Work-in-Progress Girl


2 Comments

Pushme Pullme Florence Baby Quilt

This newest finish is not one I’d really had on my horizon to get finished, but rather out of nowhere I got a bug up my ass about finishing it, and so I did.

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt

The last time I wrote about this quilt was in January of 2013. (Yikes! I need to finish more and start less if little, easy to finish quilts like this are sitting around for nearly 3 years!) You should go check out that post – in it I talk a lot more about the pattern, which is the Pushme Pullme block, designed by Michelle Wilkie of Factotum of Arts. I was one of Michelle’s pattern testers for this block and I think the only one who didn’t actually finish what I’d created with it. I’m really glad to have it done now, though – it’s one more thing off my list and better: it’s going to be donated to a Linus blanket charity and is a part of the 100 Quilts for Kids campaign.

100 Quilts for Kids

I really don’t know why I took so long to finish this – with a very simple pattern (a loopy meander), it took just a couple hours to get the quilting completely finished. I think I spent more time trying to decide what binding to use than it took just to get it all finished. I was helped out by it being a fairly small quilt: just a teeny-tin itty-bitty 30.5 inches square.

Both the best and worst places to see the quilting on this is on those dark blue bits of fabric. I will quilt with white thread over pretty much anything and it pretty much always sinks into the background even when you use it on colour, but it sure does look awful on that deep blue! From a distance you could almost imagine that’s a print on the fabric, rather than free motion quilting!

I spent a lot of time contemplating a more complex straight-line quilting pattern that would emphasize the arrows in the blocks, but decided that after 3 years of inaction, I needed to do the fast thing instead of the intricate thing.

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt

Every print in this quilt is a Denyse Schmidt print, front, back, and binding. All of the prints (except the two binding prints) come from Schmidt’s Florence line – I’d bought a 12 print bundle of blues and greens, and all 12 prints made their way into this quilt. The solid fabrics are all Kona cottons and I pulled most of them out of a jelly roll, so I’m not actually sure what colours they are! The dark blue is Nightfall, which is a really beautiful deep colour (and I wish I had yards and yards of it instead of scraps after having used it in a couple quilts). Its hard to tell in most photos, but there are two different light blues and two different greens – since I only had jelly roll strips, I think there wasn’t enough to stretch out each colour over two blocks.

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt

The binding fabrics come from Chicopee and (I think) Shelburne Falls. Schmidt creates magnificent plaids (and I’m sort of having a plaid moment right now!) so there are four different plaids in just this one quilt. Too much?

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt
Obligatory windblown shot!

Anyway, I suppose that’s all there is to say about this little quilt! I really like it and am really pleased to see it finished and ready to find a home with a child in need.

Some quilt stats
Name: PushMe PullMe Florence Quilt
Pattern: Pushme Pulle by Michelle Wilkie
Size: 30.5″ x 30.5″
Fabric: 12 FQs from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence line, plus assorted Kona cottons (featuring Nightfall on the back and in the corners of the front)
Batting: Some weird all cotton no name from Michaels
Thread: White Guttermann (piecing), White Aurifil (quilting)
Backing: Assorted Florence prints, plus Kona Nightfall
Binding: Plaids from Denyse Schmidt’s lines Chicopee and Shelburne Falls.


5 Comments

Finish Along Quarter 1 – Just wishin’ and hopin’…

Okay, so I guess it’s time I finally buckle down and make a list for the Finish Along hosted for 2015 by Adrianne at On the Windy Side. A lot of people whose blogs I follow have done the Finish Along in the past, but I’ve never participated before. I’m not really great at setting or keeping goals, I’m a slow sewist, and I don’t like feeling guilty when I don’t succeed (and I’m good at feeling guilty), but I decided to go for it this year. I also decided to just go ahead and make some (for me) wild goals because if they’re wild, then maybe I won’t be so bothered about it if I don’t succeed.

Finish Along Quarter 1 Dreams

So to that end, I’m posting 7 projects for my 1st quarter finish-along goals!

1. Brown and Green Hashtag Quilt. A sweet baby girl (just born!) will be receiving this quilt. It still needs to be basted, quilted, and bound. But I have plans for that and they should be achievable soon. (I’m not working this weekend, I already know how I’m going to quilt it, and the only decision left to make is what to bind it with.)

2. Confetti Go Lucky Quilt. This quilt will be for my mom. It’s partially quilted, but I gave up working on it sometime before Christmas when my Juki machine started squeaking like mad. (I took the machine into the shop and they ran it for 20 minutes with no squeaks. What the actual fuck? Anyway, I’m hoping to pick it back up again this weekend. If it squeaks, I will cry. And then record it so that I have evidence!) Anyway, I need to finish quilting, then I need to bind it. There’s more than half to go. I’d like to get it finished early in February.

3. Easter Cross-Stitch. This was meant to be a Christmas gift for my Mom, but I didn’t figure out how to convert the cross-stitched panel (stitched by my sister) into the wall-hanging I wanted it to be. Once I sort out how I want to get it done, it should be an easy finish, but I’m so very, very good at putting things off.

4. Economy Block Minis. I have a series of three or four minis that revolve around that economy/square in square block. I’ve been “working on” that project since… round about March last year. I’d like to have it done by the end of January. There is still more sewing, then basting, quilting, binding to be done.

5. Botanics Patchwork. This super simple quilt will be for me. I’m torn between doing a kind of orange peel quilting and using this quilt to practise a million and one FMQ patterns. Probably I’ll go with the orange peel plan, though. Needs to be basted, quilted, and bound.

6. January Blogger Bundle Subscription Quilt. I’ve got fabric and a pattern and plans to turn that interesting little bundle of fabric into a quilt top. I don’t have plans for that quilt (ie. no plans for a recipient), but I still want to try it out.

7. A Field Guide Baby Quilt. This will likely be a charity quilt – I originally bought the fabric with that in mind, so it seems like a great way to go! I’m not sure the fabric and that pattern are really meant to go together – there’s not a lot of contrast in the fabrics and the pattern relies on a certain amount of contrast to create the pattern… but I want to give it a shot anyway. Maybe. I think we’ll see when I finally pull the jelly roll apart and start trying to make blocks with it.

