Work-in-Progress Girl


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Sunday Stash: Neutrals

I’ve been getting myself in the bad habit lately of writing half an entry, saving it for later, and then never finishing it up. The last one was about batting (and I’d still like to come back to the subject) and included a link to a then active Massdrop for wool batting… but I’ll save the rest of that conversation for later. Instead, fabric.

I haven’t been posting Sunday Stashes very frequently for a while because I’ve actually been much better in this latter half of the year about not buying fabric I don’t have a specific purpose for. I mean, not that I’ve stopped mindless buying entirely – I never fully got on the Fabric Fast Wagon at the beginning of the year and I still haven’t quite got on it now – but I’ve cut my fabric buying way, way back. It was a bit of an awkward summer for me and without getting into all of it (as most of it is not my story to tell) there’ve been quite a few moments when I’ve thought I might wind up rather suddenly having to move. And my DOG the thought of packing up all that fabric (plus all the fabric that was coming in) and finding somewhere to put it in a probably much smaller apartment was a bit daunting. The kind of daunting where my practicality finally got the better of my desire to buy All The Fabrics I Love And Some That Fell In The Cart When I Wasn’t Thinking Hard Enough About It.

But here are some new things…:

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I generally try to avoid people’s posts where they talk about What’s On Sale in the online fabric buying market, but I went and read one somewhere and then tumbled blissfully down the rabbit hole of a sale at Green Fairy Quilts and found myself walking away with a Fat Eighth bundle and a jelly roll and a pattern (not pictured for reasons of I kept having too much glare on the packaging). I think that was my first time buying from Green Fairy Quilts and if the Canadian dollar keeps taking it’s long downward stumble against the American dollar I may not shop there again for a while, but it was a good shopping experience and I’d definitely go back. The package came really quickly, which is not a requirement – I do grasp the realities of international shipping – but still is great. (I mean, generally it takes almost exactly 14 days for me to get mail from the US, and so that’s always what I gauge things by, but it was exactly 7 days instead, so woo!) I found their website a bit busy (appearance-wise) for my tastes, but if you’re looking for Moda or Riley Blake pre-cuts, you really can’t go wrong. (They do have yardage and notions and Aurifil and Superior Threads and all sort of other things, it was just the pre-cuts that really stood out to me.)

Anyway… fabric. I was looking for some more masculine pre-cuts when I stopped in and I think both my selections delivered.

My first selection was Amy Ellis’s Modern Neutrals:

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This line covers a nice range of blue, grey, brown, something I call taupe, but is probably better described as tan or latte, and then… an unfortunate bit of salmon/coral that I’d thought/hoped was a little more orange coloured than it actually is. It has no florals, so I figured it would work for something more masculine. (I’m hoping to make a couple quilt tops for a friend’s Linus group which is in need of quilts for older boys – they get a lot of baby quilts and a lot of things for girls, but less that are appropriate for older boys.)

These are my favourite three prints of the bundle:

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I’m always kind of drawn to the quieter tone on tone and geometric prints, I think. I mean, occasionally I’ll like some wild floral print, but mostly this is the stuff I go for.

Here are the rest of the prints:

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I just really don’t love those corals. Any how, I’m trying to remind myself that probably they’ll look good mixed into a quilt with the rest of it, just that little pop of other colour. (But the pattern I’m intending to use only take 18 F8s and I’ve got 28, so more likely I’ll abandon most of the corals and include only a little for some interest.)

And here is the jelly roll I bought, A Field Guide by Janet Clare:

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This one again has a really neutral colour palette and I think a fairly masculine one.

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There is a butterfly print in this line and a floral, but I don’t think it’s going to stand out when it’s rendered in these neutral tones. I’m actually kind of interested to get this one opened up and see what I think, but it might be a while yet before I get there.

Linking up with Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles:

Molli Sparkles


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A Lovely Year of Finishes – October Goal (+ TTMT)

So I chose a really easy goal in September, which means I think I should pick something a little more complex this month! And I’m really hoping I’ll get it done because if I do, then my Christmas gift for my mom will be entirely taken care of. I talked about this a bit back in the winter when I was working on piecing the top, but I played pretty coy with it because I kept hoping I’d get it finished really quickly, and I wanted to be like “Woo look what I made!” without beating the whole thing to death before hand like I usually do. But the last photo I took was in February, so clearly that getting it finished quickly thing didn’t pan out. In fact, let’s look at my January ALYOF goal:

January goals

And then I went on to talk about how I wanted to give this to my mom for her birthday (early in February) but that they probably wouldn’t come to visit until late that month. Hahahahaha. February.

