Work-in-Progress Girl


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March Gypsy Wife

Well, it’s only taken me until April, but I’ve finished my (brights) Gypsy Wife blocks!

Gypsy Wife

Here are all my blocks – February and March (plus one bonus hourglass from the future…) – so far. You can see a tiny bit of a couple of my lower volume blocks too down at the bottom, but I haven’t started on those blocks yet…

Gypsy Wife

I started out with the easy blocks, more pinwheels, tiny little pinwheels (I think those central units are 2.5-inches… or maybe they were 3… anyway, small). I really like the framed pinwheels – it sort of makes me want to add more to the quilt somewhere, but then I’d have to start adjusting the sizes of other things to make things fit. The lovely Mari-Ann (@rockislander on IG) sent me some scraps in exchange for some Mendocino scraps I sent her and I bunch of those popped up in these blocks! I’m mostly aiming to cut into larger pieces of fabric for the big blocks in the quilt, but to use scraps in the smaller blocks. There are a lot of little square in square blocks in the quilt, so I think they’ll be great for using up random triangles and weird bits like that.

Gypsy Wife

This is the block that I let hold me up for a long time, the Pershing block. It’s… not as a bad to put together as I expected. But you have to be very careful of all those bias cuts and it helps to sew scant seams throughout and then trim the unit down so that it’s square before adding the next round. It would be really helpful if the pattern had more instruction, like what size each unit should be as you construct it. I kept thinking throughout that I was going to wind up with a too small block and that I’d have to add a half-inch border around it to bring it up to size, but it only wound up about 1/8″ too small all around, which I can live with. It would also be useful to have some instruction on how best to piece the block. I’ve done a lot of traditional piecing in my years of sewing, so I didn’t have issues getting it together, but I think if anyone who was fairly new to traditional piecing were to try it, it would be pretty intimidating. I think pattern writers always have to find that balance between too much hand-holding and not enough, but even just a basic explanation of what to do and when would be helpful for a lot of people.

Anyway, I think I’m going to try to get my April brights blocks done first, then I’ll backtrack and get into the lower volume ones for March and April – I have a week’s holiday in April, so it shouldn’t be an issue, I hope!

Linking up with the Gypsy Wife Quiltalong, being hosted by Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day:

GypsyWifeQAL

This month’s prize is being sponsored by Fresh Modern Fabric:

gypsy-freshmodernfabric

Why not come link up too! I know there are more of you out there stitching along than have popped by to link up!

While I’m at it with the link-ups, I better set this as my A Year of Lovely Finishes goal for April – I want to finish all my March and April blocks for my low volume version as well as my April blocks for my brights version. I don’t like being behind, so I better get myself all the way caught up!

A Lovely Year of Finishes

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30/30 Sewing Challenge: Month End

You know, I keep thinking I should have more to show because I’ve spent SO MUCH time crafting this month, but so much of it was absorbed in the beginning of the month with the Radiant Orchid challenge mini-quilt, that once I was finished with that, nearly all my time went into making things I had to make – bee blocks and swap projects. Which, hey, nothing wrong with that, but I still have so much more I wanted to finish this month!

It’s the last day of March, for example, [or the first day of April, even… I fell asleep before I could finished editing this post yesterday] and I didn’t even touch my Gypsy Wife booklet! Not a single Gypsy Wife block sewn in March! But if I get them done by the weekend, I’m still linking up with Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day.

Beginnings of two #quilts -- lowish volume and loud for the #gypsywifequiltalong

This (rather dreadful Instagram photo in a too-dark room) is where both my Gypsy Wife quilts are at. I’m really, really wanting to get working on these, but that Pershing block is really kind of scaring me – I’ve been having issues with details lately and none of my blocks lately have been working out quite like I hope. Pershing is not a good one for when you’re feeling wibbly about your sewing skills.

I’m also six blocks behind on the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong! Six blocks!

Layer Cake Sampler QAL... so far...