8/9. Okay, this isn’t pictured, but if I’m going with a go-big-or-go-home goal list, All Solids Jelly Roll Race. No photo because the fabric is en route. This is all down to Michèle-Renée (or should I say M-R? I’m one of those people who doesn’t really use nicknames, if I meet you as a “William” I will call you that till the end of time, even if everyone else in the world calls you Bill… so once I know a “real” name, the nicknames tend to fall by the wayside in my head) who recently posted this all-solids jelly roll race quilt on her blog, Quilt Matters. I’d never liked a jelly roll race quilt until I saw that one, and then Pam at Mad About Patchwork put her Kona Sunrise and Sunset roll-ups on sale for January, so you know… I bought one of each, because CLEARLY I need a matched set of sunrise and sunset jelly roll quilts. So…. yeah, there’s two more extras.

So, nine goals. Truly I’ll be happy if I get the first four items finished, but anything else would be amazing too, so here’s to goal-making!

And now… I should really go sew.


10 Comments

Sew My Stash 2015 (and add to it a little…)

So if you’re on Instagram you’ve probably seen a dozen or more reposted SewMyStash2015 pics in the last couple weeks – down on the right somewhere is the image I’m talking about. It’s an idea started up by Leasa of Project: Leasa. Every year there is some variation on the theme – last year was the (failed, in my case) six month fabric fast. The idea, always, being to use more and buy less. Last year I discovered that I really don’t react well to being told No, because as soon as I said No to myself, I just started buying wildly every time I turned around. What I like about Sew My Stash is that it’s focused more on doing rather than on not doing, if that makes sense. It doesn’t say Just Say No to new fabric, it says Try to Use What You’ve Got. I probably appreciate the distinction a little more because it means I can still buy 2.5 metres of Denyse Schmidt’s Simple Plaid from Chicopee if I want to…

009

Granted, I might not have bought it if I’d realized it was going to come in five pieces. I bought this from a new-to-me Canadian shop called Flare Fabrics. When I was piecing together my hashtag quilt top, I had this moment of fear that there was going to be Too Much Brown and so I started thinking about fabrics I thought would make good borders. I settled on that plaid from Chicopee and went looking online for someone in Canada who was selling it. Google lead me to Flare Fabrics, which is a shop that focuses on batiks, but had a small selection of Denyse Schmidt prints and 2.5 metres of that very plaid in stock. When I was looking around their site, I did notice a few different fabrics that specified that the last x-number metres were pre-cut into 1/2 metres, but if it was mentioned with this particular fabric, I sure didn’t notice it. Thank goodness I didn’t buy it hoping for a backing fabric – can you imagine trying to piece 5 cuts of the same fabric into one sheet of not-too-terribly mismatched plaid?

Anyway, I also picked up an embroidery kit, which I didn’t photograph, and this quilt pattern, which is a chevron pattern I can get behind.

010

I don’t ever foresee myself making a chevron quilt out of half square triangles. It’s not that they don’t look nice, but I suppose I’ve just seen a few too many. I thought this one was an interesting take on the chevron idea, though I’m not sure how keen I am on working with 60 degree half-rectangles.

Anyway, Sew My Stash has also not stopped me from joining up with Fabric Spark‘s Blogger Bundle subscription for the year. I dithered about joining it for a little while because I’d been signed up for Blogger Bundles from Fat Quarter Shop ages ago and quit when I had to request that I not be sent a couple bundles in a row – someone had put together a bundle that was 90% one line, plus the few solids (I forget how those bundles worked exactly, 12 prints and 3 solids? 9 prints and 3 solids?) and if I’d wanted 9 prints from that line, I’d have just bought the whole line, you know? – and when I hit the third “give it a miss” month, I decided I should just give the whole thing a miss and stop hoping it’d be something good.

But I did sign up for Fabric Sparks and this is the first month’s bundle, curated by Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches:

007

I find it both mystifying and intriguing. I’m not remotely sure if I like it, but I am curious to see if I can put those 12 fabrics together and come up with something I like.

005

It’s obvious what the through-line is with these – the colours in all the prints can be found in that one floral in the centre. But that chartreuse green sure does get over-powering in this grouping. I keep reminding myself that once it’s all cut up and sewed back together, those bright splashes of green will pull the eye around in a good way, but laid out like this I can’t help but wish I’d put it underneath something so that so much of it couldn’t jump out and over-power these peachy pink tones.

Where it gets weird, but also intriguing for me, is the addition of the blacks.

003

I don’t, by and large, have an issue with putting black in with florals. I think a little bit of black gives a good contrast in a quilt and it can help ground things and blah blah blah. It maybe feels like a lot of black, instead of just a little bit? Maybe too much. I don’t know. What I do know is that in the spirit of Sew My Stash, I’ve already got an idea for sewing this brand new part of my stash. A magazine I recently bought has a pattern that I think could work well and would maybe make the most of that too bright green and maybe once I see it all paired together, I’ll even like all that black and white in the mix. So I guess I should get to working on that… or maybe to finishing something else, so that I can justify starting something new!

I haven’t decided if I’m going to track my fabric purchases vs use for real… but if I manage to make a quilt top with that bundle of fabrics before the year is out, I’m counting it as a neutral in the great fight to use more and buy less. I could add three yards and take three right back out of the tally for the year. It’d practically be like I hadn’t bought it at all.

Linking up to Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles.


25 Comments

Sunday Stash: Heather Bailey and Hawthorne Hues Edition

So I was not a winner this past Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew or not a winner of stuff, anyway. Per usual, I found a bunch of new blogs to add to the rotation, even though some weeks I don’t have enough time to read all the blogs I already follow. (Fair question: how much more sewing would I get done if I spent less time reading about sewing?) Point being, that’s winning of a different kind, right? I like finding new blogs and new Canadian blogs (or just new to me ones). And also, I kind of won by finding this gorgeous pattern for the Infatuation quilt, which I bought right away (forget waiting to see if I’d win it or not… let’s face it, with 500+ entrants, I probably wasn’t going to!). I thought it would be perfect for using this bundle of Heather Bailey’s True Colors line that had stumbled into a Mad About Patchwork order some time ago.

