Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug


(Artwork by Liese Chavez.)

I’ve talked about this one a few times and shown a few pictures, but here are my final pictures of this finish before it gets sent away.

This mug rug was made for my partner at the Flickr swap group Modern Scrappy Bits. This is the fourth round and the fourth time I’ve participated. (There’s some discussion going on already about the fifth round, so if you’re interested in joining a swap where you make something small – from a list of 2 or 3 types of projects – for someone to send away with about a fat quarter’s worth of scraps of modern fabric, go join the group and keep an eye on the discussions! It’ll likely be a couple months before the next round starts, usually there are 2 or 3 between.)

My partner and I have some fairly dissimilar tastes in fabric, which left me a little undecided about what to make – I didn’t have the right types of prints, so instead I decided to use mostly solids in her favourite colours (with a few colour additions of my own just to round it out and some bits of prints for some interest) and I used the triangles because it’s something she had a few photos of in her Flickr favourites. She’s left some nice comments on the previous photos at the Flickr group, so I really do hope the blending of her tastes and mine will work out for her. (It works out for me! I’d love to make a bigger quilt using these same colours – teal, sky blue, lime, and a very minimal scattering of pale pink, yellow, and grey. Much larger triangles… could be fun!)

This wasn’t my first time working with triangles – that was Deanna‘s triangle block! (See here for the one I made and here for the finished, amazing, top) – which is probably a good thing since that previous experience helped me work out what to do with the seams on the back so I didn’t end up with a ginormous wad of fabric at any of the join points. I also kind of took from that experience the attempt to keep from making patterns with my colours – I struggled to keep from making a star on the inside or having hexagons that stand out too much

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

The fabrics are a real mish-mash of different things – the green is a Kona cotton, but the rest of the solids are some combination of Moda Bella, Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture, and Art Gallery’s Pure Elements solids. (I’m pretty sure the purple is Art Gallery, but it might be Cotton Couture – they have a similar feel. The others I’m pretty sure are Moda Bella, but I could be wrong.) Of the prints, the pink triangle is a Lizzy House Pearl Bracelet and the two roundish lime bits in an otherwise blue triangle are from an Amy Butler print. I think the blue dots are a Kei honeycomb print. The two teal blue prints are maybe from Art Gallery (certainly the one beside the yellow triangle is – it’s from the Nature Elements collection). I don’t know what either of the text prints are – someone told me a little while ago what the yellow one is, but I’ve gone and forgotten. The grey one looks a bit like some Benartex ones that I’ve got in different colours. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. It’s scrap happy.

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

The back is a little different. I used some of the spare triangles I’d cut to make a strip and then used some scraps of a print from the Cloud 9 line Across the Pond to fill in the rest of the back. The little (ugly) bits of ribbon you see there are for hanging, if the new owner would like to hang this rather than leave it flat. I think the back would be prettier without it, but I couldn’t find anything in a more appropriate colour (and really didn’t want to make little hanging tabs of my own). They’d be pretty easy to cut out, anyway, if she wants to get rid of them.

The quilting was done by hand (obviously) using 3 strands of DMC Satin floss. (I don’t know the colour number – I lost the sleeve for it. It’s a whitish-silver, anyway.) When you look at the quilting on the back, you can see that I lined up the strip of triangles on the back with one of the strips on the front. I don’t know why that felt important to do, but it did and so there it is!

So yeah, that’s that. It’s about 8.5 inches across from point to point (or about 7.5 across from side to side). Just big enough for a mug and a snack (which, why? does anyone actually use mug rugs for that?).

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

(That cupcake? Delicious. Lemon sugar on top of lemon icing on top of lemon cake stuffed with lemon filling. Yum.) (That mug? Empty. I don’t really like hot drinks.)

Weekend Works

I meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot, and then suddenly it’s past my bedtime and now’s my last chance to get this up before tomorrow’s big Whovian post. Anyway… I haven’t been talking about work, but my department head quit about a month ago and since there was no one else trained, I’ve been working 6 days a week (plus additional overtime) since whilst trying to train people who’ve never previously spent a day in my department. Which is not the easiest way to spend a month, certainly. (And I’m not even being paid for it yet! They still haven’t updated my pay scale! A month! They’ll have to back pay me, but still! We get paid weekly, which is why I find it shocking they haven’t updated it yet.) Anyway, I decided this week to chance leaving one of my new ladies alone for a day, and that day was Sunday this week. My first proper day off in a month!