This is where I’m at though! Loving how this is coming together, although I do feel a little bit like it’s too pink. I’ll have to wait till I have more blocks together, but maybe I’ll need to sash it in a dark purple or burgundy or something. I think I have a bunch of yardage from this line (Eva by Basic Grey), which was meant to be used as backing for a different Eva quilt-in-progress, but depending what the fabrics are, maybe I’ll be able to use it for finishing the quilt.

So what have I gotten done since finishing my Orchid quilt? Well… a couple bee blocks:

Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block

Neither one of them turned out exactly as I’d hoped – I don’t know… the first one came together pretty well, but that second one is a mess of bad points and it’s a little too small and I was really not happy with it. But I kind of love the colours – that domino dot was a great match for that centre print, although I think it’s a lot more green than the recipient was looking for. In any case, I had changed the needle (and thread) in between sewing the first block and the second and it was just a fight to get anything to work properly. I’m not sure what’s the culprit – maybe the bobbin is wound crookedly, maybe the needle has a bad point or it’s slightly misshapen or the wrong size or maybe I’m a poor craftsman who is blaming her tools. In any case, I’m going to start swapping things out and see if something helps.

I also finished a few things for the 4S swap on Flickr… I don’t want to write a full post about those yet, but here is a shot of the drawstring bag I created and the pincushion I tucked in along with some other treats (fabric and candy and chocolate…):

mosaic5574cfc68196e492b4700c6faf416cc886004dc2

I feel like there must be more, but I’m drawing a blank on it, so I guess that’s what I’ve been up to with all my 30 minutes (and more) of crafting every day for the last while! Truly, the majority of the month was taken up with this guy, time hog that it was:

Radiant Orchid mini quilt

Linking up with Sarah at Berry Barn Designs for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge. In general I was pretty successful with the 30 minutes a day thing, I think I only missed once on a weekend when I was unexpectedly working nights (but had expected to have time off). It feels like not very much stuff, considering the time I put into it, but crafting really can be a huge time suck. I enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but it is not a speedy thing, even when something moves along quickly.

Berry Barn Designs

Linking up also to WIP Wednesday at Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts


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30/30 Challenge – Week Two

So the sewing for 30(plus) minutes a day thing is going over pretty well! Unfortunately, I spent most of my time working on the same project, so it’s not a very exciting show and tell for the week:

More Radiant Orchid

It is done now, though, so it should be more interesting from here on out! But yes, this is my Pantone Quilt Challenge project… but I’m still keeping it under-wraps, a bit, because I want to stage my photos a little bit and I need to either do it at work (where I have access to some props, and thus I need to do it in the middle of the night while no one is there to wonder WTF I’m doing and why they’re paying me to do it) or I need to buy one prop in particular and bring it home and do it on a sunny morning. So.. all you get to see still is some rows of stitching and my four finished corners. I love when stitching binding and you round that last corner and there’s just a few more inches of binding to go. Best part of a project.

I also stitched up another two blocks for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong:

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I LOVE this block. (I don’t love the wrinkling, though.)

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I had a slightly more frustrating time with this block – it just wanted to wrinkle all over the place and the corners wouldn’t line up and it drove me slightly made in general. But I’m trying to just let it go! It won’t be horrible in the finished quilt, it’ll just be another block.

I’m still two blocks behind and I was going to stitch them up on Monday, but I got distracted by the prospect of making a sample drawstring bag for the 4S Swap (Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap) on Flickr. I had some purple fabric in a heap near my sewing table (rejects from early in the Pantone Quilt Challenge process) and really, really wanted to use that Anna Maria Horner fabric from Dowry:

Drawstring Bag

It’s such an easy little project to make, and I think every single one I’ve seen has looked great. I added a little flange to mine to emphasize some of the blue in the print and to tie it all in to the lining fabric. It might have been a slightly brighter blue than it needed to be — the perils of choosing fabrics in a mostly dark/ill-lit room — but I love it anyway. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this bag, probably I’ll give it away eventually, but making it was all for my enjoyment, and I did.

