm going to make another too. I actually used enough batting and interfacing so that is stands up and holds its shape, I guess there is a first time for everything! 

Linking up to SewJo Saturday at My Go-Go Life.