008

The bundle wasn’t quite big enough for the size quilt I want to make, so I started picking up some bits and pieces of Lottie Da, another line by Bailey, to add in with it. Here are a million and one (3) photos of the original line, plus the assorted Lottie Da prints I picked up:

010
012
013

I didn’t plan it out very well because I got enough prints, but I didn’t get enough of the right sort of prints – I’ve got a spare one that doesn’t fit in, plus I need one busier print to go along with two of the blender prints. Each set of nine fabrics will make up three blocks – except the particularly leafy green one (in the bottom photo) won’t be in the quilt and… something else will be. It’ll probably be another butterfly print from Lottie Da, but I’ve ordered two choices so we’ll see what happens.

I was really undecided about what sort of background to use – I don’t want to pull in pure white (since the fabrics have an off-white background) and so I’d checked Hawthorne Threads to see what solids they recommended and they’d suggested a Michael Miller Cotton Couture grey as well as a few of their own Hawthorne Hues fabrics. I happen to know someone with a nice big stack of Hawthorne Hues in her possession – Michelle at Factotum of Arts – so I fired off an email to see what she thought of the fabric itself. You never quite know with solids – Cotton Couture and the Art Gallery Solids are probably the best feeling solids out there, Kona Cotton is nice to work with but less luxurious to touch, Moda Bella and I have had some tiffs in the past (omg the ripples in the fabric, even when I’ve neither pressed nor ironed), I’ve used solids from a local fabric chain store that was much thicker than quilt shop quality solids, but much more shred-happy… anyway, the point being, without actually seeing and touching the Hawthorne Hues, I was a bit nervous to buy 6 yards for a quilt backing.

Michelle was absolutely magnificent and didn’t just tell me what the fabric was like – somewhere between a Kona and a Cotton Couture in terms of feel – but also got out her own bundle of Heather Bailey’s True Colors line and photographed it up against a dozen or so different colours from the HH line and posted it for me on Instagram! She’s the awesomest! I can’t access IG right now (the last couple updates have made it so the app doesn’t function on my phone any longer), so I can’t show you all the photos she took for me, but from her selections I picked out three different Hawthorne Hues fabrics, plus a light grey Cotton Couture to audition for background fabrics.

016

This orange solid from Hawthorne Hues, Pumpkin, was my total wild-card pick. I think it’s interesting and it lifts up everything and makes it all seem even brighter and happier than it already is… but oh my god does it scare me to think of 5 yards of quilt background done up in pumpkin orange. I don’t actually think I can do it!

018

Jade, another Hawthorne Hues fabric, is probably my favourite choice. It’s lovely and not so overwhelming as I think orange would be… but I’ve got a finished quilt top that is almost this exact same colour (it’s done in cross-weaves, but it’s a very similar jade). It feels like I should do something different, just because I’ve done that colour before. (I should really get that quilt top basted and start quilting it…)

022

Plum Azalea (I think? I’m questioning everything right now!) from Hawthorne Hues is my other favourite. It’s very, very similar to one of the colours from the True Colors line, which is a little scary, because I’d hate to piece it and have those purpley-pink prints kind of disappear against it, but look how the oranges and greens pop up off of it? Lovely.

021

I keep calling this grey, but Michael Miller calls it Khaki. I picked this one up because I thought I’d be too scared by the bold colours and need something lighter to fall back on for the background… but it’s awfully dreary, isn’t it? Or maybe I should say that the only reason it doesn’t wind up dreary is that I cropped enough of the grey background out that you get drawn into the bright Lottie Da and True Color prints and sort of forget that background behind it.

But here’s the real issue with this colour:

025

What’s that? You can’t tell what you’re looking at because it’s just a big sea of grey? Yeah. Kinda samey, isn’t it? Super duper samey.

I had bought these four colours so that I could do test blocks and see which I preferred, but then I got thinking about it and realized that if I do four test blocks, I’ll have sewn up a throw-sized test quilt! The blocks are 30″, it’ll be a 60″x60″ test! That’s an enormous test! (And yes, okay, I could do a maquette, quilt-style. But I’m not sure I could scale down the curved piece for a maquette.) So yeah, I haven’t quite decided what to do as far as that goes. I’ve got enough of the print and solid fabric to actually make 4 test blocks, so I technically speaking COULD do it… but if I put in that much effort just on the test, am I actually going to want to sew the quilt?

I do need to do at least one proper test block because there is curved piecing and that’s something I’ve never actually done before. Well, I say that. I’ve done it once before. I had gotten some swap blocks long, long ago and one of them was all curved piecing, but kind of badly done, so I pulled the block apart and sewed it together again, to fix the curves. But that was probably eight years ago and I was just fixing a block that had previously been sewn, it’s not like I was starting with crisp new fabric. And I think I did it by hand, which must also make a difference. Anyway, I do need to do at least one test, just to get a bit of curved piecing under my belt, maybe I’ll stop being so scared of it. But I’m not sure I want to do four test blocks. I dunno, I dunno.

Anyway, linking up with the always fabulous Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:

Molli Sparkles


657 Comments

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day/Sunday Sunrise (de)Stash

The Sew Mama Sew Giveaway is now closed – the winner will be notified today and the winner will be revealed Sunday, May 18.

If you’re here for the SMS Giveaway Day, just scroll down a bit till you see the SMS logo – there’s a bit of bloggy housekeeping up top here! Feel free to stick around though or just to come back when the craziness of Giveaway Day is over – I’d love to have you back!

So last week I did a bit of a giveaway with my Sunday Stash and in the end I wound up with three winners — I had chosen two people who both wanted Strawberry zip-up pouches and then I thought and thought and thought and decided that I’ve got more than enough fabric to make pouches for both of them, so I decided to do that, and then found a third winner for the gift card. So my winners are Jo at Riddle and Whimsy, Mara at Secretly Stitching, and Katy at Lethargic Lass. So congrats to all three of you!