Okay, well, continuing to play coy with the look of the entire quilt, this is my goal for October: to get the Confetti Go Lucky quilt basted and quilted and bound. Soon would be good (because I want to get two charity quilts done this month too, if possible).

October A Lovely Year of Finishes goal

A Lovely Year of Finishes

And finally, another Talk to Me Tuesday video. I’ll get around to writing about these cushion covers one day soon… (the light’s just gone really early, so I keep putting off photo taking till after dinner, but by then it’s too late).


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WIP Wednesday: Cushion covers

So I’ve been working on cushion covers lately. Quite a while ago, like months ago, I’d cut out all the pieces for a 16″ quilt block that exactly matched one I’d sent away for the Stash Bee and then it sat around for a long, long time without me doing anything with it. And then I got bit by the free motion quilting bug because I was working on that baby quilt I just posted about the other day and I started watching Craftsy videos about free motion quilting – I’ve got several, two with Leah Day, one with Elizabeth Dackson, one with Angela Walters, and one I haven’t watched with… Wendy Butler Berns – and that got me wanting to do some more practise. But I hate just using random fat quarters (and I hate wasting my “good” fabric for it, but I don’t have all that much ugly fabric any more either) so I made up that quilt block and turned it into a quilted cushion. Which is the one on the right, here:

WIP and a finish

Once I get it washed up, I’ll write a proper post about it with some decent pictures, but for now it’ll do. Part of the process with that one involved my (weak) attempts to FMQ smooth curves, and that got me watching another Craftsy class, that one Jacquie Gering’s class about quilting with a walking foot. (I’m feeling lazy: I’m not sure I spelled her name right and I can’t recall the exact name of the class, but it seems like too much work to look it up!) And so there’s a little bit of walking foot quilting in that finished pillow, and then a little more on the pillow-in-progress on the left. It’s so very sweet and pretty, isn’t it? That’s so not my usual wheelhouse and I’m not at all certain what I’ll wind up doing with it, but there it is.

I’ve been thinking for the last little while about what my “style” is as a quilter (or as an artist if you want to take it in that route – I’m talking less about the mechanics of it and more about the look of the finished things I make) and I don’t really think I’ve got one. My brain sort of flits around from this to that and I like to try a little of everything, but I don’t think anyone would ever, in a random line-up of stuff, be able to point to the thing I made and feel certain it was mine. I think that’s true of a lot of quilters I know, that we haven’t really found our niche in a way, but then some people you really do recognize straight away. I suppose it just takes time to find that place that belongs to you and the flitting around is just part of the process.

Linking up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social, The Needle and Thread Network, and finally Work in Progress Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

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And a belated Talk to Me Tuesday. The later half of this video is directed at the other video makers/posters at the Livejournal TTMT community who posted videos in September.


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Gypsy Wife: September Blocks

Well, I’m just barely squeaking these ones in for September, but I just finished up my last Square in Square blocks for the month… So so so many square in square blocks in this quilt!

Seven more for September:

Square in Square blocks

I keep thinking I should put all my blocks up on the wall and see how the colours are coming out because I haven’t been planning anything. But maybe they’ll turn out okay without planning. I keep hoping that’ll be the secret to a good scrappy look.

Also not planned?

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Chopping off Bicycle Girl’s head.

The other two blocks for September were two Puss in the Corner blocks.

Gypsy Wife blocks: Puss in the Corner

Like Hydee Ann at Splish Splash Stash – Hydee Ann is running the linky for this month and has some great tips for sewing up those million and one square in square blocks – I’ve got to wonder where the heck that block name came from. Maybe I should have found a cat fabric to put in the middle. (But then it would have had to be a tiny little cat because that centre square is only an inch, finished.)

Gypsy Wife September blocks

Anyway, that’s September in blocks… And only two more months worth of blocks left to go, then it’s time to start putting it all together.

As mentioned, this month’s linky is being held by Hydee Ann and the prize will be a gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop, so if you’re sewing along, don’t forget to stop by and link up! (I know it’s the end of September, but it looks like she just wrote her post today too, so hopefully that means the actual link-up will run this week!)

