Work-in-Progress Girl


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WiP Wednesday and a Giveaway Winner

So first up, the winner of my little giveaway, via Mr Random:

random

cathy

Incidentally, Cathy ALSO owns a pair of completely adorable Liberty shoes, though not the same ones as mine! In any case, I haven’t emailed her yet, but Cathy is my winner! I still haven’t decided what I’m going to make for her, but… it’ll be something. And maybe some fabric or something along those lines, because Cathy I know DOES sew. (In fact, I have a sweet little needle book from her from a Modern Scrappy Bits Swap last year!)

Moving on the WIP portion of the post, I’ve got myself into the middle of two different projects and I should really just settle down and finish one of them instead of bouncing back and forth like a demented pinball, but… yeah. Sometimes that works for me?

Beginnings

I’m still working on the pouch for my Simple & Sweet Scrappy Swap on flickr. For this first round, we’re swapping a handmade pouch and fifty charm squares. (I tried to argue, briefly, for 42 as it’s the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything. But… fifty is sort of a rounder number, I guess. :D) There isn’t much of the pouch to be seen in this photo, although layered in that photo somewhere are both sides of the pouch. The rest of it is the first 30 charms. I had a really hard time figuring out how to decide what sort of fabrics to pull for the charms, but fortunately my partner has a very extensive likes/dislikes list, so I figured out ten things she’s into and am doing five of each of them. (I’m also aiming, in a way, to mix and match a bit to get in more than 5 of various things she likes… if I have 5 plaids, that’s great, but there might be a plaid in the pile of browns as well, and then if I can, I’ll fit a brown zigzag into that set of charms as well.)(Just for the record: plaids, zigzags, and browns are not on her list of likes or dislikes.) I’m hoping to get the pouch finished up tomorrow, and the charms finished up the day after that, so that I can drop it all in the mail on Saturday.

So my other project is the Star Surround project. I’m only done about half of this week’s homework:

Star Surround

There are sort of two components this week, the surrounds and the corners of each block. In the photo above, you can see all the parts of the surrounds sewn into two strips, which will eventually be joined. I chain pieced everything and haven’t cut them apart yet. They’ll need to be pressed and then pieced together.

Star Surround

And this long garland of chain stitched pieces will be the corners of each of the blocks. They likewise need to be trimmed apart, pressed, and then sewn together. That I’d like to be done by Sunday. And then… I’m on vacation for a week! I’ve not got too many sewing plans, but I’ve got a few things I’d like to finish up. It’s going to involve freezer paper, which I’ve never used before, so that’s a bit exciting/scary. And possibly embroidery. And also hexagons. But we’ll see.

And finally, I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s work in progress Wednesday and I’m a little torn on what to post about because the thing I’m actually working on is something I don’t really want to talk about! It’s a project for a swap and if the recipient sees it she’s going to look at it and know immediately that it’s for her. But I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog, so I’ll just lock the photo on Flickr (where she might see it) and post it here:

Untitled

What is it, I wonder? Well, not much to see there, but I like it that way. For now anyway!

I’m also thinking about working on my Star Surround quilt, but no photos because I haven’t gotten past the thinking stage yet. (Haha. That’s how I am with everything. My work has decided not to give me the boost in pay that my new job requirements entitle me too, which means I SHOULD be emailing the guy at the union so that he can have that fight with them – which I anticipate losing, but feel the need to fight anyway before stepping down and thinkingreallyhardabouttellingthemwheretoshoveit going back to doing my old job because hell no they don’t get my work for free – but I don’t like making phone calls so I’ve been sitting on the info for a week now and just thinking about calling the union guy.)

Instead, let me tell you about the work-in-progress that is 1. the spending of all the money ever and 2. the acquiring of increasing amounts of stash. And stuff. We can’t forget the stuff, no. Stuff like these shoes, made with Liberty of London fabric:

Liberty Shoes

Cutest shoes ever. Am I wrong? Because I don’t think I’m wrong. As a general rule I don’t like Liberty fabric all that much – it might be the bomb to work with and feel better than any substance known to mankind, but I find so many of their fabrics to be stuffy little florals that just don’t appeal to me. But this stuffy little floral is so sweet it could rot my teeth. Also, they were 70% off at The Bay and for $23, I didn’t have to work hard to talk myself into buying them. (I didn’t have to work too hard to talk myself into buying Lush’s Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub or their Sweetie Pie shower jelly or a Stila eyebrow pencil either, yesterday. It was a spendy day. I got my hair cut and coloured too.)