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and 30/30 Sewing Challenge at Berry Barn Designs and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Berry Barn Designs Sew Fresh Quilts


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Gypsy Wife – February Wrap-Up

So I never did get around to posting my last blocks for February and it’s already a week into March! February was kind of a wasted month, craft-wise, for me, but I did get a big burst of things done right at the end of the month, including a second set of February blocks all in lower volume fabrics.

Gypsy Wife - Feb blocks

I spent a lot of January toying with the idea of a low volume Gypsy Wife quilt – it’s such a vibrant, kind of crazycakes quilt that I started to wonder what would happen if you turned everything down a notch. Or ten. And so I put together this block (actually, even before I finished my brights version I’d done this one). It’s very pastel, at least in the centre, and that’s not something I really have a huge amount of in my stash, but I do have a lot of neutrals, so I’m cautiously committing myself to two versions of this quilt. (Cautiously because I’m a little afraid I’ll hit some point where I can’t keep up with two versions, and this will be the one to get put on hold, or converted to a baby quilt or something if I have enough blocks, or I won’t have enough interesting fabrics to make a lower volume version.)

Gypsy Wife - Feb blocks

I keep saying “lower” volume, rather than “low” because I’m not quite sure where to draw the line on what is low volume and what is… just quieter or greyer than a lot of the particularly bright, clear colours I have. Just for some examples, when I was looking through my fabrics, I thought the gold in that honeycomb print was sort of… near enough to a neutral that it wouldn’t read too dark/too loud, but it feels a lot darker than anything in the colour wheel block. Or say that tan print in the lower right block – doesn’t it seem kind of dark? The red and the blue on the bottom left also seem just Too Much, even though they both seemed to be very white-heavy prints when I choose them. I guess with those particular prints, it’s partly that I was looking at a larger piece of fabric and then happened to land on cuts that actually contained more of the colour and less of the white space – so I do need to be more conscious of what the fabric will look like when it’s a very small piece, placed into something else. And I need to remember too all of these are just rather small pieces in something that will be much larger, so they might not feel too dark or too bright once they’re surrounded by all the other things.

Gypsy Wife - Feb blocks

A lot of these fabrics were fished out of my scrap bins and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to use even the uglies – skip back up one photo and look at that truly horrendous pink floral or even this one here with the ladybug: that print has SNAILS on it (one of my most horrifying sense memories was stepping barefoot on a slug squish and even though snails have shells, I still associate them with slugs and that revulsion I still feel when I think of stepping on it – I’m come from a very dry place where slugs are NOT a going concern, it’s possible I didn’t even know they existed and that running around barefoot in British Columbia in a grassy backyard was a Bad Idea). I’m trying to remind myself that even the uglies can have a place in a quilt, but man is it hard to look at some of those prints and feel okay about mixing them in there!

Beginnings of two #quilts -- lowish volume and loud for the #gypsywifequiltalong

These are all my blocks so far – brights and quietish. I guess we’ll see where all this goes!

I need to run for work, but I want to offer up a link to a spreadsheet I spent a ridiculous amount of time building, which can be found here that shows all the blocks in the Gypsy Wife quilt with their name, size in quilt (so your loose blocks should be 1/2-inch larger than this), page location in the booklet, month we’ll be sewing them, and (more importantly for me!) what section of the quilt you can find them in. Here’s a small section of it below:

gypsyspreadsheet

I’m planning to “file” all my blocks in large envelopes by section as they get made (since they’ll overtake my design wall before too long, especially if I keep up making two versions!) so I wanted to know exactly which section each block belong in. Maybe you’ll find this useful too!