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Jelly Roll Jam II

So I started the draft post of this on Thursday… two Thursdays ago. Apparently I haven’t been very talky lately! Anyway, I hardly had anything written in that original draft (and it referenced Friday Finish, which I’ve now missed twice because I keep on not finishing this entry).

You might have already seen it because I put pictures on Instagram and in one of my Talk to Me Tuesday videos, but I finished a baby quilt using Fat Quarter Shop‘s Jelly Roll Jam II pattern:

Jelly Roll Jam II

This pattern requires just 20 strips of fabric from a jelly roll for the top. I used 15 strips from a Kona cotton design roll – I think it was either the Rainbow palette or the New Colours (but the old new colours, not the current new colours, I’ve had that design roll sitting around for a while) – and added 5 strips of assorted prints. Three of the prints are polka dots, I think from Riley Blake, one is a Denyse Schmidt plaid (the orange one), and the navy chain link one… I don’t really know who that is. But I liked it enough to use it for the binding! I don’t have too much of it left now and no selvedge, so I don’t guess I’m going to figure it out! I forgot to photograph the back, but it’s backed in a navy blue flannel with while polka dots. Just a bit of random fabric I had in my stash. Actually, everything in this quilt came out of the stash – I didn’t have to buy thread or batting or anything for it! Go me! (It’s rare I don’t take the excuse to buy new things…)

This was the first project I sewed – beginning to end (minus hand-sewing the binding) – on my new-to-me Juki TL98E when it came back to me from the repair shop.

Juki TL 98E

By and large it’s been really wonderful to sew on. It sews really smoothly and has really beautiful stitches and it goes SO FAST. I keep saying that switching to this from my old Kenmore machine is like going from a moped to a Ferrari and it really kind of is – just basically no comparison between the machines, except that they both eventually get you where you were going. I love the needle down function (so love it!) and it’s smoother sounding and it makes nicer stitches. (Though I did take my old machine in to get serviced too … first time ever and it’s ten years old! Maybe it’ll make nicer stitches again now too.)

But I ran into problems almost immediately with the 1/4″ foot, which actually makes a slightly larger than 1/4″ seam, leaving me with an entire quilt worth of too small units! The thing is, I actually measured that first seam to see if it was the right size and it really did seem to be, but I think they were all just one or two threads too big and with five seams across a block, it was enough to eat up some width.

Jelly Roll Jam II

Because of the way the quilt is constructed (the blocks are not squares but rectangles), it didn’t actually matter so I just made the quilt slightly smaller in the width than it was meant to be. I didn’t want to pick out all those seams and start over again! So those strips are all supposed to be 2″ finished width, but are slightly closer to 1.75″ when they’re placed vertically. The horizontal strips are actually 2″ because I hadn’t sewn them yet when I discovered the error and I was able to stitch them up properly.

I did a lot (a lot!) of practise stitching with some different ideas for quilting, but I wound up defaulting to a basic all-over stipple. This was the first time I ever did stippling on a non-practise piece. On the old machine I’d always wind up with super tight and tiny little stipples because there was no room for my hands – I had to hold the quilt underneath in the harp space because there wasn’t room for my hand to sit flat atop the quilt and on the left because otherwise it would hang off the edge of the machine – but this Juki has a table and a lot more harp space, so there’s room for two flat hands, which meant I was able to get nice big curves without much difficulty.

Yikes! (some other quilting issues)

Not that it was perfect. I’m having a lot of difficulty keeping a steady speed on this machine. It’s just go so much power and then I wind up going too fast, start to panic, pull my foot off the peddle and then drop down to no speed. Which means there’s a whole lot of variation in my stitch length. But even the largest stitches here are less than a quarter inch in length, so I didn’t pick out any of my stitching. I decided to just let it go because eventually I will sort out the speed issue and as long as my quilts are usable, there’s no point in wasting time and getting really frustrated picking out things that aren’t perfect, but also aren’t that bad.