I had goals for my first proper day off in a month. And those goals didn’t involve deep cleaning my house or shopping or lazing around in the sun or… whatever. They involved crafting.

1. Get at least the coloured part of my next Doctor Who stitch finished
2. Cut, package, and prepare to mail away fabric for my month in the Simply Solids flickr bee
3. Sew up another Churn Dash block to be certain I was sending the right amount of fabric to my bee-mates
4. Finish my Mug Rug for my Modern Scrappy Bits Swap

I hate sports metaphors, but I hit it out of the park!

Stitchy stitch?

1.

I didn’t just get the coloured part done, I got about 90% of the blue part done as well. Sweet! And I had to start right from the beginning – the fabric wasn’t even cut out! So there was pressing, cutting, pattern printing, pattern transferring, and then stitching after all of that. I watched old episodes of Happy Endings and Party Down for about the third time (each!) while doing it and I know the rhythm of those shows so well now, I really just had to listen to them while I stitched. It worked out great!

2. No photo, but done! They’re in the mail as of yesterday, and I managed to package all but three of them into envelopes small enough it didn’t cost me eleventy billion dollars to send. (I ran out of small envelopes though, so a couple people will get 4 strips of fabric that weigh under 100 grams in biggish kraft envelopes made of and padded with old newspapers. Kind of ridiculous, but I didn’t want to go buy more small envelopes just to finish up. And it was only about 80 cents more expensive to mail.)

Churn Dashes

3.

I finished the Churn Dash and did cut the right amounts to send away! The new one that I made is the blue and pale green one top right. I made the two grey/green ones several months ago (and I’m sure I talked about them, though I don’t really remember). The others are all blocks I’ve received from the swap group at the Livejournal Birthday Blocks community. The two blocks with orange came from Aalia, the yellow and purple block is from Suri, and the newest (just arrived this week!) is the yellow/blue one in the centre, which came from Kiss Mary. (She also sent me a fantastic tomato red fat quarter – in exchange for some fabric I sent her – and I think I’m going to make at least one more Churn Dash that’ll use that red because it’s fantastic!)

Mug Rug

4.

I’ll talk more about this later, and post more pictures, but this was for the Modern Scrappy Bits swap – I just had to finish the binding, which I managed! I used bias binding (which I thought might help with those weird angles, though in retrospect, I don’t think I needed to use bias binding) and it was a bit hit and miss as to how it worked, but generally speaking I’m pretty happy with it. I love the colours on this one and can only hope my partner will like it half as much as I do!

And now, I really should sleep. More training tomorrow, which is scary because I’m throwing my new gal off the deep end and I wouldn’t normally do that until I was absolutely certain she could swim. (One solo Sunday is not enough time to be sure about that!)

RIP My Favourite Needle

For the last year, every single embroidery project I’ve worked on has been stitched with the same needle, a Bohin No 5 Crewel needle.

Molly Mutante (close)
Scrappy Bits pouch #2 (mosaic)
Needle-book with Crewel Embroidery Flower
Daisychain ABC Sampler in progress

Molly Mutante, finished last year in July… The Running Stitch on a Pouch… My Crewel Embroidery Needlebook… My Unfinished ABC Sampler… Every one of my Doctor Who patterns…

Anything I’ve stitched on linen or linen-cotton blend fabric or even quilting cotton if I used interfacing to stiffen it, it’s been stitched with that same No. 5 needle. It turned me into a Bohin needle apologist. I’ve got packets and packets of them in all kinds of sizes, I gave one away to someone in a swap who was looking for a good needle, I don’t ever want to use another brand of needle again, but that particular No 5 was my favourite. It felt good in my fingers and was as sharp and perfect as the day I first pulled it out of its packet, so I just kept on using it, until yesterday when it died.