Finally, I really, really need to go, but I want to remind everybody about all the incredible, awesome sponsors we’ve got for this quiltalong!

gypsy-spoonflower
Spoonflower

gypsy-oakshott
Oakshott Fabrics

gypsy-hawthorne gypsy-hawthornehues
Hawthorne Threads

gypsy-freshmodernfabric
Fresh Modern Fabric

gypsy-fatquartershop
Fat Quarter Shop

gypsy-cucire
Cucire: Fine Fabrics & Sewing Notions

gypsy-crimsontate
Crimson Tate

gypsy-aurifil
Aurifil


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Ramble Ramble (Random Thursday)

So it’s been a little while. I’ve been sewing, though, so I figure it’s all good! I meant to post last week, but then I just didn’t have anything to show and I didn’t even work on reorganizing my sewing room, so then I was going to post over the weekend, but it was my weekend off and I was actually sewing and no way was I stopping just to write a blog post. And then this has been a weird, weird week. I normally work a really set schedule, but I had a first aid course to attend on Tuesday (which shifted my work day by 3 hours from 6 AM to 9 AM) and then I had a training thing on Wednesday (which shifted my work day by 3 hours) and at least when I’m working my normal 6-2:30, I can get home when there’s still a drop or two of sun in the sky, but coming home after 5 pm means it’s already dark enough not to make photo taking virtually impossible.

I used to take photos of everything with flash because fuck it, what else can I do? But I’ve been trying to be at least a little better with my picture taking. And to that end, I asked my mom to buy me a light box for Christmas. Which yay, lightbox! But I can’t get enough light into it! I can clamp lights onto the table for either side, but I don’t have any lamps high enough to get above it and the lighting in my sewing room is unbelievably terrible (I could take off the light cover, which would help a little, but it’s not the most attractive of looks, having a bare bulb), so even the light box isn’t helping too much! (I’ve been trying to use one of the clamp on lights from the top and one from the left and then tilting my sewing lamp in from the right, but the angle is all wrong and the lamp on top is too heavy and it rests right on the light box surface, so it doesn’t really diffuse the light properly. Basically I’m winding up with kind of yellow photos and still having shadows where shadows ought not to be. A couple of Giveaway Day’s ago I won a pdf guide to photography from someone, but do you think I can find that file now?

Anyway, on the subject of Giveaway Day – I never did find a good entry to pop this in, but if I’m calling this one random, then why not now? (Finally!) This December I won a giveaway from Stephanie at Simple Sewendipity!

Heat Pad

How pretty is that? It’s a heating pad with lavender in it and it just smells unbelievably delicious. You microwave it to heat it up and then just apply wherever needs some extra warmth. Lovely! (I kind of want to pull it off the heating pad, though, and just hang it up in my sewing room it’s so pretty!)

Right, so, weekend sewing. I started out by pulling a long-standing WIP off the design wall:

Design Wall

I think I started this one about two years ago and I love it immensely, but it just seems like so much work every time I think about it! (It’s all with inset seams and it just gets heavier and harder to put in the bricks each time.) I’m a little worried it’s going to fade since it gets a shot of sun every day, and also it’s kind of made my design wall useless to me. So time to go.

Now this is all that’s up there:

Design Wall

Two of these are going away because they’re bee blocks. The other is my first Gypsy Wife block – just testing things out!

Hive 12: January Block

This is my first Stash Bee block, for Heather at Quilts in the Queue. This block was paper-pieced in the centre and then it’s just a sea of white around. I had to make this one twice – the first one when I was pressing it, suddenly came up with two dots of that blue water-erasable ink, which was a bit weird because I hadn’t been using the stuff! It didn’t come off with water like it usually does, so I thought it was going to be garbage and I rotary cut off the white from the sides so that I could trim it down into sizes useful for remaking the block. About an hour later, one of the dots had disappeared and now the second one has gone away, so I don’t know what that was all about. I still have that extra centre unit, but it’s got a 1/4 inch border of white sewn on and I’m not sure it’ll be easy to get off – I’d left on the paper and so I’d used a tiny little stitch to sew it down, and I don’t relish the thought of ripping all those little stitches.

Aeneous - January block

And this is my last block for the Simply Solids group on Flickr, for Laura at Waffle Kisses. This block uses this herringbone tutorial from Bijou Lovely and I think it comes out pretty great looking. I’m really happy with this one and hope the recipient will be happy too.