Just for a change, I haven’t got any new fabri…. okay, I lied! I just remembered that I went to my local fabric shop for some sewing machine oil and came home with these beauties I’d shared on Instagram:

Fabric fast schmabric fast...

I didn’t, incidentally, come home with sewing machine oil because I got so distracted by the mirror ball fabric and Lizzy House’s jewels prints that I completely forgot the oil. When I did go back the next day, I did walk out with oil and without fabric! Success! (Of sorts. The oil was my last attempt at getting that Juki sewing machine working. It didn’t help, so I think it just needs to be serviced to see if there’s something wrong with the machine or with the way I’m trying to use it.)

Anyway, in light of the fact that I thought I had nothing to share, I decided to do a Just One Day Early post of my Sew Mama Sew giveaway prize, which is a little bit of a destash, since the two fat quarters are fabrics I’ve had in my stash of “uglies” for a while and since the charm pack was something I’d bought with the intention of eventually using it in a giveaway. (I’ve had it for some months, these are neither of them recent purchases.)

Sew Mama Sew giveaway day prize

The two fat quarters are both from a Dear Stella line, which I think was called Mimosa, which I haven’t been able to confirm. (Dear Stella doesn’t list the line on their site any longer, but Google suggests I might be right.)

008

The charm pack is the very lovely Sunrise collection from Kona. I just love that photo of it – makes me want to buy a bit of all the colours and just stack it up somewhere to ooh and ahh over. Lovely!

So my giveaway is open internationally and will be awarded to someone who leaves a comment… oh, I don’t know… telling a story about a favourite sunrise you once saw or maybe a link to a photo you took of a beautiful sunrise. Or maybe you can tell me what you like to do with charm packs or with layer cakes (since I’m working on a Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong, I’ve got layer cakes on the mind… I’ve got at least three or four more stashed away in the closet!). Or tell me about your fabric stash: do you have an uglies pile for things that come into your possession that you don’t like (or things you’ve changed your mind about and then wonder what the heck you were thinking when you bought them)? What do you do with those fabrics? (I’ve heard and even believe that adage that if you still don’t like it, you haven’t cut it small enough. It’s true, you can do a lot of good with a lot of ugly when it comes to fabric, if you figure out the right thing to do with it, but sometimes I just don’t have the patience.) In any case, leave a comment! And leave a comment that’s more than just “thanks for the chance” because if that’s all you say, then you’ll be disqualified immediately. Also, please don’t leave your email address in the body of your comment – WordPress gives me (but NOT my readers) access to your email address so as long as you type it correctly, I’ll be able to contact you.

Best of luck and remember to hit up Sew Mama Sew from Monday through Friday this week (May 12-16) to enter as many giveaways as your little heart desires.

ETA: I always do my best to respond to all the comments people leave on my blog – and will even be doing so this week! – but I WON’T be forwarding them to your email like I usually do. If you’re interested to see my response, feel free to pop back in another time, but I’m not expecting it, so no worries! (Mostly I’m just using my comments to number label all the entrants so that Random.org can do an easier job of drawing a winner.)

Also, linking up to Molli Sparkle‘s Sunday Stash, hosted this week by Emily at Sewing by Moonlight.


13 Comments

ALYOF: I got sunshine…

So back at the beginning of the month, I set a few goals for myself:

1. Two bee blocks
2. Sunshine Pillow
3. Cat Faces
4. Confetti Go Lucky quilt

The one that I cared about the most, that I set as my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes was the Sunshine pillow. And it got done slightly last minute, but done it is!

Sunshine cushion

This cushion cover was based on Katherine from Sew Me Something Good‘s Joy cushion that she created for Blogathon Canada last November. I don’t generally decorate with holiday things, but I really liked the idea of the pattern, so I kind of thought about it and sat on it and downloaded the pattern from Craftsy anyway (I think this will take you where you can get it…) and then I’d ordered some fabric from a shop that was giving away mini charm packs with purchases over x-amount of dollars, and I’d told the shop owner to surprise me. She sent me Kate Spain’s Sunnyside and I thought… sunshine? Yeah, I can do something with that.

As a bit of an aside, I was hugely amused by how few “sunny” prints are actually in the Sunnyside line: there are eleven or twelve that you could call orange or yellow, and then 28ish that are green, blue, or grey. Anyway, I arranged them from orange through yellow then green and teal to indigo from the left and light blue to grey to indigo from the right so that it would be like the sunshine was pushing in on a cloudy day, pushing away the clouds and wind and rain. The gold is just a Kona cotton that I had enough of and which worked the best of all the yellows I have. It was dark enough to provide some contrast with the lighter yellows in the line and didn’t seem to actively clash with any of the other colours (though that teal in the raindrop print is a near thing… it’s a bit of a strange colour choice in the line).

If you go check out Katherine’s Joy pillow, you’ll notice that I got lazy pretty quickly. I couldn’t settle on two different fabrics for the words, so that I could have the shadowed/layered effect used in the pattern, so I decided just to use one and then have a contrasting stitch instead. But then all I had was a copper coloured thread (I don’t have a lot of coloured threads) and it didn’t really contrast as much as I’d hoped.

I got...

Anyway, forget that, who cares?! It gets the job done and it doesn’t look bad. Let’s talk about embroidery instead – I loved the font I picked for the embroidery. I forget what it’s called, but I need to find it again because I’m totally using it for my next embroidery pattern (which will be part of the As You Wish quilt and stitch-along at Fandom in Stitches… and let me further interrupt myself to say how AMAZING the patterns are for this project… I’m not working on it right now because All The Projects Ever, but I’m totally keeping this one as a future thought because LOVE, and if you’re a fan of The Princess Bride – and how could you not be? Westley! Inigo Montoya! As You Wish! Giants! Adventure! True Love! (is this a kissing book?) – then you’ll love it all too). Anyway. Font. I love the shape of the letters, the curves and it stitched up beautifully with my favourite stitch, the split stitch (it kind of got mashed down when I pressed it the last time — forgot to put a towel under it!), and I think it’d work well with a stem stitch too (though maybe not with a back stitch, which a lot of people love, but the curves might be too tight for that). In another bout of laziness, I didn’t want to go buy thread that would work for the pillow, so I just used something I had – “Bell Pull” from Sublime Stitching’s Parlour colour palette – which is too near a match to the background fabric. But the stitching came out nicely and it’s readable if you’re not half-way across the room, so forget that, who cares?! It gets the job done and it doesn’t look bad.