Bent Needle

So that one’s gone to the little needlebook in the sky, but hey! I’ve got a whole packet of them, so I guess it’s all right if that one is gone. I bent it doing some hand-quilting on a mug rug/mini-quilt wall-hanging for the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap:

Hand Quilting

I finished up all the stitching with that bent needle, but it was kind of difficult getting it through where I wanted it to be, considering the general kink in the straightness of the thing. I suppose I pushed it too hard – multiple layers of fabric (front and back, with a lot of wadded up bits where the triangles all meet – the front is all triangles), a layer of batting and a layer of medium weight interfacing (I wanted to keep it fairly stiff so that it can be hung without the sides drooping). That needle treated me well, anyway, and it’s a shame to see it go to the little metal tin of bent pins and needles, but it was its time to go I guess.

Anyway, in other fairly ridiculous news (as regards that particular mini), I managed to feature the word BUTT right on the front of it. Or BUTTO, if you want to get technical, but it’s the BUTT that stands out so much to me:

Butto

That’s what I get for not paying too much attention to fabric placement when I stitched all those bits together. Oh well, I think my swap partner will like it regardless of the BUTT in the middle of it.

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

So, you might remember from a couple years back the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge set by All People Quilt. I hadn’t heard anything about it in a while, but recently I saw someone somewhere mention that they’d reached 500,000 and were starting the push for the next half million. (Which, holy cannoli, half a million handmade pillowcases!) Back when that started, I set out to make as many pillowcases as I could using mostly unwanted fabric from my stash – I made 19, which I donated through a local quilt shop, My Sewing Room. At the bottom of this post, I’m going to drop in photos of those 19 pillowcases, because I think they’re mostly pretty awesome. While I was on that pillowcase kick, I also made 2 for my older sister and 1 for a pillowcase swap set up by the lovely Ofenjen of Sewhooked.

In that pillowcase swap, I sent away a pillowcase that I didn’t photograph for some reason, though I’m fairly certain it was using the same fabrics as in these two cases that I donated:

Million Pillowcase Challenge - #5, 6

And in return, I received this pillowcase from Jennifer herself:

Owly Pillowcase

I’ve used this pillowcase every day since I received it and this weekend when my parents and younger sister were here, my little sister (who I sometimes call Squirtus, even though she’s nearly 30, and even though her name isn’t Curtis, which is really the only name deserving of the nickname Squirtus) thought it was cute and wanted to know where I got it from. So blah blah blah I told her I’d make her her own pillowcase, so long as she picked out her own fabric. (And so long as I had enough of the necessary fabric, I didn’t want to go buy anything.)

Today was another in a line of stressful and crappy days in my house and so I did some sewing therapy and made Squirtus’s pillowcase, even though I have other things I should have been doing. These pillowcases, made (like all the others) using Ofenjen’s Hotdog Pillowcase Tutorial, are so easy to make that it’s just the kind of thing you can do without thinking too hard when your brain is focussed elsewhere on other things, and it’s just the kind of thing that if you get lucky, you’ll eventually start focussing on so that you can get your brain off those other things.

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

Woo! Action shot!

The two main fabrics are from the Cloud 9 Fabrics’ line Across the Pond, with the flange in a Joel Dewberry herringbone print (from Aviary 2?). It was dark and rainy out when I took the photograph in my bedroom, but I found a bit of natural light in my sewing room and this photo is a little less flash-happy than in the previous, if you’d like to see the fabric a little more like it’s supposed to be:

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

As I mentioned, I made all these pillowcases using the Hot Dog Tutorial from Sewhooked, and I’ve always made them using the proportions mentioned in the tutorial – 24-26″ for the body and 9-12″ for the cuff – but I’ve also found them just a little long for my pillows. Most of my pillows are from IKEA and I’m not sure if they’re a different size from whatever is standard in the US, but they usually wind up with several spare inches of room in the pillowcase. This time I made the pillowcase using 24″ of the body fabric and 10″ of the cuff fabric, making 34″ rather than the recommended 36-38″ fabric, and it worked PERFECTLY for the IKEA pillows. (Though now I wonder if it’ll go home to Squirtus and be too small for whatever pillow she uses!)

Anyway, here’s a parade of pillowcases I made back in 2010. The first two, with the creepy faces, were made for my older sister, but the rest were donated for the Million Pillowcase Challenge.

Factory Girl pillowcases
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #1-4
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #7
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #8, 9
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #13, 14, 15
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #12
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #10, 11
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #16 & 17
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #18 & 19

(Psst… if the numbers don’t add up, it’s because two are in the shot up top – I didn’t include them down here again – and there were actually three of the green ones in the third row. I had A LOT of that dark green solid. It’s the same fabric in the cases on the bottom row.)