I also sewed up an entire quilt top, which you can see on Instagram (I’m @clumsykristel), but I haven’t been able to take a proper decent shot of it. It’s too big to tape to the wall for a photo and my yard is such a snowy mess that I can’t take it out and pin it to the fence either. Anyway, hopefully the backing material will arrive soon and then I’ll be able to take a finished photo! (I hope!)

Linking up with Really Random Thursday and Let’s Bee Social:

randomeer LinkyBees


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Confetti-Go-Lucky Quilt

Yeah, I don’t know what to call this quilt, but the fabric is from the Happy Go Lucky line and the quilt pattern is called Confetti.

Confetti quilt

The first five blocks are pretty much a variation on this: two joined hexies and one lonely one floating on an enormous, mostly empty block.

Confetti quilt

I won’t show all five blocks. But they’re all pretty similar – one hexie in one quadrant and a set of hexies in the opposite quadrant. I tried to make sure none of the blocks had the exact same placement, so hopefully they’ll seem a bit like confetti tumbling around.

I’m only just working on the next four blocks, and haven’t stitched down the hexies yet.

Confetti quilt

I’m off-and-on quite nervous about that backing fabric, which is a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton (I think in Jade, though I forget the colour name for certain). It’s not a colour that really appears in the line at all, but somehow it just seems to work sometimes. And then sometimes I’ll look at it another way and be convinced that it can’t possibly come together. I’m sure it’ll be fine, though I can’t begin to imagine what colour thread I should use to quilt this. (The backing is going to be largely navy – the navy print with the multi-coloured pom-pom dandelion things. The binding I’m undecided on – I ordered two different fabrics to test against the shot cotton, one which dark grey on light grey and the other which is I think dark blue on light blue.) Maybe I’ll just use a variegated grey – I know I’ve got a new spool of that and it wouldn’t stand out too much in any case. Dunno. It’s going to be at least another week before the backing fabric arrives – I hope it’ll work, because it’s getting a bit difficult to find Happy Go Lucky fabric (in large quantities, that is), and I don’t really want to use the shot cotton as a quilt backing. Things to think about, anyway.

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


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Pushme Pullme quilt top

Back in September, Michelle of Factotum of Arts and Squeek Crafts debuted a new pattern she’d created for a block that used nested arrows. Then called This Way That Way, the block plays with value and kind of tessellating pattern to create a really neat design that’s almost like an optical illusion: if you look at it one way, the In arrow stands out and the rest fades into the background, but if you refocus your eye, the opposite occurs and the Out arrow stands out. When Michelle was looking for pattern testers, I was only too happy to help!

Push Me Pull Me quilt top

Michelle has made several blocks in a (mostly) monochromatic colour scheme, using dark and light value blues with white and grey borders, so I wanted to try something a little bit different, to see how it would work out using fabrics with varying colours (not that I went so wild with that, sticking primarily to shades of blue and green, all from the same line). So I made four Pushme Pullme blocks using 8 prints from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence line of fabrics and five different shades of Kona cotton for the borders. (The darkest blue is Nightfall, but the other four were pulled out of a design roll of “New Colours” from… several years ago. I don’t know what their colour names are.)

001

I did all the blocks one at a time (rather than chain piecing the units of multiple blocks) and they took me a little longer than an hour per block – I’m a pretty slow sewist, though, and was also watching a new-to-me movie at the time (“Highway 61″), which was a bit more distracting than I prefer when I’m sewing. Still, they come together very easily. I had been a little concerned about matching up the cross in the centre of the blocks, but that didn’t give me any trouble either.

The blocks are a bit larger than standard – 15 inches finished – which is nice for quilt making because it sizes up a quilt nicely without having to add sashing or borders. My blocks came out a touch small – about 15.25″ rather than 15.5” unfinished. The centre unit was the correct size in every case, but I didn’t measure anything after that, so I think I ate up an eighth of an inch with each of my borders. I rarely sew with a scant seam, but I think I probably should have in this case!