Yikes! (more quilting issues)

My other issue was the occasional bit of jerking around and making corners where there should have been curves (or little jumped stitches, where I suddenly veered an eighth of an inch to the left or right before continuing the original line – I do have photos of that, but I’m NOT going to fill this entire post with pictures of my little mistakes…). I did the quilt in kind of two passes – half of it on a Thursday and half of it on a Friday – and in the middle of that, I fell down a (short) flight of stairs and strained my back pretty badly in a couple places. Which I tell you because my second half of quilting was a fair bit worse than the first! I was so stiff that I would try to make a motion for a curve, twinge something in my back and wind up jerking around in pain and leaving evidence of it on the quilt top. So there are quite a few of those, and that’s maybe even what happened here. Sometimes, though, it was because I’d forget to stop before moving my hands or I’d try to keep quilting even though I was running out of hand space at all.

In any case, I really enjoyed working on this. I’ve always defaulted to straight line quilting in the past because I’ve been so intimidated by free motion quilting (I did do rows of loopy lines on one previous quilt), but getting this one thing under my belt makes the rest of it seem a little more possible. I just need to keep practising (and get that whole speed control issue figured out).

So this was my A Lovely Year of Finishes goal for the month (I was #93 in the linky!), and I’m so happy to check it off the list! I chose a pretty simple goal, but sometimes it helps to have the extra motivation anyway. And next month I think I’m going to aim just a little bigger… Maybe I should try to get it basted in September so that there’ll be one less thing to deal with…

My Button


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Talk to Me… Thursday?

A belated Talk to Me Tuesday video. There are a few Gypsy Wife blocks on display, a bit of talk about my Citrus Swap package (which I posted about here), and then a whole lot of chit chat about my most recent attempts at Free Motion Quilting. There is, per usual, some pretty shoddy edits – the program I use doesn’t have an “Undo” button, so if you mess something up, you can either live with it or you can close the program without saving – thus losing all the “good” edits – and start over again. So, you know… I live with the bad cuts.

The Craftsy class I mentioned was Start Free Motion Quilting with Elizabeth Dackson (not an affiliate link). It’s an interesting class and taught in a rather different style than a lot of classes I’ve seen. She sort of jumps right into quilting and then stops periodically to offer information about various different things. For instance, you don’t find out about her basting method until the fourth lesson. It bothered me a little to begin with because I felt like I’d have to watch the entire class to get some of the tips and hints I might have needed nearer the beginning of the class, but in the end I appreciated it because it broke up what could otherwise have been a couple lessons of Too Much Information At Once and then a long line of “Here’s how to stitch this design, now watch me stitch it for 20 minutes.” I think she’s a very good teacher, she speaks a bit too quickly (particularly in the intro where I felt like she was reading a pre-written blurb, but was speeding through it), but she’s very calm and precise. I appreciated that she gave information about the other ways that different quilters do things, for instance, spray basting vs pin basting or hands on top the quilt quilting vs clenching the quilt in your fists quilting. The one thing that did bother me about the class is that she only ever showed us her quilting methods on practise sandwiches – there are three provided projects, but other than showing us where the different quilting designs appear on the projects, you don’t actually see the projects being quilted. There’s often a world of difference between quilting a practise sandwich and quilting a finished quilt top, so I would have appreciated seeing her stitching, say, the tiny stippling in the pillow rather than just the larger stippling on the practise sandwich.


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Citrus Swap

So I was waiting until I heard back from my prize winners before announcing them here, but I haven’t heard back yet from the winner of my first prize, the $50 gift certificate which was provided by Pam at Mad About Patchwork. Hopefully she’ll get back to me soon – I want to be sure I had the right email address before sending her information along to Pam – no sense in emailing a gift certificate to a dead email address, right? (So Anne Simonot, if you’re seeing this, check your email!)

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In any case, the winner of the second prize, the collection of Fat Eighths in greens, was Sabrina of Sabie Sews:

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Belated birthday wishes to Sabrina too!

In other news, I recently finished up another Open Wide Zippered Pouch from the Noodlehead tutorial, this one with a citrus theme for an Instagram swap I participated in. I only just got it sent out yesterday (a day late, oops!), so it hasn’t arrived with its recipient just yet, but here’s what I made and sent:

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The one thing I knew I wanted to do was to stitch the little Lime Slice Girl, who I’ve been calling Lulu Lemon-Lime (she started out as Liesl Lime Slice in my head, which I think is a better name, but I couldn’t remember how to spell Liesl – I had to look it up, but at the time I was posting on Instagram and didn’t want to leave the app to look up the spelling). This pattern by Cate Anevski was a free stitch-along pattern from August 2012 at Feeling Stitchy. I’ve had it saved for the last two years, just waiting for a reason to stitch it, and finally this swap came up with the perfect opportunity. The pattern leaves you with a lot of room for stitching interpretation and if you check out the August Stitch-along tag on Flickr, you’ll see some really cool variations, including a passionfruit version, from which I took inspiration for the laid stitches in the skirt.