[ETA: I can tell I’m stressy because after ages of not spending money on anything unnecessary and especially not on fabric for my stash… I spent like $150 on fabric/notions today without really noticing it. I hope I don’t have buyer’s remorse when it all shows up.]

Finish: Apple Potholders

A while ago I had my 111st post and I’d decided to do a secret giveaway, where anyone who commented would be entered into a draw and the winner was going to win something handmade by me, something probably kind of silly, but hopefully useful, I’d said. The winner was Carly at CitricSugar, and I figure it’s probably time I talk about what I sent her, because the package did arrive earlier this week.

Apple potholder/hot pads!

007

The pattern for these apples was adapted, kind of, from Ayumi Takahashi’s Patchwork, Please! book which came out earlier this year. I think a lot of you have probably read it – it’s been kind of big on the craft blog scene, which makes sense because it’s a cute book, with lots of fun little projects in it. It’s nice that everything in it is do DOABLE, but also so cute and useful while they’re at it. There are quite a few things in this book that I would like to make, which is more than I can saw for a lot of craft/quilting books. I’d decided a while ago to quit buying craft books and start borrowing them from the library first and this is the only book I’ve bought since then without reading it for free first. By and large I wasn’t disappointed by that choice, though I often find the pattern directions slightly mystifying – for instance, when you sew things right sides together, it usually if not always recommends sewing the entire way around, then unpicking part of the stitches to turn it right side out, which… why? – and I mentioned some time ago being frustrated by not being able to easily print the patterns (trying to get them onto a photocopier so that I could eventually blow up the pattern – by 143%, of all the ridiculous amounts) and how eventually I just ripped a page out of the book:

Pattern, Please?

The pattern I ripped out of the book was NOT the apple pattern, but a pattern for a hexagon potholder. Which I never did make. In the book, the apples are actually bibs, but as I have no use for apple bibs (and didn’t think Carly did either), but still wanted to make this ridiculously cute pattern, I converted them to potholders/hot pads.

009

I made the green hotpad first, and it’s truest to the book – it’s the same size as the bib, with the leaf made as suggested. You stitch together a front and back with right sides together, then flip it right-side out, and stitch it down. It was hard to do. I think I stitched around the outside of the leaf three times before I got it close enough to the edge to look good and not super jerky (because I was using a quarter inch foot and couldn’t really see where my stitches were going on that tiny space). So for the next two potholders, I decided to do a lazily embroidered leaf, rather than stitching one down:

Orange Apple Potholder

Not that those leaves are perfect either – I didn’t switch over to a darning foot/FMQ foot, so I had a really hard time making smooth curves with the machine. It was more successful than unsuccessful, but yeah. Not perfect.

For the second and third potholders, I upped the size a little. The green one is big enough to put a small pot on, or a coffee pot or something, but it is a little bit small for a hot pad, so I made the next two a little larger. They only ended up about 1/4-inch bigger all around, but they are a slightly nicer size for a pot holder.

Red Apple Potholder

By and large, I really enjoyed making these. I was glad to have an excuse to use some of that apple fabric (in all three shades I own!) and it can be really satisfying to make small things (quicker turn around, and I’m far more likely actually to finish them!) and I love giving things away and I got to practise a new technique.

Bound, Binding, Unbound

The new technique being bias binding. I’ve made projects before that should have used bias binding and I very stubbornly tried to do them with straight-grain binding (and naturally it looked like crap), but this time I decided to suck it up, princess and get on with it. It was really not so hard to work with, although I had varying levels of success with the dip in the top of the apple. It was great going around curves, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that dip look good. I think they all came out pretty well despite my lack of experience. I had to smush a lot of fabric up under the binding at that point, but it looks pretty smooth I think.

Apple Potholders

Inside of each potholder is a layer of Insulbrite and a layer of batting underneath that. They feel impossibly thin and I barely thought they’d actually function as potholders, but I put a hot casserole dish on one of them for a quite a while, and the counter top stayed cool, so it must have reflected the heat back up as it was suppose to.

Anyway, I think it’s as pretty fun thing to make, and a great way to mod the bib pattern, if you haven’t got little kids to put cute apple bibs on. (I do recommend making them larger than the bib size – add about half an inch all around and it should be big enough to use with most pots.)