Push Me Pull Me

Regardless, I love the finished top! (And my obligatory wind-blown shot, since I can’t seem to manage a photo shoot in my backyard without it!) I think it turned out as well with my (controlled) blend of colours and prints as it did in Michelle’s monochromatic version, and I think it’d work also with a more chaotic blend of colours as well. I’m imagining a child’s quilt with rainbow blocks, for instance. As long as you maintain the value differences, I think it’ll work out with nearly anything.

I was really hoping to have this quilt entirely finished in time for the mini-blog hop for this pattern, but I got held up making the backing for the quilt. I’m using four more prints from Florence for the back and was going to have a blue cross through the centre to break it all up and to mimic the sashing a little bit, but I went and cut my Florence prints an inch too small all around and so I need to re-cut the blue cross to be a little larger, so that it’ll still be big enough. Anyway, hopefully I’ll finish it up soon. I’m thinking about putting hanging tabs on the back and putting this one up on an empty wall in my bedroom.

In any case, definitely head over to Factotum of Arts, where Michelle is hosting a giveaway and then go check out the posts of my fellow testers. I haven’t seen what they’ve made yet, but I’m willing to bet they all look amazing!

Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day
Mara at Secretly Stitching
Sarah at Sarah Quilts


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Bits and Bobs

I had a to-do list this weekend that felt a mile long. It really wasn’t, but it just FELT like it and it’s all because I left all my sewing commitments for October until the Very Last Second, which made it feel like work instead of fun to finish them up. And they should have been fun! Some of what I was working on I won’t be showing for a few more days, but here are some of the blocks I finished up:

Tall Shoo-fly Blocks

I sewed up four Tall Shoo Fly blocks for my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group. These blocks are quite small (6.5 x 9.5″) so even though we didn’t have to make more than one I’d always planned on doing three or four. I found these hard to photograph, largely because the wall and the background fabric were pretty much the exact same colour. I kept thinking shadows would be a good thing for once since it would help distinguish the blocks a bit. It all looks a bit dingy and underlit, though, doesn’t it? Oh well, I think the blocks came out well, and that’s all I could ask for.

I’m still behind one block for the month for the LJ exchange, but I will get that one done in the next couple days, I hope. But also, I have a quilt I want to get quilted! I’m torn! (Commitments to other people really should come first, though, shouldn’t they?)

Anyway, I also did up my Simply Solids Bee block for October:

Road to Fortune

This is a paper-pieced Road to Fortune block, made for Shena of Apple Pie Patchwork. I don’t know why, but I kind of spaced out the making of this one, doing a unit two days ago and two units yesterday and finally finishing them all up tonight. Somehow I got all discombobulated about where my colours were going to go and it all came out a bit clumped up instead of nicely spread around. Oh well, I think it came out okay and it should blend in with the rest of the blocks by the time it’s all done anyway.

I also finished up my needlebook for the Sweet & Simple Scrappy Swap on Flickr. I’ve shown a lot of pictures of this already, but here are my finally finished shots. And if any of you can find my opps! error, the first one to get it right in the comments will get sent a Fat Quarter in the colour of your choosing. (Things which don’t count: the shoddy stitching on the snap, the not quite round felt, the not quite centred felt, the not quite straightly stitched felt.)

026

I said before that this is a taco shaped needlebook, and here it is snapped shut and holding its taco shape all on its own. Yay! The pattern for the needlebook came from Suzuko Koseki’s Playful Patchwork book, but I wound up making it a bit larger than the pattern suggests. You’re supposed to shrink the daisy pattern down to 80%, but I wound up preferring it at full-size. It’s about 8-inches in diametre, I think, but the larger size made it easier to modify the interior a little bit.

028

In any case, the exterior is kind of paean to Japanese design because not only is a pattern by a Japanese designer, but the green fabric is a Japanese print, from a Yuwa Kei line, which might or might not be called Newsprint and Roses. The stitching was done with Sashiko thread that I had in with my embroidery supplies. It’s nice and thick so it leaves a lovely line around the petals. Of which, the yellow fabric is a Lakehouse print, from the Annie’s Seed Catalog line and the off-white is actually a Moda Grunge fabric, though I forget the colour name of it. It’s a kind of off-white or winter white with very pale strokes of green and red brushed through in the grunge pattern.