I wish I’d taken more close-up photos of the stitching, but it was starting to rain when I was photographing this zipper pouch and I didn’t want to hold up my sending it off any longer than I had to.

Lulu Lemon-Lime

As always, I’m obsessed by doing the split stitch (my back stitch just never looks as nice!), so there’s a lot of that in there. I filled in the dark green layers of the skirt with three or four tightly packed rows of chain stitch, and then I loosened it up quite a bit and did the same thing to fill in the white pith on the skirt. Her mouth and nose is done with back stitch (and it doesn’t look very good) and then the eyes… well, I’m not sure what I’d call that stitch. It’s basically just three straight stitches worked in (almost) the same hole, with another straight stitch in yellow to represent the eyelashes. I was having issues doing proper eyelashes, so this was my solution because I was afraid of damaging the Essex fabric by stitching and picking out and stitching and picking out the eyelashes over and over again. The laid stitches in the skirt are pretty crappy looking – I kept changing my mind about how I wanted it to look, so I’d done it in all green to begin with, but then I added (and removed and added and removed) yellow in various different configurations. Eventually I picked out all the yellow I’d added and then just put an extra layer on top of the existing green laid stitches. If I’d planned it out a little better, I’d have stitched them both at the same time, with a strand or two of each colour in the same needle, so that the yellow wouldn’t float on top of the green quite so much. On the other hand, I really like my winging it version of a stitched braid in the hair. I did the yellow first, just taking criss-crossing stitches in varying lengths trying to create the shape of the braid. I stitched right on top of it with the orange, filling in the shape wherever it looked a bit empty; I think it turned out pretty well.

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I didn’t want the whole front of the pouch just to be that oatmeal coloured Essex linen blend, so I added the grey on either side (it was an accidental find – I was going to just patchwork some lemon-lime panels with squares of various fabrics, but then I stumbled over the grey, which I thought would be great for the lining, until I realized it was too small a piece of fabric. It turned out great for either side of the stitched panel (except it made me wish I’d stitched on grey linen rather than oatmeal!) and then I added the green Anna Maria Horner print for something like grass under Lulu’s feet, with the ric-rack just for extra interest. The lining was the perfect print to go with the colour scheme.

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I only have this one bad photo of the back (rain!), which is pretty plain. The stitching was just me trying to use up some of the leftover bits of cut thread from the stitching on the front (hence the different colours in the top and bottom rows). It’s very… rustic. The background fabric is more of the same Essex linen. I just machine stitched the hexies onto the linen (and did a slightly appalling job of it – I’m still getting used to the new Juki machine and don’t have great control over where things are lining up with the needle). I made the bag an inch taller than recommended because the stitch was a little tall and I wanted to be sure there’d be some visible “grass” under her feet, but you really notice in this photo how off the proportions are – I really should have widened it out by an inch to compensate.

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We always fill up the pouches a bit with various different things. I was hoping to get something else made, but my plans fell apart, so instead I loaded it up with a little extra candy (originally I was only going to include the orange marzipan bar and some grapefruit TicTacs, which nobody in my house will admit to opening, but nevertheless were partially eaten… perhaps by the world’s most clever, invisible mouse?): some orange gummy candies, lemonade gummies, the aforementioned orange marzipan, and (because I’m ever so clever) Moda Candy.

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Lemon, lime, orange…

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And then the rest of the crafty goodies. Some fabric – I’ll post another photo of all the scraps in the bundle on the left – including a bunch of citrus-coloured dot and gingham charm squares, three rolls of citrus-coloured washi tape (the orange one is a different brand from the other two, hence the size difference), a roll of grapefruit coloured baker’s twine, and to appease my sister who is annoyed with me for buying more floss instead of just finding a way to use what we’ve got… I included all the remnants of the floss I used on the Lulu Lemon-Lime stitch.