Doctor Who Stitch-a-long

I’ve been mentioning working on something that I couldn’t talk about, and finally I can because it’s been properly announced!

DW-SAL-Badge

Fandom in Stitches, which is owned and operated by the very lovely Jennifer of Sewhooked, is running a Doctor Who Stitch-a-long beginning May 15 and running through July 31. Fandom in Stitches has primarily focussed on paper-piecing patterns, but this will be an all-embroidery stitch-a-long, which also offers instructions for turning the 12 stitched patterns into a quilt. You can read more about the stitch-a-long here on Fandom in Stitches, but in short, it will feature 12 Doctor Who patterns celebrating the 50th anniversary of the only doctor I’d like to visit, including two created by me! I don’t typically dip my toe too far into the pattern-creation waters, but it was a lot of fun to work on, and right now I’m hard at work stitching up my patterns to make sure everything is just the way I want it to be.

But since I can’t show those patterns to you just yet, how about I give you a little peek into the fangirl part of my life instead! I tend not to have a lot of fandom-related things in my house, but I do have a few and the vast majority of them show off my Whovian side. They’ve all been made for me by various people I know online, except for one that was made by my sister.

My Whovian Shrine

1. TARDIS basket

TARDIS basket

You’ve seen this here several times already, and it’s the thing I most recently received. I have so much love for this basket, made by Deanna of Little D and Me, but I might stop showing it every other post here… if I have to. I guess.

2. TARDIS painted card

In Flight/Crack in the Wall

This card was made for me by Aalia of Joy of Stitches. Aalia is also designing three patterns for the DWSAL. She’s a really fantastic designer, both of embroidery patterns and paper-pieced patterns. (She also made me this incredible hand-stitched bag, which is another fannish thing of mine, though you might not recognize the fandom in it! (The green plant with the red beads is a Mimbulus Mimbletonia from Harry Potter.))

3. Adipose Baby stuffy

Addy

This adipose baby, with the ever-so-clever name Addy, was made for me by Jordan/dozmuffinxc, who as far as I know doesn’t have a blog (other than her LJ). This is a little fat baby from an episode in.. the third season of the new Who. No wait, not the third season. It must have been the 4th season. Anyway, I think these little fat babies were the cutest “villians” they’ve had on Doctor Who. They might inadvertently kill you, but they’re just so adorable!

4. Dalek Propaganda Poster cross-stitch

To Victory! stitched Propaganda poster

My sister stitched this for me using a pattern created by Shaebay, based on the poster in… hmmm… one of the Eleventh Doctor episodes, from his first season. I tried stitching one of these, but cross-stitch makes my brain melt, so I gave up. (I still have it in a bag somewhere with the threads and pattern.)

So that’s a little look at my fannish crafts, so far. By summer, though, one more! And finally one made by me!

Finish: Hedgie Fabric Basket

Well, I talked last week about what I got in the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on Flickr, so I guess it’s time I talked about what I sent away. I didn’t take pictures of everything that went into the package, but honestly the thing I made was far and away more interesting than the rest of it. (Fabric scraps, some embroidery stuff, and some crocheted bits and bobs.)

Hedgie Fabric Basket

Is this not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? The hedgehog pattern was created by Sonja Callaghan, and can be found at her website Artisania. I’ve made this one before (as a postcard) and I just love it ridiculously.

My swap partner had a lot of things made using Sonja’s patterns favourited on her Flickr and also a lot of hedgehog things, but strangely none of Sonja’s hedgehogs, so I thought it would be a great direction to go in for her. (The package hasn’t arrived yet, but she did comment enthusiastically on the one picture I put up on Flickr, so I’m glad to know she likes it!) She had requested a fabric basket, so I made use of Ayumi’s fabric basket tutorial, though obviously I didn’t do it patchwork style and I used the larger sizes recommended at the bottom of the post.

Hedgie Fabric Basket

I somehow managed to take no really good pictures of the hedgehog, but here’s the best I’ve got. The fabrics for Hedgie are both from Art Gallery fabrics – such beautifully soft fabric to work with! I had loosely planned to make a sky blue background (using some Kaffe Fassett crossweave fabric that I’d ordered), but I wound up using some Essex Linen instead, which I really like the look and feel of, but which holds a wrinkle like nobody’s business. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but I wish I’d done more quilting on this part of the basket, since it would have given it a bit more body so that it’d stand up a little stiffer, and maybe it’d have disguised some of the wrinkled bits, at least a bit.