030

The interior has two leaves of wool for storing pins and needles. The green came from a local fabric shop, Traditional Pastimes, and the off-white wool was a gift to me from Jennifer Ofenstein, when she passed off a collection of mostly hand-dyed wool pieces.

033

I modified the interior a little by adding this zipper pocket on one side (and if I’d had a second matching zipper, I’d have probably added a pocket on the other side as well). It wasn’t a complicated change, but I do think it made the needle-case a little more useful since otherwise scissors or a skein of thread would just slide out and possibly get lost.

So that’s my needlebook that I sent away for the swap. I was pretty happy in the end with how everything came together, and I really hope my swap partner will like it as lot as well.


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Stuff and Things

I keep putting off writing a post – I’ll do it tomorrow, sort of thing – because most of what I’m going to post about is a little too light to bother about, so today can be a bit of a Random Thursday post, though it’s not really all that random: it’s sewing/fabric related, by and large.

On Wednesday, I received this really incredible swap package for the Flickr Fat Quarter Blender Swap:

FQ Blender Swap Received!

Love, love, love every bit of it. My swap partner really nailed it with this one – you might recall my saying the other day that I’ve been having a Pink moment? Yeah. These will fit right into the mix. I really love Painter’s Canvas (that’s the navy one), and would have it in every colour if I had the money to spend on it. The paper clips are just FUN and that aqua is really lovely.

I also received my swap package for a Livejournal swap, the Talk to Me Tuesday Pound of Love/Crafty Goodness swap, but I didn’t take pictures because I recorded a video. Just have to get the video off my phone and onto YouTube.

I recently mailed off stuff for that Livejournal swap and while I didn’t take pictures of most of what I sent, I did photograph the handmade bit, which was three pot holders:

Patchwork Potholders

I don’t know what sorts of colours my swap partner loves or what types of prints, so I pretty much just let myself go crazy with the scrap bags. I wanted to make something useful, but also beautiful, and hopefully I managed to accomplish that!

Pink Patchwork Potholder

I made this pink one first, more or less following the pattern in the book Zakka Style, which was compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale (I hope I got her name right, I’m too lazy to go look it up…). The book uses the linen as the binding, which I should have done as it really ties the whole look together, but I didn’t want to cut a big old bias cut right through the middle of my Essex linen. So dark pink instead.

Patchwork Pot-holders

The pattern is for the kind of pot-holders that you can put your hand inside to pick things up, so they’re all done in that style. But I quilted the crap out of these things and even though they function as pot-holders (I tested them!), I was too scared to try holding a hot dish with them. I feel a bit like the super tight quilting clamped all the inner layers together so closely that it holds the heat too close to your hand (even though it does reflect it back up). I don’t know. There are 3 layers of fabric, a layer of cotton batting, and a layer of Insulbrite in each of these, but I was still nervous about it.

This teal one is probably my favourite, but I’m a big fan of teal/aqua. That extra bit of patchwork in the middle was in the scrap bag just like that – it was an off-cut from a quilt top I finished last year (but have never quilted…). Love it.

Chartreuse (I guess?) Patchwork Potholder

This chartreuse one was the last one I made. You can tell I haven’t really made much use of chartreuse in my sewing because I didn’t have too many options in my scrap bins – I had to slip in some other shades of green as well. This features my least favourite binding (I should have chosen a darker coloured print) and I think it knew I wasn’t happy with it, because it gave me all kinds of trouble. There are a couple little puckers, I had to sew the joining seam THREE times. Ridiculous.

Anyway, those are all en route to their new owner, who I hope will love them.