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This is the bundle of fabric scraps. Some of them are just off-cuts from the fabrics I used in the construction of the pouch. The others are all just scraps straight from my scrap bin that I thought were in appropriate colours. They’re not terribly visible, but Mari-Ann/RockIslander who hosted this swap sent me the little chicken fabric just so that I could turn around and send it to my swap partner. Sweetest person ever :D And finally, the yellow on top of the centre column of fabric is a print from Leah Duncan’s Maya line, which my partner once upon a time was looking for. That was a long time ago, so she’s probably found all she needs by now, but I included it specifically because I knew she liked it. My partner seemed to be pretty quiet in the various places I knew to find her online, so I’m really hoping that what I made for her will appeal.

In any case, in spite of my ability to find flaws in pretty much everything I do, I really do love how his pouch turned out.


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Gypsy Wife Quiltalong – August!

So I’m still ticking along with the Gypsy Wife Quiltalong. Sort of… I’m still months behind on my low volume version, but I am all caught up with the brights version. First up, a block I forgot to photograph last month. Not the most exciting block in the world, which could be why I forgot it…

Gyspy Wife

And then all my August blocks. Which are more of the not-very exciting same.

Gypsy Wife QAL August Blocks

Yawn. Eight square in square blocks, and then the central block is made up for four incomplete square in square blocks. Not so very exciting. But there’s a lot of square in square blocks to go into this quilt, so I guess it’s a good thing any time we get to knock a pile of them off the list. Maybe next month will be more interesting?

I’d really like to get back into things with the low volume version, but I think it might be left on the back burner a while. I’ve got a lot of other things I want to keep working on. Quilts to quilts, swap projects to swap, etc.

If you’re sewing along with us, come link up with Rachel at Farm Gal Designs. The prize this month is a Fat Eighth bundle of Netorious from Cotton + Steel basics and a hexagons pack of Figures from Zen Chic.

In other news, I’m out of town for the weekend, but when I’m back, I hope to get more comments answered from my birthday giveaway post. I forgot my cell phone at home, so I’ve only got internet access while I’m at the hotel (and we’re not here for too much longer). Yesterday the Tyrrell Museum and the HooDoos and Horseshoe Canyon, today… I don’t know. Atlas Coal Mine, anyway, but we’ll probably head back to Calgary before it gets too late. (I’ve been reminded this trip that my dad is getting old – we hiked down to the bottom of Horseshoe Canyon and back up and for the first time in my life, he needed more breaks than me.)

Horseshoe Canyon, Alberta
Horseshoe Canyon

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ClumsyKristel

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ClumsyPapa


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Work-not-in-Progress Wednesday (plus Birthday! plus Giveaway!)

Work NOT in progress? Yeah. Well. You may have forgotten, but back in March I got my hands on a Juki straight stitch sewing machine. Which wouldn’t work for me. It took me half an age, but I finally took it in to a sewing machine repair shop in mid-July to have it looked at. I’m not honestly sure what they did with it – the feed dog lowering mechanism was broken so they repaired that and they got it stitching again, but it didn’t seem as if they needed any parts to get it working again. They did charge me for (and sent me home with) a packet of specialty needles, which I’d read in the manual that it needed, but which I didn’t know if I was using (because I just used a needle from one of the packets that the former machine owner had stashed in the ziploc baggy full of spare machine parts). So maybe it was as simple as swapping the needle!

In any case, I brought the machine home and I sewed an entire quilt top on it and it was great and running smoothly and happily and I was impressed and pleased and all things wonderful and good. Until I switched to a new project, which was going to be a quilt from John Q Adams/Quilt Dad‘s Beyond Neutral quilt book (not an affiliate link). It’s using all that green fabric I showed off on Sunday and 5 yards of a blue I’d bought for something, which it turned out not to work with, and I was really excited to get working on it. Until something weird started happening:

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I started getting runs in my fabric. It’s just like when you catch a toenail on a pair of stockings and suddenly there’s a run up the side of your leg, except it’s my fabric that’s being ruined! My exciting new project!

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Looking at it from the reverse, it looks like the needle is catching a single strand of thread on the fabric, pulling it through to the back (the biggest loop here is the pale blue you’re seeing the wrong side of in the top photo), thus pulling a run into the fabric. In fact, all those little loops of whitish looking thread are blue from the front. It’s not just ruining one of the fabrics, though, it’s ruining both layers — all the fuzzy looking blue blobs are bits from the bottom layer of fabric (bottom when it’s run through the machine, top when you’re looking at it above), which are pulling runs into the bottom as well.