Hedgie Fabric Basket - embroidery

Hedgie wasn’t any too big, so I added some button flowers to fill in some space, but somehow left a big gaping blank area beside that – it started to bother me when I took my first round of pictures, and so I had to add – after it was completely constructed and lined – the other embroidery flowers to fill in some of that empty space. It’s all super simple, straight stitches and lazy daisy leaves and French knots in the centres of the flowers. (One of them, alas, is falling apart – it was HARD doing a French knot when I couldn’t stab all the way through the fabric. I don’t recommend it.) Anyway, not a half-bad way to fill in some space, although I’d have loved to have done something more complicated, rather than something so simple. I really need to learn to think things through before finishing them and then going back to fix them afterwards!

Hedgie Fabric Basket (back view)

The back of the basket is more simple and plain, just a bit of a forest scene. I freehand drew out the fabric tree and then paper-pieced it, and after that, just kind of winged it as far as the rest of the trees went. I had loose plans to add a bird to the tree on the right, but couldn’t seem to figure out the scale, so I scrapped that idea. It is pretty plain and feels like it could use some colour, but I still like this side anyway. It’s sort of quiet and restrained. It’s all back-stitching and lazy daises (for the leaves, again), though this side was done using crewel wool rather than embroidery floss (which is what I used for the flowers).

Hopefully it’ll arrive soon and hopefully my recipient will love it!

Although I’d used some scrap fabrics for the hedgie basket, I didn’t feel like I’d used enough, so I also made a second fabric basket (same tutorial, smaller size), but I didn’t wind up sending it. It would have fit in the envelope, but it would have almost doubled the mailing price (WTF Canada Post, WTF), and I couldn’t swing it right then. Sigh. Anyway, here is that second basket, which right now is home to the cutting utensils on my sewing desk. Someday I may mail it away to someone, but I couldn’t say who or when or if at all. Maybe I’ll just decide to keep it.

Mini Scrappy Fabric Basket (back)

This one is just a plain scrappy basket, using colours that approximately matched the fabric I used on the base of the basket.

Mini Scrappy Fabric Basket (front)

I did quite a lot of quilting on this basket, and it stands up much better than the larger one. It probably helps that it is so small though too.

Mini Scrappy Fabric Basket

Banner Mail Week

I had a kind of banner mail week last week, but I had a week where every thing seemed to take all the time ever and I didn’t manage to accomplish much of anything like, say, posting about my brilliant mail or taking photos. For instance, I recorded a video about it, but didn’t get any further than transferring the file to my computer. Hopefully I’ll get it edited in time for next Tuesday.

Anyway, a little while back I won a giveaway for pot-holders made by Michelle of Factotum of Arts. I got to choose between two different sets and I picked these fantastic green ones with a brilliant chicken print in the centre.

Chicken Pot Holders

LOVE! I haven’t used them, but I’d hate to get them dirty, so I don’t know if I ever will! I LOVE the chicken print on these, but also the linen (?) on the back and the dot print is pretty fantastic as well. Thanks so much, Michelle!

The other package I received was from my Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on flickr. I haven’t got pictures of all the fabric that Deanna of Little D and Me because I filtered it all into my scrap bins before thinking to take a picture, but to be honest I was so in love with the hand-made portion of the swap that I barely paid attention to the fabric scraps.

She made me a Doctor Who fabric basket.

Bigger on the Inside

How absolutely brilliant is that? When I saw this basket show up in the group flickr photostream, I’d really hoped it would be for me – I’d mentioned a love of DW – but I didn’t want to hope too much because I didn’t want the disappointment if it had turned out to be for someone else.

Untitled

I’m rather irritated to discover that I left the notecard in the other room because I’d love to tell you about Deanna’s reasons for choosing the fabrics inside the basket – I recall that the dots were because travelling through time and space would leave her seeing spots and I think the swirls were to represent the dizziness of doing so, and then the starry print near the bottom is to represent space itself. She also said that the text prints were gibberish, but that she translated them for me, to read Bigger on the Inside.