And finally – I need to go blow-dry my hair and get ready for work (I work midnight to 8:30 AM tonight!) – here’s the first block of my next project:

First block

It’s a shame my ironing board shows through, but I’m loving how this is looking. I’ve only got the one block finished, but I’m going to make 30 for the quilt top (it’s going to be a baby top) and hope to get it all together very quickly.

Baby quilt fabrics

These are all the print fabrics I’m going to use, but today I got them all sewed up into strip sets to cut into the block components. All pressed and ready to cut, and then I’ll start sewing them into blocks. I’m using 2.5″ wide strips (the white is a jelly roll), and the blocks come out to just a little bigger than 8.25″ square, though I’m trimming them down to 8 1/4. It’s a bit of an unusual size, but it’s convenient to start with the jelly roll strips, so there it is.

Oh, and finally, here is my September block for the Flickr Simply Solids group:

Simply Solids Aenous Sept. block

More churn dashes! They’re having a moment in the blogosphere.


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Wednesday Works + September Goals

This is a double whammy post – both my current Work in Progress for both the WIP Wednesday link ups (With Lee of Freshly Pieced and Needle and Thread Network for Canadian bloggers) AND for the September goal post link up for A Lovely Year of Finishes. I didn’t finish my August goal – to finish my Doctor Who quilt top – so I’m adjusting it to my September goal (and expanding on it slightly).

Dr Who Quilt-in-Progress

My August goal was to get the top put together, and I nearly made it – I got all the blocks sashed and pieced together and I got the inner border attached, but I stalled out on the outer border. You can see a part of it in the photo – it’s the wide band of the light blue fabric on the far left. I’m piecing in some words on two sides of the border, so I need to get those words put together before I can really finish the top.

I was started on the words, but my parents came to town last week and we went on our little mini-trip and that kind of sucked up the hours I might have spent finishing it in August.

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This is where I’m at right now, and it’s where I was at last week when I set it aside in favour of washing dishes and changing bed sheets before my guests arrived! I had planned to work on it some more today, but I had a pretty terrible day at work and I’ve been wallowing a bit. It’s a difficult thing being in that sort of mood because I know that crafting can be very relaxing and I could use a good dose of that, but I was so tense that I didn’t really want to deal with a fiddly project where making a mistake with my piecing might just make me blow things up into something bigger and more devastating than it actually would be. (Everything seems worse and more insurmountable when you’re in a bad mood!)

Instead, I got down to the difficult task of fabric shopping. The very lovely Michelle of Factotum of Arts gifted me an Etsy giftcard as a part of her One Year Blogoversary celebration/giveaway, so I thought… why not spend it on fabric for my future Birdie Sling:

Birdie Sling Beginnings

This photo does NOT feature the fabric I bought with that giftcard – it’s still got to be cut, packaged, shipped, etc! But this fabric was my starting point. I wanted to pick up interfacing for the bag, so on the weekend I went to Fabricland, which is a fabric chain that sells all sorts of varieties of fabrics, but has a pretty poor quilting cotton selection. They have a fairly large one, at least at the store nearest me, but most of the fabric isn’t very good quality. And then every now and again you’ll find something quality that you recognize – in this case, it was this poppy print from Laura Gunn’s poppy collection for Michael Miller. (One of my unquilted but otherwise finished quilt tops is done in this line of fabric; it’s definitely a favourite line of mine, even after all these years.) This particular print appeals to several different parts of me. It lets me have a fairly neutral bag – the bottom part of the bag will be in Essex Linen in Denim (so long as it matches… that fabric is en route too) – but one with a pretty print and a few little splashes of colour. It’ll let me have a kind of wild lining, which is something I love, via Laura Gunn’s rust stripe print from that same fabric line (also en route, or will be once the seller lists my reserved listing and I can buy it).

I pulled open and read through the instructions for the Birdie Sling and it sounds pretty doable. I think even I can do it, and I’m not always that great with patterns for things like this. It’s less intimidating than most of the patterns in Amy Butler’s book of baby patterns, at least, so that’s something!

I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, as well as A Lovely Year of Finishes for September:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced My Button