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I think this is the worst one I had — it pulled the thread through so far that it pleated/puckered the fabric!

My only real thought as to the cause is that there must be some kind of flaw in the needle, maybe some kind of rough spot that is catching the fabric on the way by and causing the runs in the fabrics. It’s the same needle I used to sew the aforementioned quilt top (which you can see in my Instagram stream or can wait to see when I finally get it quilted) and it didn’t cause any problems then, but it seems (to me) the most likely cause. Feel free to prove me wrong, though! I tried to do a google search on the subject, but I didn’t really find any suggestions or answers!

In any case, since I have no work in progress to show you, I might just as well jump on to the next part of today’s post: it’s my birthday!

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And birthday’s mean giveaways around here! Last Sunday I talked about buying a nice big stack of (kinda sorta) peridot coloured fabrics from Mad About Patchwork and some of that bounty of greens could be yours… or possibly better yet (I dunno… maybe you hate green?), you could pick out your own fabrics to celebrate my birthday!

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(The very lovely) Pam at Mad About Patchwork is sharing a $50 gift certificate with one of you to help me celebrate! Just think what you could do with $50 at a fabric shop….

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You could pick up a kit for Lorna McMahon‘s adorable Fox & Friends quilt pattern.

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Or you could pick up a Chasing Fireflies curated bundle of Fat Quarters.

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Or you could curate your own bundle, as I did with my collection of greens (though, admittedly, I did also pick up a green stash bundle to round out my choices.

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Or you could save it for a little while (yeah, right!) and pick up something from the coming soon section, like this Kate Spain Horizon jelly roll. In any case… I don’t think anyone would have too many problems finding a way to drop $50 at a shop like this one!

Greens

I haven’t been flashing this green around for nothing, though, because if you don’t happen to win the gift certificate, you might just win a Fat Eighth bundle of all 18 fabrics that I picked up from my last virtual shopping trip at Mad About Patchwork. (They’re all approximate cuts, by the by. I took the super scientific approach of not pressing the fabric and then just cutting them up the fold line in the middle, so they’re… approximate.) I don’t know what you’ll do with them, but my brain flashed through a dozen options before settling down on the pattern I mentioned above. Green is awesome – you can do something fresh and spring-like with leaves or trees or you could add reds and go holiday or add a bunch of blues for a more soothing watery palette or add purple for something floral and vibrant…

So if you want to enter: please leave a comment below. Maybe tell me about your birthstone and if you like it (or don’t) or (if you read my Sunday Stash post) about your favourite gemstone for jewellery or about your favourite famous piece of jewellery. (Yeah, okay. So I’m not a very girly-girl, but among my favourite blogs are From Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault and The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, which I mostly only like when they’re talking about jewels. I’m not a jewellery person, but I do like to look at all the amazing sparklies locked up in the royal jewel vaults of various European houses.) Or maybe you could tell me about the kind of day you’re having – I’m writing this post a day ahead, but I can almost certainly guarantee I’m at work and grumpy about it while most of you are reading this. I was supposed to be on vacation this week, but my back-up broke her foot and is off work, so I had to cancel and… well, I’m a little bitter about it! Maybe you could tell me about your up-coming weekend. I think I’m going to go check out the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaentology, which I haven’t been to in years (and years and years…). In any case, the point of all this: leave a comment. I WILL NOT count your comment if you only say “thanks for the chance” or anything along those lines – I’d like to hear something a bit more interesting than that! You don’t have to wow me with your witty repartee, I’d just like something more interesting to read!

I will draw the winners on Tuesday, September 2, so enter sometime before then! (Or anyway, sometime before I come home from work that day. I usually get home around 3:30 pm MST.) The first name drawn will win the gift certificate (unless you’d prefer to win the fabric bundle, in which case: say so in your comment!) and the second name will win the fabric.

A very, very special thank you to Pam for providing the gift certificate (and for always providing me with the sweet, sweet hits of fabric that I sometimes need to get me through a crappy week like this one, when I’m meant to be on holiday but am not).

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And finally, finally… linking up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social, The Needle and Thread Network, and finally Work in Progress Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

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