So awesome. I was so very pleased to get that in the mail, I can’t even begin to say 😀 Thank you, thank you Deanna!

Finish: Beauty is You wall-hanging (#1)

Last year for Christmas I gave my mom a quilt rack from Robinson’s Woodcrafts and a couple of mini-quilts to hang on it. The mini quilts were this Halloween(ish) themed quilt and (I never wrote a proper entry about it, having never gotten any decent photos) a Christmas wall-hanging, which my sister and I made together. The two options didn’t exactly cover a great deal of the year, so back at Christmas, I promised my Mom that I’d make her another quilt, a more generic one, so that she’d have something else to put on the rack the rest of the year. It was due to be done in time for my parents’ next visit out here, which finally rolled around this past weekend.

My Mom’s house is decorated in some slightly… difficult colours for matching things. In the upstairs/main floor, some of the walls are a sort of buttery off-white, but some are a kind of dark brick red, and some others are a mustardy yellow. In my experience, quilt fabrics do not come in the colours that my parents’ house comes in. I had pulled a few fabrics that I thought might match, so that I could get my Mom to pick some favourites for me to work on another mini quilt for her, but when we were up in my sewing room, looking through them, she found my collection (small though it is) of Cori Dantini fabrics and fell in love.

I can’t pretend to understand the whys and wherefores of fabric sales, but I’m always sort of shocked that Dantini’s line for Blend Fabrics, Beauty is You, wasn’t some massive runaway juggernaut of a line. It’s utterly gorgeous, but I’ve seen very few pieces made using the fabric. (You can still buy it from some Etsy sellers and in part at Lark Cottons. Hawthorne Threads will be selling Dantini’s next line, which drops in July.) I imagine there is a lot more of it out there in people’s stashes than I know about, but every time I see someone post a picture of it on Flickr, there is an inevitable Oh my God, what is that where did you get it how come I haven’t seen it before? response. Which actually was my exact reaction the first time I saw it.

As it turns out, Cori Dantini is an artist who has moved, in part, into fabric design. She also has an etsy shop, Corid, where you can buy prints of some of her artwork. Before I ever got any of her fabric, I bought a print of one of her pieces, which I think is called “From Here on out, It’s You and Me.” I had to do my photoshoot at midnight in my bedroom (my little sister was sleeping in my craft room), so I taped the wall-hanging up beside that picture. As you’ll see, Dantini has a very distinctive style…

Cori Dantini x 2

My photos were all a bit dreadful, I’m afraid. As I said, I photographed this around midnight, just after I finished stitching up the last of the binding. I knew my parents were coming up this weekend, but I’d been putting off making the wall-hanging because I was afraid I’d ruin the fabric and I only actually started it Tuesday last week. I was stitching on the binding when my parents and sister arrived on Friday, and then didn’t finish working on it until the night before they left. (Look for a video post tomorrow or Wednesday in which I’ll talk a bit about the wall-hanging.)

The panel that I used for the main part of the mini is the centre panel of three large pictures. My mom’s favourites were the two on either end, but I wanted to quilt them by stitching around the pictures and I was terrified of ruining the two favourite pictures, so I started with the one my mom was least interested by. If it didn’t turn out well, then at least the others would have still been waiting!

Beauty is You wall-hanging

I do think it turned out pretty well though. The quilting doesn’t show up in any of my photos, but I stitched around the outlines of most of the elements in the picture. It wasn’t perfect – some of the tighter curves came out a little bit more… angular than I’d have liked, but it went pretty well. I didn’t use a free motion foot or anything for quilting, just used a regular foot with the feed dogs up, which makes for slightly more difficult movement, but more even stitching than I’m capable of with free motion just yet. On the pieced border, I just quilted in the ditch through the triangles, travelling from top to bottom.

Beauty is You wall-hanging

The seed fabric in the pieced border (and making up most of the binding) is from the same line as the printed panel, but the script print is Michael Miller’s Old Script. And that bit of red in the binding is something random from my scrap bins.

Every time I look at this, I just think the artwork is so exquisite. I’m really pleased with how it all came together and my mom seemed pretty happy too. Eventually I’d like to turn the other two panels into wall-hangings as well, so that I can give my mom the one she REALLY wanted, but for the time being, I think this one works perfectly. And the colour will probably suit her house a little better anyway!