You know what else gets the job done and doesn’t look (too) bad?

003

Grey zipper! If you were around on WIP Wednesday, then you know why I used a grey zipper. But just in case you haven’t seen it, here’s the original gold one:

Sigh.

This is why we shouldn’t sew when we’re tired. I didn’t want to go back to the store to buy another 22″ gold zipper (it’s an 18-in pillow, but that’s the size I had to buy to get a gold one that wasn’t ludicrously small for the size of the pillow), so I went with grey. I really should have made a flap to hide the zipper, but after sewing my zipper closed and then cutting off the business end of the zip, I thought I’d better stay away from anything more complicated than just stitching fabric onto the zipper and then top stitching it to make it look nice. The grey line isn’t horrible, but it sure does stand out, doesn’t it? Anyway, the fabric is Hive in Maize from Joel Dewberry’s Bungalow line. I love this print and am slightly appalled that I wasted so much of it on the back of a cushion (why didn’t I just use a solid gold? It’s not like I didn’t have more of the gold from the front of the cushion!) and I want to buy more! more! more! But I am supposed to be fabric fasting (and I totally crashed and burned today, but that’s a story for another day), so I’d better hold off and hope it’s still available in 5 months.

Anyway, back to my generalized laziness with this project. I really wanted to try out Katherine’s binding method for the edge of the cushion, but lazy. So very lazy. I even had a pretty orange fabric picked out that would have helped tie in the orange from the words, but nope. Lazy.

005

The quilting is kind of lazy too – a lot of organic lines, where organic means “can’t be arsed to make it straight, so I’m going to make it curve and call it intentional”. It’s a look I like though, so that helps! I had very little copper thread left, so I used up the spool and then used a basic off-white for the rest of the quilting. I also did a very, very quick and dirty stitch in the ditch around the four-patches, which I’ve very helpfully shown off in this picture where I just didn’t, couldn’t, you’re not gonna make me! stay inside the lines.

But you know what, for all my picking apart of the bits and pieces I don’t think are as awesome as they could be, I really love how this cushion came out. It makes me smile and it’s warmer and brighter than this miserable snowy winter we’re trudging our way through. This part of the winter (late January/February) is always sort of the worst for me.. it’s the bit when it feels the most never-ending, like we’re going to have snow for the rest of eternity because Winter isn’t just Coming, it’s already here and it’s got no plans of letting go. So a happy bit of sunshine is just the thing.

Linking up with TGIFF, hosted this week by the lovely Jo at Riddle & Whimsy and A Lovely Year of Finishes with Melissa at Sew Bittersweet Designs and Shanna at Fiber of All Sorts:

A Lovely Year of Finishes


34 Comments

Last December Stash

Okay, so… usually Sunday Stash posts are fun ones to write – who doesn’t love showing off brilliant new fabric?

Here’s some brilliant new fabric:

Joel Dewberry Bungalow

It’s a gorgeous bit of Bungalow by Joel Dewberry. (Did you see what I did there, letting part of the selvage show with just that bit of info? Inspired, says I.) This, as with everything I’m going to show you today, came from Craftsy. It was the fabric selection for the December Stitch-along workshop. I don’t know if I’ll use this for the intended projects, but if I were still buying fabric, I’d be buying a whole lot more of this. Love it. The fabrics, from the left, are Swallow Study in Teal, Doily in Grassland, Zigtone in Grassland, Dainty Daises in Lavender, and Empress in Grassland. The daisy print isn’t my favourite, but I love the colours so much (and how it fits in with the rest of the prints) that I really don’t care that I don’t like the actual floral print. It just works together.

New rotary cutter...

I also picked up this rotary cutter. I’ve been a Fiskars user my entire quilting life and I love my Fiskars cutter, but a lot of people really seem to love the Olfa products so I decided to try one out. I’d tried Olfa years (and years!) ago and hadn’t liked the way the handle felt in my hand, and I think I still prefer the shape of my Fiskars cutter, but this one isn’t so bad really. My biggest issue with it is that I find the locking mechanism kind of… counter-intuitive, maybe. Whatever it is, I never remember to close it after using it. And I dropped an open rotary cutter on my foot once, so I’m usually extremely careful with closing the blades. Maybe it’s because the button on my Fiskars cutter is right by my thumb, so it’s just instinct at this point to shut it, but this one I have to kind of go out of my way to close and it just doesn’t happen a little too often.

Anyway, you may have had the impression from my opening line that this wasn’t going to be a good happy fun post full of good happy fun fabric. And your impression would be right. Because at the same time I bought the gorgeous Bungalow fabric and that nice cutter, I also bought a 50 fat quarter Mystery Box.

Worst ever fabric purchase?

I don’t, as a general rule, buy things that I can’t see first. If I don’t know what I’m getting, generally I’m not going to bother. Too much risk, and I’m not much of a risk taker. But Craftsy had them on for a good price and I thought… well, I like most of what Craftsy sells, fabric-wise; not all of it, certainly, but more than enough. It didn’t seem like such a bad risk, because even though I assumed they’d be selling 50 FQ they hadn’t otherwise been able to sell, surely it’d be part crap, but also part good.

It wasn’t.

What I didn’t know, and what most people probably don’t know, is that Craftsy doesn’t compile their Mystery Boxes themselves. They come to them from their manufacturers, with a set value. This box contains X-amount of fabric/products, but no guarantee as to what those products actually are. So even though I think I probably like, say, 80% of the fabric Craftsy is selling, the Mystery Box might not actually contain anything Craftsy sells at all. It comes from the same manufacturers as their existing products, but that doesn’t mean there is ANY overlap at all. This is what I got:

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Now, the particularly detail oriented among us might be thinking, But wait, didn’t you say it was a 50 FQ box? There weren’t 50 FQs there! And you’d be right, not only did I get fabric so ugly not even a (grand)mother could love it, they also sent me 6 fewer ugly FQs than I was supposed to get.

(Okay. My grandma would probably love some of this.)(I don’t despise all of it. Most of it, but not all of it. The aqua with white circles from Laura Gunn is okay and the elephants are cute enough. Some of the more blendable fabrics will be usable chopped up and mixed into other things.)

You might be wondering what became of this. Did I contact Craftsy to complain, how did they react, etc. I did contact them and let them know how disappointing it was to not only get a box full of fabric I didn’t like, but that there was less of it than there was supposed to be. It took a day or two, but they did get back to me and had this to say:

Thanks for taking the time to reach out to Craftsy, I hope your having a wonderful day! I would love to answer any questions your having regarding your recent purchase of the Craftsy Mystery Box.

When customers buy our Mystery Boxes we can’t guarantee that every customer will be 100% satisfied with the colors and patterns of the fabric. We can guarantee that the fabric will be of the highest quality from our manufacturer. Our manufacturer puts these Mystery Boxes together so even we don’t know what colors and patterns they contain. They do try to add colors and patterns that they feel people will enjoy and use.

That particular Mystery Box did come with 50 Fat Quarters for you to use for any of your future projects. I have mentioned your feedback to our ecommerce team who will follow up with our vendor to ensure this situation doesn’t happen again. We do want to make sure that our members are getting exactly what they paid for. If you’d like I’d be happy to send you 6 more fat quarters to complete your order.

Typically, we do not accept any returns on Mystery Boxes. But if you are totally unsatisfied with the fabric in general I will make a one time exception and accept a return for you.

[…]

In the meantime and as a token of my appreciation I would like to offer you a free class. If you could please let me know if there is a course you are interested in I would love to enroll you in it for free. Please let me know and if you have any other questions, I am always happy to help.

I found myself in a bit of bind after that because one of the things my parents were very big on was Personal Responsibility and in this case, I paid a lower price based on the higher risk of not getting any choice on the contents of my Mystery Box. Personal responsibility says that I need to accept the consequences of my actions, so long as I get what I actually paid for, and they did offer to send out an additional 6 FQs to complete the order. Which is why, as tempting as it seems to return the box full of ugly, I didn’t. I requested they send out the fabric (if it’s en route or not, I don’t know – the specific person I was corresponding with has said that he will “do [his] best to pick out something more to [my] liking that way it’s something [I’ll] want to use” but didn’t mention a timeline) and accepted a free class. (Which might be the easiest offer they’ve got, when a customer is unhappy. I picked the most expensive class on my wishlist. Because I might believe in taking responsibility for my actions, but at least I’m going to get something hopefully good out of the deal!) Another part of the reason for keeping the box was just the shipping costs – it was $15 to have it sent to me and it would have been about $20 to send it back. If I had taken the return option, not only would I have felt guilty for not accepting the consequences of my decision to buy, but I ALSO would have spent $35 for guilt plus nothing concrete. That’s a lot of money to spend on negative feelings – I can generate that kind of stuff for free!

So that was my exciting Craftsy purchase that I was so anxiously awaiting all those weeks after Christmas. Sigh.

But hey! Come back next week to see what the Gods of Gift Certificates and Quilt Backs brought for me. Because that, at least, was a fun purchase, and I love every bit of it.

Which is a good segue into the How Am I Doing on My Fabric Fast portion of this entry. Answer? Not bad. I did make one really big purchase in January — come back next week to see it! — BUT I didn’t break any of my rules to do it. I had a gift certificate from Christmas to spend, so I did that, and I bought the backing for a quilt I haven’t shown here. It’s a completed top, and my rules allowed for purchasing border and backing. No border necessary, but I did need something for the back and now I’ve got it. I think my February goal will be finishing up that quilt. (I might tie it. Probably.)

Linking up with the Fabriholics Anonymous January Check-in at Making Rebecca Lynne and Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles Sarah Quilts:

FabAnon Molli Sparkles


9 Comments

WIP Wednesday: Little Things

Naturally because I have a bit of a goal list for the month, I’ve so far only worked on completely different things. Two of them totally new!

The simplest thing on my ginormous To-Do list was to add borders to two finished baby sized tops and send them away for a Linus group to quilt and gift to a child in need. I even had the borders cut.

008

Sure, the lighting is horrible. But so are the borders! I don’t hate all borders on sight (like some capital-m Modern Quilters seem to), but there’s a time and a place for all things, and these two quilts were not the place for borders, apparently.

001

Thing was, they weren’t very square and if you have a not-very-square quilt, adding properly sized borders can really help fix a multitude of sins. But they’re just so awful looking! I couldn’t decide if I should take them off or leave them on, and I left them in the end. I figure if the Linus group that gets them really hates them as much as me, they can trim off 2.25″ width to use as binding fabric (and be left with a skinnier border, that maybe wouldn’t look so bad?) or they can rip them off entirely or they can leave them on because maybe some kid somewhere will appreciate it anyway.

Anyway, after I got that done, I went digging through my drawers looking for a needle. I can’t remember what got me looking for one – I don’t think I had anything that needed hand-sewing – but I did and then I found a little embroidery project that I bought a while ago and never got around to making:

Mr Monkey Man

An embroidered monkey stuffie from Kiriki Press. They sell a sweet little collection of embroidered stuffie kits. This is one of the simplest ones – you only need to know chain stitch and running or back stitch to do the embroidery. I picked it up because I thought it was cute and because Kiriki is an independant Canadian company (and I want to support Canadian talent) and did I mention it’s cute? I’ve only been working on it a little here and there while watching tv, but then I haven’t watched anything in a few days now, so I’ve set him aside again. I’m determined to finish him this month, though, so to that end, I’m going to link up to &Stitches January finish-along. I have lots of other embroidery projects I could try to finish instead, but I’m feeling this one instead.

Potholders in Progress

I’m also working on some pot-holders out of that Christmas fabric I mentioned a couple days ago. I started out following a pot holder/hot pad tutorial, but I got distracted somewhere along the line and sort of did my own thing and then I thought how very boring it was (just this floral fabric on the front/heat reflective side, all that brown background fabric on the back side) so my brain went back to that original tutorial and thought I’d better add some kind of embellishment to break up the front a little.

So today I headed over to Fabricland and picked up a half metre each of those two crochet lace edgings – grand total of $1.13 – to test against the fabric. Neither matches quite exactly – in brighter lighting, the white is a much purer white than the fabric, which is a creamy yellow-based white and the beige is much too dark. (The beige does match the twill tape loops quite well.) But I have enough to do four hot pads, so I think I might just do two with the white and two with the beige and be done with it whether they match precisely or not.

So that’s what I’m working on! And then I need to get working on my bee blocks and some cat-faces…

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


10 Comments

A Lovely Year of Finishes: January Goal

If you saw my post the other day about why I’m Fabric Fasting, then you may have also seen those ginormous lists of WIPs and wish-they-were-in-progress projects. I don’t have any delusions about finishing all of those before the end of 2014, but I’d really, really like it if I could knock at least a few off the list. And, ahem, maybe start fewer new projects for once. I don’t want to start with all the easy ones (ie. all the small projects :D), but I also want to be realistic about what I can finish in any given amount of time. So I think I’m going to try to set a few monthly goals, something realistic given the time I tend to devote to sewing and something a little bigger and a bit more pie in the sky. My Lovely Year of Finishes goals will always be the realistic ones, because they seem pretty focussed on the idea of having manageable goals, and I can get behind that!

January goals

So January. For January, my ALYoF goal is the starred one – to finish my Sunshine cushion cover.

Sunshine pillow

It’s further along than this picture implies, but I’m still back-and-forthing on whether or not to pick out that embroidery and do it again in a darker thread. (Orange seems a good choice.) On the one hand, I love the stitching and think it came out beautifully and am loathe to pick out something that came out so good on the first go around. On the other hand, it nearly blends into that yellow and if it’s not readable, who cares how good it looks?

For my other goals/hopes, the bee blocks are a given. I have to do them (because I don’t want to be a jerk who reneges on her promises) and in fact hope to get them done today. One is a very simple paper-pieced block with large amounts of negative space surrounding it, and the other is a fairly simple herringbone-style block.

Cat-vent Quilt-along

For the Catvent quilt, I’ve got two rows almost competely finished. I’m tossing around the idea of making only three (rather than 5) rows of faces and using some of my Mad About Patchwork giftcard to buy some of the Catnap fabrics whenever they arrive and piece in chunks of those in place of making all 25 blocks. I don’t know. I was enjoying piecing all those blocks and choosing all kinds of different scraps to go into it, but it’s not a project I’m super devoted to, it was just an entertaining diversion; so is it worth putting a lot of time into? I don’t know. It’ll be good for practising some quilting, though, once it’s all pieced together.

Confetti quilt

Okay, and the Confetti Go Lucky quilt. I don’t seem to have any half-decent pictures of it, but the top is pieced and the backing is pieced, so I just need to get it basted and start quilting it. This is my pie in the sky goal because I know it’s going to be the most amount of work, and thus the hardest to devote myself to doing. If there’s anything to be learned from my 2013 year in review, it’s that I do a lot of small things and very few large things, and I think it’s because I let these big projects intimidate me and then I just put them off indefinitely. I want to give this to my mom though, preferably for her birthday, which is February 7, so I really need to get it quilted if that’s going to happen. (Realistically, they won’t come to visit until late in February, so I’ll probably have some time.)

So, if tl;dr… I’m linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes with a goal of finishing the Sunshine cushion cover. Anything else will be gravy.


30 Comments

Fabric Fast

I’ve been trying for a while now to talk about this fabric fast that I’m doing this year (first half of, anyway… we’ll see about the rest), but I keep crapping out a couple paragraphs in. Here was the most recent attempt:

I was in my sewing room trying to clean up the space a little because I’m going to have to sleep in there over Christmas (my family – parents, younger sister, and Grandma – are coming up for a week) and I was shovelling fabric by the armload into available nooks and crannies on the shelving unit I never wanted to out-grow when I finally felt relief, instead of a vague sense of terror, about my fabric fast next year.

I’ve said it before, but let me say it again: I have too much stuff. I have too much fabric. I have too many projects in progress. I have too many future projects. There’s just too much.

It seems like enough to say that, but there are so many reasons beyond the STUFF that make me want to fabric fast, and every time I sit down to write those out, I run into problems. I’ve talked about it so many times in so many places (every other blog where someone talked about doing a fast or why they won’t do a fast) that I can’t seem to sort it all out in my head any more. It’s… you know,… because… Reasons.

Here’s one very practical one: I may have to move soon, and likely into a much smaller place, where I will almost certainly no longer have a sewing room.
Here’s a head-casey one: I shop when I’m stressed or depressed and I hate that about myself and the shopping makes me more stressed/depressed, which starts the cycle all over.
Here’s a rage against consumer culture one: I hate that I somehow feel pressured to buy things now because What If I Can’t Find It Again When I Need It. (Here’s a true fact about the current quilting world: the number of designers and fabric lines that appeal to current day sewists is expanding, not contracting. THERE WILL BE MORE AND OTHER BEAUTIFUL THINGS. Do I need this beautiful raspberry print today? Probably not because three years from now, there will be five beautiful raspberry prints. Or perhaps I won’t like raspberry any more anyway, but there will be fifty beautiful *insert colour of choice* prints. If I’m not planning to use it now, why am I worrying about not being able to find it later? I’ll find something different later and I might even like it better.)

These aren’t all the reasons I’m fabric fasting, but I think they’re enough to be getting on with.

FabAnon

Making Rebecca Lynne and Jess at The Elven Garden came up with this idea of Fabricholics Anonymous, for which they’ve created the following list of goals and rules:

GOALS:
– To use the Stash I already have!
– Finish UFOs without distraction by shifting to other new beautiful fabric
– Stop the insanity of constantly buying the latest and greatest fabric
– Save the $$ I spend on stashing
– Destash the fabrics that I realize I am never going to use

FABRIC FAST RULES:
1) No fabric purchases for 6 months beginning January 1, 2014
2) At 6 months re-evaluate status and decide whether to keep going for full year – evaluation July 1, 2014
3) Create a UFO list and complete them!
4) Exceptions:
Backing: purchasing a backing to finish a quilt top is permissible. However, attempting to use fabric in your possession for a backing is preferable.
Books and Magazine purchases are allowed as they are not fabric. Notions acceptable too.
Swap Mama Fabric: if hosting a swap you are permitted to by fabric to execute swap duties, but you may not join a swap simply for the sake of being able to buy fabric!
Quilts for Publication: if you are making a quilt for a publication and need certain fabric to execute it correctly then that is a major exception – who can blame you?

Here are my exceptions:
1. Backings, borders, and solid white fabric if necessary. Also, I have a $75 gift card for Mad About Patchwork, which I want to save until I start feeling a bit wibbly about the whole fasting thing. (Rules for using that? I can’t spend more than the card plus the cost of shipping/tax.) Also notions are allowed, but only necessary items like thread or needles, not items used in the creation of new projects, like zippers for zip pouches or whatever. I want to finish/use up, not start/add to the collection.
2. No magazines or books: I don’t use the ones I have. Also, no more Craftsy classes: I don’t use the ones I have.
3. No joining swaps if it means buying fabric. (I can make an exception if necessary for my only bee, Stash Bee (I’m in Hive 12), but I have a pretty extensive stash, so there should be no issue there. And I should try to swap for fabric, rather than purchasing fabric, if necessary.)
4. Quilts for publications or teaching classes is not an issue.

As for the UFO/WIP list, that’s a tough one. I have a very incomplete list on a permanent page, but I’m going to try to make a list based on what’s in my Flickr acct. This might get hella long. Forewarned is forearmed. (Honestly, I won’t mind if you just close this down here. It’s going to get embarrassing.)

In Progress (Includes Embroidery WIPs, at the bottom)
Catvent quilt top — blocks in progress
Sunshine cushion cover — top finished, needs to be quilted and then sewn together
Confetti Go Lucky quilt — needs to be basted, quilted, bound
Pushme Pullme quilt — needs to be basted, quilted, bound
Churn Dash quilt — needs more blocks made
Doctor Who quilt — need to finish borders
2 Trip Around the World baby quilts (one, two) — tops finished except borders, will be donated as tops to a Linus charity (I have no backing, so don’t intend to finish them) — borders complete and tops sent away
Mendocino Posh Tot quilt — needs to be basted, quilted, bound
Checkerboard quilt — need to baste, quilt, bind
First Quilt Ever! — baste, quilt, bind
Curio quilt — finish blocks & top
Mendocino Mod Times quilt — finish top
Christmas quilt?? — Do…. something with these blocks
Pink Bento Box quilt (Meant to be a charity thing for my work) — finish blocks, top, etc.
The Poppy quilt — Baste, quilt, bind
Eva’s Paintbox quilt — Finish blocks
Amy Butler Pink Pink Pink BOM — finish blocks
Oranges and Browns BOM — finish blocks (assuming I still have this one? Might have given the blocks away…)
Stupendously Ugly BOM — burn and salt the earth
Sunlight and Shadows quilt — ugh, piece top, etc.
Green Amy Butler QAYG quilt — finish quilting blocks, piece together
Blue and Orange Big Block quilt — baste, quilt, bind
Random Blue Blocks quilt (do I still have these?) — create a top, etc.
Hated Houses wall-hanging (something started for my mom before I bought my sewing machine — ie. it’s all hand-pieced so far) — salvage into a small wall-hanging
Plume quilt — baste, quilt, bind
– Christmas table runner (No photo) — Meant to be a gift, can’t recall where I was at in the creation of it
Saturday Surprise Sampler — finish top, etc.
Blue and Brown Improv Block quilt — need to piece remaining blocks, etc.
2012 Modern BOM from Sew Mama Sew (couldn’t find a picture of the finished top) – baste, quilt, bind
Summer stitching club wall-hanging — need to finish embroidery, cut out backing fabric, etc.
Stitch Sampler Along — need to finish embroidery, piece mini quilt, etc.
Tulip Slip cushion — need to do appliqué and create cushion
Daisy Chain embroidery — need to finish stitching
Nesting Place embroidery — need to finish stitching, build needlecase, etc.
Molly Mutante wall-hanging — embroidery done, need to do everything else

Haven’t Started/Wish List (Includes embroidery projects, at the bottom)
Bear Paw quilt repair — at the request of my sister, she doesn’t care how I repair it or with what
– Sunburst table topper — have kit
– Cori Dantini mini-quilts — have fabric
– Birdie Sling bag — have fabric
– Quilt for my Dad — no particular plan, just to use Parson Grey fabric
– Hourglass quilt for my sister — have fabric
Acacia quilt (Craftsy class quilt) — have fabric
– Valori Wells Hexagon quilt (Rosalie) — have kit
– Ugly Welcome Wall-hanging (for my mother, her request) — have fabric
– Oh Canada quilt — uses scraps + white
– Embroidered wool wall-hanging — have wool and pattern
– Gypsy Wife quilt — have fabric
– Bird of Paradise wall-hanging – have kit
– City Quilts purple quilt — have kit
– Pale Blue and White Quilt — have kit
– Reunion quilt — have kit (Is it Reunion? I forget now…)
– Tufted Tweets reflection quilt — have fabric
– Matryoshka doll ornaments — have felt, need to make two for my cousin and her husband
– Varga girl mini
– Talliaferro crewel embroidery — have kit
– Mellerstain parrots embroidery — have kit
– Crewel Twists embroidery — have kit
– Little Garden embroidery sampler — have kit

Did I say this would be long? It was long. Did I say it would be embarrassing? It’s embarrassing. I really need some Off-The-Puter Quilty Friends who would slap me round the face if I ever start talking about starting something new. (Also, I feel the need to disclaim and say that these are projects leading back 10 years. It’s not like I’ve generated all these unfinished things in the last year or two.)(Still, it’s embarrassing either way.)