It’s a good thing I didn’t get over to the Japanese store full of weird and wonderful things like paper balloons and washi tape because a couple weeks ago I found a couple great Canadian online sources for washi tape, Omiyage, which has gotten even more and an even awesomer variety since I bought the tape below, and GreenMunch, which I haven’t bought from yet, but which has some of the coolest eco friendly things I’ve seen in ages alongside a fairly impressive collection of washi tape and bakers twine.

Washi Tape and thread

The thread didn’t come from Omiyage, but from Hawthorne Threads. It’s more drinking-the-koolaid: Aurafil thread. I still haven’t tried either of the spools of it that I’ve got, but I bought this one for quilting a project that I haven’t started yet. (A quilt for my mom, using honeycombs of Happy Go Lucky fabric.) I didn’t order the thread on it’s own. No. No… I bought another pile of fabric to try to put together that baby quilt for an old friend that I talked about in the early days of this bout of stress shopping. On the last go around, I started with 12 fabrics plus a backing material and then only liked 4 of them enough to put them to use in the quilt top. And I’d said I was going to try “shopping my stash” to fill out the rest of the quilt, but I didn’t do that even a little bit. Nope. These were the 12 fabrics, of which only the four in the centre row were going to get used (and four of which have since been re-purposed into the aforementioned Star Surround quilt):

009

And these are the new purchases, of which… some, but not all, will get used:

Fabric Stash

The obvious outs are:
– the white with green loops, Bekko by Trenna Travis for Michael Miller, which feels more like home decor weight (and is 50+ inches wide, so probably is) (and I have no idea what I’ll do with a half yard of home decor fabric in those colours, it doesn’t match anything in my house!)
– the blue and white cross-hatch fabric, from Mini Mikes for Michael Miller, which is just the wrong sort of blue, somehow
– the aqua text print, from Remember by Carina Gardner for Riley Blake, which is also the wrong sort of blue
– the blue running stitch print, from Michael Miller (I forget which line), which is also (say it with me) the wrong sort of blue

I’m left with this batch of fabrics (including the original four):

Fabric Stash

…which does come out to 12 fabrics and which, despite it’s range of blues and reds (the rope letters one is a very orange red compared to the more blue reds in the rest), somehow feels a little more cohesive to me. I may yet dig through my stash for a third green and another orange to tie those colours in a little better or maybe I’ll throw in a scrap or two here and there of fabrics that play with two or more of these colours, so that it’ll all feel a bit more like it fits, but overall, I think it’ll work (with all the extra white fabric that I’m planning to introduce). Now I just have to get it started!

[The unnamed fabrics, for the curious, in that last circle photo are, from the centre, then up and around clockwise from the green/navy circular print: Spot On in Red, wide width for Robert Kaufman; Tile in Navy from Technicolor by Emily Herrick, Michael Miller; Stamen Stripe in Navy from Pure, Stof; Half Moon Stripe in White and Navy from Uno, Stof; Medium (?) Chevron Tone on Tone in Navy, Riley Blake; Small Dots in Navy, Riley Blake; Medium (?) Chevron in Boy, Riley Blake; Bubbles in Orange from Full Moon Lagoon by Mo Bedell, Andover; Small Dots in Red on White, Riley Blake; Sailors ABC in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane, Michael Miller; Pirate Stripe in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane, Michael Miller; Side Step in Green from Ikebana, Dear Stella.]

Does that seem like 1. Spending all the money ever and 2. acquiring increasing amounts of stash? Well, the second, certainly, but the money situation hasn’t shown itself to be too out of hand yet… but that’s only because that’s not the end of it all!

This also came from Hawthorne Threads and Bobbie Lou Fabrics, an Etsy shop that happened to have the elephant print in blue:

Fabric Stash

I stumbled over the elephant fabric on someone’s blog a couple weeks ago when I was checking out various Work-in-progress Wednesday posts. I am not a particular fan of elephants, I mean.. I’m all for elephants being in the world, but they affect me not at all. (Except that I really, really loved this elephant statue at the Calgary Zoo and I wonder how it fared in the flood in June.) But I have a friend who has an elephant obsession. She’s one of those people who owns jewellery and figurines and cookie jars and napkins and table trays and every other thing with an elephant on it. She loves them ridiculously, but only if their trunk is facing up. So I stumbled across that fabric and thought, Mandy will love that, I should make her some pillowcases.