This project is 16″ wide, but I’m not sure how long, perhaps 22″? It was finished on March 2, 2013, late enough in the day that it was almost March 3. I think this is my third finish for the year, which feels kind of good considering how slowly I usually finish anything.

Work in Progress: February Report

I’m participating in a charm swap on flickr called the Text Me a Charm Swap, wherein 28 Canadians will be swapping 5″ charm squares from various different text print fabrics. (And I don’t have any of the ones people have posted, so far!) I have a smallish stash of text prints, mostly script prints (so pretty!) and a few others, and I cherish them like they were my own children, instead of bits of fabric that sit on a shelf in the closet of my second bedroom.

Texty

Sometimes I feel a little ridiculous about the way I treat fabric. I mean, a lot of us do it, I think. Have special favourites that we want so badly because they’re so beautiful or interesting or whatever, but then don’t ever use them because the right project never seems to come up. Because nothing’s ever good enough, or whatever. What if we ruin it and then we can’t get it any more? I’m like that with my Mendocino fabric, though I finally did cut into it enough to get started on two different projects with it. (Neither of them finished.) One is on my design wall, and can be seen in my blog header. The other is this purple quilt that I’m not working on but should be.

Mendocino Posh Tot quilt top

I think that project will get bumped to March. I still need to press everything. (Well, I pressed the little bit of octopus print that will go on the back. Does that count for much?) And then baste, quilt, and bind. I’m still toying with ideas for quilting – I like the thought of something seaweed like coming up from the bottom, but also the thought of something like moving water. (I’d say waves, but I don’t mean the kind of waves I’d have drawn in a picture as a child, more something that looks like flowing water from above, I guess? I don’t know.) I guess we’ll see.

Anyway, the text fabric. There was, previously, an entire yard of the grey Old Script print (top left of the text picture), but I cut it up into charms for the swap.

Michael Miller's Old Script

It was kind of hard to do – I’ve loved that fabric too much to use it for ages. But it’s ridiculous to have all the fabric I have and not to use it, so I put on my big girl panties, put a new blade on my rotary cutter and got to work. And now it’s en route to the swap mama in BC. I think all that cutting action let loose some of my tension about using those precious fabrics, because I went and pulled out the brown print of the same fabric (Old Script from Michael Miller), and cut off a strip of it.

You see, I suddenly realized yesterday that my parents are coming to visit this coming weekend, and I’d promised my mom back in December that I’d make her a wall-hanging for her birthday (which was in the beginning of February) so that she’d have something to hang on the quilt rack I gave her (along with two holiday themed miniquilts to hang on it) when it wasn’t Christmas or Halloween season. Oops! Where did the time go?

Well, I had my mom up in my craft room (the aforementioned second bedroom, I like to think of it as Dudley’s Second Bedroom, because it’s kind of the room where I store a lot of my crap, but instead of broken toys and electronics and unwanted books, it’s all my crafting supplies) to look through my fabrics to see what she thought would match her house for a more generic wall-hanging, and I was pulling fabrics off the shelf, but then she saw a certain stash of fabrics that I hadn’t really considered, and she fell in love with one of the panel prints. I don’t often buy panels, but the one in question (which I’m not going to show, because I want to finish the project first!) was so beautiful that I couldn’t help buying it. Like the text prints, it was so pretty that I was really afraid to ruin it, and I kept putting off making anything with it.

No more time to put it off, though, so finally I decided that I’d make the middle panel, the only one she wasn’t overly interested by, so that if I did ruin it, then it would ruin the one she liked the least (and if it turned out well, she’d probably forget that it wasn’t her favourite anyway). The panel was a little too narrow for the quilt-rack, so that strip of brown text fabric went straight into use:

Border

I got probably 90% of the project finished yesterday – it’s just putting on the hanging tabs and the binding that’s left, and then I want to add some embroidery, but I’m leaving that till last so that if I don’t have time to finish everything, at least it’ll be the non-essential part that is unfinished, rather than having to tell my mom that her birthday quilt doesn’t have a binding yet.

A thing I'm working on

A little teaser shot. Fingers crossed I’ll get this finished tomorrow, so that it’ll be ready to go home with my mom, come the weekend. Wish me luck! (And hopefully I’ll manage to take a decent photo. I’m having issues with that, lately. Always too much light or not enough.)

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WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced