Work-in-Progress Girl


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Text Me Mini

So first up is my winner for my giveaway last week:

winner

And number 20 was Cindy Dahlgren to whom, some 30 minutes before hitting the button on Random.org, I’d just sent this message back:

cindyd-winner

Serendipity? Anyway, congrats to Cindy!

Anyway, I guess it’s time to show off that finished mini, isn’t it? Unfortunately I didn’t get any particularly good shots of it – the sun had set too far by the time I finished stitching down the binding and I had to get it to the post office and mailed off, so I wasn’t able to wait an extra day to get better photos at a better time of day.

Text Me Mini Quilt Swap - sent

I so wish I had better pictures because I really liked this mini and it may be the only rainbow order quilt I ever make! (I like rainbows and I like rainbow coloured quilts, but generally I like it better when all the colours are all over the place, rather than in strict ROYGBIV order.)

The brief for this swap was to use at least 2 text prints in our mini and all the participants posted mosaics to offer some inspiration. I had a bit of a tough time with my partner’s inspiration mosaic and couldn’t seem to settle into any particular pattern – I rotated through a lot of different ones in my head before I decided on this pattern, which is Glam Garlands by Elizabeth Hartman. My partner is in A LOT of swaps on Instagram and that meant she had a lot of mosaics posted, so I snapped pictures of all of them and looking at them side by side, I decided that rainbows and bright colours were her favourite thing and then to tie it in with the original mosaic a little, I went for the only pattern I knew of with a little bit of party atmosphere.

Text Me Mini Quilt Swap - sent

This shot doesn’t really show the quilting as well as I’d hoped it would, but I wound up using a yellow variegated thread to make something like crepe paper ribbons in my quilting – long wavy lines that criss-cross down the length of the garlands. I kept these quilting lines fairly dense, since I think mini quilts in particular benefit from dense quilting (it helps add some stiffness that lets them hang nice and flat without looking too billowy on the wall). After that I added about 5 or 6 lines in red that are just kind of wavy with a few added loops. Some of my loops came out a little flat (I couldn’t find my quilting gloves and was having some unpleasantness getting a smooth line), but generally I like that addition.

Text Me Mini Quilt Swap - sent

For the back, I used this large piece of measuring tape fabric that I had. The binding was this perfect print with all the rainbow colours and interspersed with bits of text.

I didn’t have time to make anything extra to go along with the mini, but I sent my partner a pile of texty scraps in all sort of colours and some local fabric license plates from the Row Along quilt shop hop thing – she’d been collecting them from her area, so I thought it’d be fun to send some from mine. I didn’t photograph any of those things, though, so no more pictures!

Except there are more pictures, because I recently received my mini from this swap!

Text Mini Mini Swap received

My partner (@jastravers on Instagram) made and sent me this really incredible “Create” mini! When she’d been posting progress shots of it, I’d kind of wished it were for me, but I didn’t really think it would be, but then it was!

Text Mini Mini Swap received

Without counting to be certain, I’d guess that Jasmine used about a dozen different text prints in this mini. She backed it in this fun bird print and if you scroll up and look at the full-on shot again, you’ll see that she used a few bird prints in the background as well. I’m not sure if that was intentional, but I kind of like it anyway! That green bird in the centre at the top is one of my favourite recent prints that I didn’t buy despite liking it so much, so it’s nice to have a little piece of it in something that’s going to live on my wall for a very long time!

Text Mini Mini Swap received

She also sent me this awesome pincushion and some gorgeous Tula Pink fabric…

Text Mini Mini Swap received

and this giant pile of fabric scraps!

I LOVE getting fabric scraps in swaps – it’s always amazing that no matter how much fabric I’ve got, there are always so many other prints I’ve never seen or picked up. I have a very (very!) long-running goal of someday making myself a scrappy log cabin and all these fabrics get horded up for when that idea finally comes to fruition. (I’ve talked about this many times before, I’m sure, but my favourite quilt ever was a log cabin my mom made in the 70s when she was in university. It was mostly made of clothing scraps and a lot of those fabrics rotted right out of the quilt, but I took it with me to university anyway. Every time I washed it, it came out just a little more ragged with that much more exposed batting. My mom finally made me throw it away, but I still miss it because it was hers and then it was mine and it was warm and cozy as anything.)

Anyway, that was my experience with the Text Me Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram! I’m pretty happy with how it all played out. Hopefully in the next couple weeks I can get around to showing you the other minis I made and received this summer. Time to catch up on all the things I skipped over while I was away!


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Radiant Orchid Mini-Quilt

It took me a long time to warm up to making a project for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge – I didn’t have many purples in my stash, even fewer of them in that sort of reddish-pinky-purple that Radiant Orchid seems to be, and I just didn’t have any ideas. But then I read a blog post at Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘N Thread that introduced me to the hand over-dyed threads produced by Colour Complements. Mary was running a giveaway for threads from their Etsy shop and I got sucked into thread heaven, a place filled with pretty, pretty cotton and rayon, and I forgot the giveaway entirely: I just had to buy some thread immediately.

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge...

I paired up my sampler pack of threads (three sizes of perle cotton, a rayon chainette, and another very fine rayon thread) with three shades of Kaffee Fassett shot-cotton – Grape, Granite, and Lilac. I choose very quiet fabrics because I wanted to try out something called Kantha quilting and I wanted the stitching to pop, rather than blend into a busy print background. Kantha is a type of embroidery used in parts of India and Bangladesh to give new life to old saris – women would stack up several layers of old, worn saris and stitch them together using a running stitch which could be done in long straight lines or could used to create patterns or pictures. Most of the newer kantha quilts I’ve seen are done exclusively with the running stitches running across the quilts with little extra decoration, but if you do a Google image search or even go to Wikipedia, you can see pictures of some of the more decorative patterns that can be made with Kantha quilting.

Radiant Orchid mini-quilt

I did a little bit of both types, I suppose, since I did largely just straight lines, but also interrupted myself to include a very literal interpretation of the Radiant Orchid challenge. (So literal that I also brought an orchid home so that I could do a triple orchid take – plant, representation of the plant, colour named after the plant.) Because I was working with a sampler pack of threads, I had a little of a lot of varieties of thread, but not a lot of any of them, so I did five repeating rows of (six) different threads, which I also hoped would give it a nice texture and maybe kind of draw the eye around with the different shades of purple and pink (and little splashes of gold) .

Straight Stitching

I stitched the whole thing without a hoop or pins or anything – it was small enough it didn’t feel like it needed much support to keep it together, though I did start with the rayon thread and stitch it every 1-inch or so to help stabilize it enough that I really really didn’t have to worry. I was surprised by how much (overall) I enjoyed the process of stitching – it felt like it should have been tedious, but I didn’t get tired of it until I was near the end and using the worst of the threads – a 100% polyester (which feels scratchy and horrible) and the very thick perle cottons, which my needle was resistant to threading and which then didn’t want to take more than a single stitch at a time. The sparkle chainette (the one with gold flecks) was also a bit difficult because it was incredibly stretchy: I started with a piece of thread the width of the cloth and somehow managed to stitch TWO full lines without starting another length of the stuff.

Orchids

I free-hand stitched the orchids following a tutorial from Drago Art. For the flowers, I used another variegated perle cotton, this one in a blue-green-purple blend, but I found it sunk back into the background too much, so I outlined a lot of it with a very pale lavender DMC floss. Unlike the rest of the stitches in the piece, that back stitch does NOT travel to the back of the quilt – it’s all on the surface. A third thread was used to stitch the stem – it’s maybe a little too bright, but I like it anyway, so we’ll pretend I didn’t say that.

006

Anyway, this project absorbed a lot of my time throughout the first couple weeks in March, so much so that I feel like I should be sick of it now, but I’m pretty proud of how it all came out. It kind of dresses up that weird little nook in the strairwell/kitchen along with that print of one of Rodin’s Cambodian dancers and the actual orchids. My sister will likely hate the purple, so it won’t last there too long, I don’t imagine, but eventually it’ll go dress up my Mum’s house for spring.

This was finished on 17 March 2014 and stitched entirely by hand, by me. The binding was sewn to the front and hand-stitched to the back. The fabrics are all Kaffee Fassett shot cottons: the binding is “Grape,” the front is “Granite” and the back is “Lilac.” The threads are all from Colour Complements, except for one shiny purple one (directly above the gold flecked rayon) and the orchid outline, which are both DMC, though one is cotton and the other a horrible, scratchy Polyester. (Seriously, I don’t recommend it.) The quilt measures 15.5″ x 19″ and it is nameless, as are most of my quilts.

This was also my Lovely Year of Finishes Goal for March (goal post here), so success on all fronts!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge My Button


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Ellie-cases and Valentines in December

I’m in Saskatchewan now for a week or so, but before I left, I had a mad rush to get a few things done for Christmas gifts. I’d promised to bring one of my friends some shortbread cookies on the Saturday before I left, but I forgot to buy butter, which kind of put paid to that idea, so instead I decided to make her some pillowcases using fabric I’d bought months ago with her in mind. She’s a huge fan of elephant everything, but only if the trunks are pointing up (because it’s supposed to hold in the luck?), so when I stumbled over this Madhuri line of fabric, I’d had to pick some up for her.

Ellie Cases

I made two pillowcases for her, and kind of did it in a fabric wasteful way – I wanted the elephants to be running left/right rather than up/down, so I cut the forty-four inches down the length of the fabric and then trimmed the 26″ from the width of the fabric – so many prints run in the wrong direction for the hot dog pillowcase method and that’s the only way around it, other than just living with it. Normally I am okay with that, but I guess the luck would run out if they’re sideways? I don’t know – this friend has a thing about the trunks so I indulged it!

Elephant Pillowcases

Fortunately, these are pretty quick and easy to put together, even with the additional odd cutting. Not too much time or effort required to make them, and they look pretty great. She was also pretty happy with them, though I’m sure her husband wants to kill me. (Poor guy – I wrote him an apology on the gift tag.)

The other thing I needed to get put together was a wall-hanging for my Mom for a Christmas gift. Last year my sister and I made a Christmas wall-hanging for her and we also gave her a vaguely Halloween-ish quilted owl wall-hanging and for her birthday I gave her a more generic spring/summer wall-hanging, all for a quilt rack we also gave her for Christmas last year. So we’re trying to give her an option for every holiday, but we’re spreading it out a bit, rather than giving her a pile of them all at once. This is a Christmas gift idea that can go on for a few years!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

We needed something pretty quick this year because my sister was in India for a good chunk of the fall (for work) and then everything after that just seemed to come too quickly and we kept putting it off and putting it off. Suddenly it was 5 days till I was leaving and my sister was so slammed at work that her job gave her carte blanche to work as much overtime (from home) as she can in order to get it done.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

The only craft she really does (besides a tiny bit of scrap-booking) is cross-stitch, so we chose a really simple pattern from a book called Stitch Graffitti (the Christmas wall-hanging came from the same book) and she did a row here and a row there while waiting for her work program to load or run updates and so on. She got it done on the Thursday before I left, so Friday I pieced the stripes around it to bring it up to size (it’s about 15.5″ x 18″ I think – I don’t have it here to measure!).

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I did matchstick quilting, which was unbelievably time-consuming, but which I think looks pretty great. The worst part was hiding all the gazillion threads on either side of the cross-stitch section – so very many starts and stops!

I was vaguely concerned the stripes of colour really didn’t work together that well, so I thought maybe quilting closely with the same thread over the whole thing would kind of help tie it all together a bit, as if it were one weirdly striped print, rather than all the random long strips of scrap solid fabric I had in a colour range between pink and burgundy, with a little purple and pale blue throw in for good measure. I was going to quilt it with a grey thread all over, but discovered a variegated thread in my stash that ranged from the palest pink to a deep burgundy – the perfect choice!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I bound it mostly with a grey dot, but also used a little of a pink flower dot that I’ve had in my stash for ages and ages. I intentionally avoided prints in the main part of the quilt – I thought it would be too distracting, and I wanted as much of the focus as possible to be on the cross-stitched area – so I thought the binding would be a nice place to add in a little printed texture. I had the whole thing quilted by Sunday, but then it was getting the binding done. It’s small enough not to take an enormous amount of time, but I didn’t want to have to bring it back to Saskatchewan with me – too easy for my mom to find it in my things. Monday night I stayed up stupid late to get it finished, since I was flying out Tuesday morning. I took my photos sometime after midnight, under the light of my harsh overhead CFL light – I’m surprised these photos came out as well as they did.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

Except for this one. Washi tape sucks!

Do you follow me? Via feedly or email or bloglovin’ or just popping by every now and again to see what’s new? Leave a comment below – anything you like, you can tell me know you follow me or how you found me or whatever – and I’ll pop you in a special post-Sew Mama Sew giveaway draw for two mini charm packs of V and Co’s Color Me Happy line.

Color Me Happy Mini-charms

I picked these up especially for this giveaway when I was at Periwinkle Quilting when I was in Saskatoon on Tuesday. I wanted to do something special for those of you who’ve been around a while (even if it’s a very short while!) but without pressuring the entire Sew Mama Sew commentariat into following me just to get included. I’d always rather people follow because they want to, not because they think it’ll give them a better chance at winning a draw. I’ll draw names whenever I wake up on December 28, so try to enter by December 27, I suppose. It’ll probably fall to Random.org to draw the name. But maybe I’ll write them out on slips of paper and pull it out of a bucket. We’ll see.


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Sunshine & Cats

A little while back I got a mini-charm pack of Kate Spain’s Sunnyside collection – I didn’t pick it out or even have a plan for it because it was a gift included with a purchase over $50 from an Etsy shop – but I found a pattern at Sew Me Something Good for a Christmas pillow, Joy that I thought I could turn into something more sunny.

We’ve just had a blizzard that dumped piles and piles and piles of snow on us, so it’s particularly good timing – I could use the reminder of summer and sunlight and bright things.

Sunshine pillow

This is a general idea of where the thing is going. It’s a bit more put together than this now, but it’s far too dark for photos – even these ones are pretty flooded by the light I use to light my table for sewing.

Sunshine

I swapped out JOY for a quote from the song “My Girl” but I got a bit lazy and didn’t want to do the bottom layer of the appliqué (in the original pillow, you sort of have a drop shadow behind the word) so I just hoped that the bronze thread and the bright orange would provide enough contrast. I think it works okay, but the gold I used for the stitching is… not ideal. A little too similar to the background, alas. Ah well, it gets the gist across anyway!

Cat-vent Quilt-along

I’ve also been cat-venting along with Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson!. This project is so very, very much not like me and I don’t know at all what inspired me to sew along with it, but four days in and I’ve sewn a four different cat faces.

Cat-vent Quilt-along

I think I started it in part because I happened to have a partially used jelly roll of Kona cottons sitting on the floor in my bedroom and I was reading the original post about the Cat face quilt and it was done in a rainbow of colours and I just kind of went… I could do that. And so I am. I’m trying to use scraps only for the prints, which means I’m probably not always going to have the best colour-matches in my blocks – the solid above wasn’t a great match for any fabrics I had and the solid orange really only closely matched the Natural Elements print, but I think as long as it’s within approximate range it’ll be okay. I don’t have a plan for this once it’s finished, but it may either be donated for a Linus group or it may get saved in my closet for a future baby gift. I thought all my friends were mostly done having babies, but it turns out I’ve been wrong about that, so no harm in having some spare gifts around!

I’m still working on the hexagon quilt, but I haven’t touched it in the last couple days. Tomorrow I’m hoping to get all the hexagons done for the last two blocks, even if I don’t get them sewn down just yet. My freezer paper hexagons have mostly lost their stick (I’ve used them five or six times already) and I’ve been torn over whether to print more or if I should just keep trying to get by with the ones I have. I’d like to just get by, but the last set of hexies gave me a little trouble because it kept peeling up on me at inconvenient moments. We’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow, I guess!

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

By the way: check in Monday December 9th for a couple of giveaway that’ll be linked up with Sew Mama Sew‘s annual December giveaway. I’ll be giving away children’s fabric, so if that’s something you’re interested in, definitely come by to get your name in the hat!

giveaway_2013_Dec9


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Modern Scrappy Bits Swap Received!

I’ve talked about the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap quite a few times now – probably 4 times for things sent away and this will be the fourth time for things received. But for anyone who doesn’t know and wants to or should know… it’s a swap run on Flickr right here, where we get the name/address and some information about our recipient and then we make something small for that person (out of scraps!), send them some kind of notion or other, a postcard from wherever we’re from, and a fat quarter’s worth of scraps. The whole thing has been a lot of fun and I think I’ve gotten better at figuring out what to make for people (my first two were… meh, my last two I’ve been pretty happy about). Anyway, last week I got my package in the mail, which came over from Balu51 who lives in Switzerland.

MSBSwap Received

She sent me a really fantastic collection of scraps in yellows, oranges, reds, low volume, text prints… all sorts of good things. Up top in the picture is a stack of blue strips that she sent for doing a string quilt, since someday I would like to do a string quilt with my scraps. (I always say that, I never get around to it… One day!) I was talking to Balu51 via FlickrMail and she sent me a link to a really neat idea for doing a string quilt, a Stripey Lonestar Quilt block. (I find that website kind of hit and miss as to whether or not it will work – hopefully it’ll load for you if you’re curious! If you Google the name, the picture of it will come up in any case.) So now I’ve got THAT idea in my head instead of the standard style that looks like boxes on point.

She also sent me two skeins of what I think is perle cotton (the label is in German! but I recall that ‘baumwolle’ means cotton so at a minimum, it’s a cotton thread) in very lovely Griffindor colours (though I don’t suppose that was her intent! I just have Harry Potter on the brain for some reason right now).

MSBSwap Received

Also, Balu51 made me this pretty mug rug, which is now hanging in my sewing room. I can’t remember what I’d said in my sign-up form, but it was probably something wishy-washy about kind of liking everything and being happy with whatever got made for me because I’m always so happy to get mail and especially hand-made mail. Which is always true, but also probably the most ANNOYING thing to read when you’re trying to figure out what to make for someone you don’t really know 😀 Anyway, this mug rug is beautiful. The blues sort of match my bedroom walls and I find it sort of soothing and lovely to look at. I love the hexagons and the fabrics and the satin ribbon binding (which looks amazing!). I had admired this mug rug when the photos appeared in the Flickr group, and I’m lucky to have it come home with me. This is my first bit of art that I’ve hung up in my sewing room (which has my brother-in-law’s hockey related artwork and memorabilia on the walls – it’s actually his office, I just wanted more space, so I pay a little more rent so that I could have it and his desk has been stuffed into their over-crowded bedroom) and it’s great to have something so nice to hang up in there.

I keep thinking I should sit out a round and get to work on some of MY projects instead of always finishing the things that will be sent away, but I LOVE participating in this swap. There’s always something beautiful to look at and long for in the photostream.


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Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug
(Artwork by Liese Chavez.)

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

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

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

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

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

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

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

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

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

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

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

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


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RIP My Favourite Needle

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

Molly Mutante, finished last year in July… The Running Stitch on a Pouch… My Crewel Embroidery Needlebook… My Unfinished ABC Sampler… Every one of my Doctor Who patterns…
Molly Mutante (close) Scrappy Bits pouch #2 (mosaic) Needle-book with Crewel Embroidery Flower Daisychain ABC Sampler in progress

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

Bent Needle

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

Hand Quilting

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

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

Butto

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


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I finished a thing!

I finished a thing this weekend, despite spending so much time working when I should have been sleeping and sleeping when I should have been sewing. (I have to work two weekends in a row this month! Not fun! I normally get alternating weekends off.)

I’m still not showing what that thing is, but a photo anyway:

Binding done

It pretty much looks like the last time I showed it, but, you know… it’s done this time!

It’s funny and annoying how often I change my mind when I’m working on things. Originally that pink mini with red binding was going to have binding that matched the pink fabric – I mean, it was the same fabric – but then I hated it when I looked at it from the front side, so I picked it all off and decided to go with a nice red dot, because that nice red dot fabric matched the front really well. And all was fine in the world, until I flipped the fabric over to the back to stitch it down and realized I hated the red dot against the pink back just as much as I’d hated that pink against the red on the front. Ugh. Well, I wasn’t picking it off again, so there it is. I don’t know what I’d have done instead, anyway. It’s not easy to find that sweet spot of mixing pink and red. They’re so close to one another, but they can look awfully awful together.

I wish I had more to show this week: I have two quilt blocks I desperately need to get finished and in the mail soon, but I haven’t got very far with either of them. One is for my Livejournal birthday blocks group – it’s a Card Trick block, in forest greens on cream, and I neither want to make that particular block nor want to make it with that mix of colours. I mean, that’s the way things fall sometimes when you’re working on stuff for other people, but all those half-square triangles are making me cringe in advance (generally I do them well, but I don’t very often WANT to). I really just need to sit down and bang it out, though. The other block is for Deanna at Little D and Me and is also a whole mess of triangles, though very very very different from the triangles in the Card Trick block! (If you go to her blog and scroll down to her April 24th post, you’ll see!) I’m both excited and scared to work on it, but I feel like I need some time to devote to it before I want to start working on it.

I should have had time today – I work six days this week, so I skipped out early from work today (since I could), and was home two hours earlier than usual. But my brother-in-law was home and playing obnoxiously loud music. I am the biggest baby going when it comes to loud music, so I decided I could either go to the library with my laptop and catch up on blogs or sit in the sun in the backyard and catch up on blogs. I went with the sun, and I sat there for two hours, and sunburned my arms. Nice! (Yeah, nice. Nice and painful, that is.)

After that I thought I’d better walk to the library and pick up some stuff that was being held for me and I picked up a couple of craft books while I was there – Sweet and Simple Patchwork Gifts by Hisako Arai and Yoko Sanjo, Jelly Roll Dreams by Pam and Nicky Lintott, and Embroidery for Little Miss Crafty by Helen Dardik.

On the way home, I went down by a pond in my neighbourhood and tried to take pictures of ducks:

Duck, duck, duck...

They swim away too fast!

Anyway, tomorrow I’m getting my hair cut and coloured, so I probably won’t have time to sew then either! Thursday, I guess! Hopefully I’ll have something worth showing then. In any case, more Doctor Who Stitch-A-Long tomorrow!


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Giveaways, Bindings, and the Doctor… Doctor Who?

I’m feeling thwarted by Life, the Universe, and Everything right now. Or, anyway, an unbelievable exhaustion that had me coming home from work early on Monday so that I could sleep (seriously, who leaves work because they’re too tired? Who doesn’t drive heavy machinery, anyway…?). So. Tired.

But whatevs, today I’m going finally to:

1. Announce my Giveaway Winners
2. Talk Just a Tiny Bit More about Binding
3. Snicker about still not showing you the stuff I’ve been working on.

Actually, scratch that last one. Tomorrow I’m going to reveal the first bit of what I’ve been working on lately, so no point in gloating any more: the Doctor Who Stitch-a-Long is nearly here! (It’s a guaranteed post from me every Wednesday for the next 12 weeks! I’m not usually so predictable in my posting!)

DW-SAL-Badge

I hope any of you Whovian Stitchers out there will join us! There will be monthly prizes throughout the course of the Stitch-a-long and a bigger prize at the end to be won by someone who completes all of the patterns.

So right, back to Number 1. Normally when I do a giveaway, I handwrite all the entrants names on squares of paper and put them all in a bucket and draw the winners name that way, but I had 250 people enter my giveaway! That’s a lot of names + locations + prize preferences (+ indentifying info, in the case of multiple Sarahs, Katys, and Patty/Pattis…). So this time I put all the information into Excel, printed out all the names + info, cut them up into thin strips, and drew names that way.

005

In this photo, the names in the basket are the Canadian/Intl. people, and the ones laying on the table are the Americans. The basket was too small, so I had to find an empty ice cream pail to draw the names, but that was less pretty, so I didn’t take a photo of that…

My first winner, to an International or Canadian entrant, was Kay:

giveaway-kay

It’s no surprise that she choose the fabric, since that was far (far far) and away the more popular of my two giveaway items! Sew, Mama, Sew is definitely a fabric lover’s paradise, more so than an embroidery lover’s one, anyway! I was a little afraid that my second winner wouldn’t be interested in the crewel kit at all, but luckily she was okay with that.

My second winner, drawn from all my entrants, was Patti:

giveaway-patti

I didn’t get to the post office on Monday (see: opening paragraph, also: life, the universe, and everything) and then forgot to take the packages with me to work today, but they’ll be off in the mail tomorrow to these lovely ladies.

Because I’m a bit of a nerd, I kept track of a few different things, and here are some interesting (to me) details about the people who entered this giveaway:

There were 330 total who entered, but only 250 left me their location. Of those 250 people, their countries of residence break down like this (barring me accidentally deleting info from my spreadsheet after I printed everything, once I started trying to consolidate data – I had some people down by State or Province, but others by US or Canada, and I’m pretty sure I messed some things up when I was trying to standardize what I’d typed in):
Australia – 19
Canada – 30
England – 3
Germany – 4
UK – 15
USA – 158

And with two entrants only: Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and Spain. And with one entrant only: Brazil, Finland, France, Indonesia, Israel, New Caledonia, North Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland. It’s no surprise that an American won the second prize, since more than 60% of the people who entered were American.

Also of note to me where the books people mentioned as being favourites. Fifteen people mentioned author names only, which I won’t reproduce here, but the most popular mentions were Angela Walters and Elizabeth Hartman. (These were people whose names were mentioned unaccompanied by a title.) There were also 88 books mentioned. I won’t list all of those, but these were the ones that had more than one mention:

Sunday Morning Quilts – 12 mentions
Doodle Stitching – 10 (inc. one for The Motif Collection, which is the second book in the series)
Patchwork, Please – 6
Material Obsession – 5
Modern Patchwork (Elizabeth Hartman) – 4
Modern Quilting (Gering & Pederson) – 4
One Yard Wonders – 4
Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters – 3
Improv Sewing – 3
Little Stitches (Aneela Hoey) – 3
Quilts from the House of Tula Pink – 3
Assorted Schnibbles books – 3
Scrap Basket Surprise – 3
Zakka Style – 3
Amy Butler’s Bag Book (sorry, I don’t know the title) – 2
Angela Walter’s FMQ book (see above) – 2
Farmer’s Wife Sampler – 2
Martha Stewart’s Fabric Crafts – 2
Practical Guide to Patchwork (Hartman) – 2
Pretty in Patchwork Holidays – 2

I was a little surprised by some of these – I thought Elizabeth Hartman would have more total mentions, for example, as I know her blog is enormously popular.

Okay. Jibber jabber.

Item the second. Did I say a few days ago that I was going to have some binding done by Monday?

Bound, Binding, Unbound

Yeah, okay. Maybe by the weekend. I called this photo Bound, Binding, Unbound because that’s pretty much where they’re at. Green is done, orange is 80% done, and the red… well, it’s sewn onto the front, at least! It seems to be taking me much, much longer than binding regular quilts. I’m finding it a bit awkward trying to deal with such a small piece, it’s somehow harder to get a good grip on it or something.

Anyway, that’s it and that’s all. Tomorrow, the Doctor.


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Beauty is You wall-hanging (#1)

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

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

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

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

Cori Dantini x 2

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

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

Beauty is You wall-hanging

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

Beauty is You wall-hanging

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

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

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