All of the prints are from the Madhuri line by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake. The two solids are Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture, in two colours who’s names I’ve forgotten. (Aqua and…?) I don’t know why I had to get SO MUCH of that fabric, I only needed two yards (one each of two prints) and a bit of something else to make two pillowcases, but instead I have two yards each of the elephants and one yard each of the prints and a half yard of the solids. Whatever thought was rolling through my brain at the time, I really can’t say. (And you’ll note I still haven’t made the pillowcases. So. Go me all around.)

That still still wasn’t the end because one thing I actually needed was enough fabric to make the binding on a quilt I’m working on, so I bought that from Mad About Patchwork, and since I was already there, I added a little more fabric to make it worth the shipping price. (That’s an old, old trick of mine. “I should just add a bit more to make the shipping cheaper per yard of fabric.”)

Stash

I forget what colour it is, but that beautiful red Kona Cotton is going to be a binding (maybe a boring binding, but it’s going to look stunning). The stripe is Kortek from Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter and the yellow is Dandelion from the same line. I saw a guy walking up the street wearing a windbreaker that inspired a mini quilt I intend to make with these two fabrics. (I have it drawn out an everything. Just need to get around to it…) (His windbreaker was not yellow, but black and white. Yellow felt more interesting.) And the final print is that lovely Pebbled Path from Indian Summer by Sarah Watson. That one was just because I like it and because it feels like it’d work for a low volume quilt.

Anyway, 1600 words later, I should really wrap this up. (I talk too much. Mostly its because I don’t have people in my day to day life to talk to about fabric and quilting and to spend time with on these hobbies, so I spew it all out here, where even if people are skimming they’ll still get it in a way the people I know don’t.)

Also, if you’ve made it this far, you should know that yesterday’s post about the Flags for Lac Megantic was my 150th post here at WIPGirl and as such, I’m going to run a give away. If you’d like to be entered, just leave a comment. Maybe you can tell me about something you’ve stashed recently – yarn or fabric or thread for some future project – or… whatever really. Just a comment of some sort. You don’t have to be a follower or anything, if you’ve popped by from one of the Work in Progress link-ups, you can feel free to enter as well. You’ll have to put in your email address to comment, so I’ll be able to contact the winner that way. The giveaway will likely be for something I’ve made, but to be honest… I haven’t really decided yet. (Let me know if you don’t fabric craft – if the winner doesn’t, I’ll make sure not to send fabric :D) Edited to say: I’ll draw a name next Wednesday, so you’ve got a week to get entered, if you’d like to be.

And finally, I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


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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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Stuff and Things

Earlier this week, every time I thought about writing up a post about what I got done over the weekend, I’d start thinking instead about how I needed to be stitching up my Tardis block and so I’d wind up not writing that post. But here’s more or less what I finished up this weekend:

1. Sewed, pressed, and trimmed all the half square triangles and flying geese units in my Star Surround quilt top.

Star Surround Flying Geese

I still can’t pretend to love these fabrics, but I do like them a lot better here than I did in that collection I was trying to create for a baby quilt. Maybe by the time this is all sewn, I’ll like it so well, I’ll just give this baby quilt to my friend rather than doing the double hour-glass thing I’ve been planning.

2. Sewed up a sample pouch for the Simple and Sweet Swap (wherein we will swap a pouch and 50 charm squares with someone)

Don't be scared off, Simple & Sweet Swap Partner...

I hadn’t made one of these in a while, so I picked a few fabrics up off my pile of solid fabrics and thought “The more garish, the better” apparently, and then added some matching scraps of an Amy Butler print. This has a kind of early 90s vibe (for me, but most trends hit my hometown late). I just wanted the practise, so it didn’t really matter what I used. Style-wise I think the pouch is pretty great. Colourwise… it’s certainly interesting. I may give it away someday, but I’m not really sure who would want it. (I had someone in mind, but seeing it finished in all it’s technicolour glory, I’ve kind of lost the desire to send it to her.) There are a couple small flaws (my ruler slipped when I was trimming one half of it, so you’ll notice the colour lines don’t meet up on the side seams – I lost close to a quarter inch on that one side) and I flubbed something to do with the zipper that I can’t really explain but which means it’s a bit lumpy near the opening of the zipper. (I pressed the fabric to one side, but should have opened the seam.) Anyway, now I know what to avoid, so I can make a proper pouch for my recipient. (But I won’t show it until after she receives it because it’ll be obvious to her that it’s for her if she sees what I’m planning to make.)

3. Stitched up a Hufflepuffian quilt block.

Black and Yellow Quilt Block

There was yellow and black fabric on the futon in my sewing room, so… I made something with it. The colour is a little off in this photo – the wall is beige not grey – but it’s surprisingly close to the real deal. The yellowest yellow you’ve ever seen.

I feel like there should be more – I wanted to do another churn dash block and I wanted to get a couple flags done for Lac Megantic – but I went on a cleaning spree in my bedroom and got rid of a bunch of stuff that needed to be recycled or donated and I straightened up the fabric shelves in my sewing room. Surprisingly, both those things took quite a long time.

Stash

I went through most of the fabric that was new or hadn’t gone back onto the shelves after being put to use (or after testing and rejecting it for some project or other) and got it refolded and stuffed back on the shelves. I haven’t come up with a storage solution for my solids (not visible in this photo) yet or my voiles, flannels, children’s fabrics, home decor fabrics, linens or linen blends. Or the few pre-cuts I’ve got. (There aren’t many, two or three jelly rolls besides what’s stuffed into one of the shelves on the right.) Oh, or the “quilt in a bag” kits that I’ve got – the bag in the bottom right hand cube is actually a quilt top in a bag (along with the pattern), but there are two or three others I’ve never gotten around to making…

And then finally, the other thing I did was sort out the unruly, unholy mess that was my “Quilting” bookmark folder in my browser. I went through and sorted everything by type of link and deleted any dead links and links to things I don’t think I’ll use (or know I won’t).

Quilting Bookmarks Folder

You can’t, of course, see into any of the folders, here, but all of it was in one very, very, very long folder, mixed in with a bunch of embroidery related links (I still need to sort those ones out, but there aren’t nearly so many). So much neater and more usable now! The ones at the bottom that aren’t in a folder are for projects currently in progress and though there is a folder for that, these are ones I want dealt with now, not just soon. (The Leibster link… I’ve been nominated 3 or 4 times, but keep not following through. I’m really undecided on the whole concept because I’ve never liked anything that involves chain letter style attempts to make people “pass it on.” And it’s a nice thing to have someone choose you, but I don’t know what point it serves? I don’t know. Still churning that one over.)

Anyway, I guess it was my weekend to organize as much as anything else! But now… I should go sew.


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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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Weekend Works

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

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

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

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

1. Stitchy stitch?

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

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

3. Churn Dashes

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

4. Mug Rug

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

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

I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


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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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A day late and a Doctor short…

Well, I’m officially behind on the Doctor Who Stitch-A-Long. I tried! But last week was a bit of a bad week at the WIPGirl House and then it was immediately followed up by house guests for four days, while I was working every day, on the hottest days of the year (so far, and Universe? Please don’t get hotter). Nothing like a too hot house, featuring 46% humidity indoors, with an extra three bodies in it, right? Ever since the flood, it’s been really humid here and, as it’s usually fairly dry, the heat feels much worse than we’re used to having it feel. Anyway, I finally broke down and bought a window AC unit because I barely slept all weekend. (ACs make me feel weirdly guilty because they do nothing good for the environment and I live in a part of the world where you only really need it for a week or two a year, but once you’ve got one and once it’s blocking a window, you’re pretty much guaranteed to start using it on all those days you might normally have just used an open window with a nice breeze to keep you cool. By and large I feel like I should be able to get by without it because what’s a week or two of being a little hotter than you’d like? Anyway, please realize this isn’t a judgement on people who live in places where ACs really are necessary. In a typical July, we’ll get three days that are hotter than 28C. Should I buy an AC or just, you know, hang out at the mall for the afternoon? Because that seems like a valid solution to three days of hotter weather.)

Anyway, here’s a peak at where my Eighth Doctor is at:

Eighth Doc-in-progress

I’ve mainly just got clothing left to stitch – the left side (our left, not his) of his coat, his cravat, and the sleeve on the right. So close! But what’s the saying? Close is only good with horseshoes and hand grenades? Anyway, I’m hoping to get it finished today/tonight at work (if I manage to take any breaks, it’s my first night solo since my dept. head quit and I’m going to be simultaneously doing his job (which is now my job) and training two new people to do what I used to do) so that tomorrow I can do a proper post about it. Or maybe Saturday, we’ll see.

In the meantime, I have two finished things to show you. I’d like to blame the recipients of these blocks for my not getting Eight finished (;D) but you know… I could have sewn them up a couple weeks ago instead of putting them off. First up is my block for Aalia at Joy of Stitches (and one of the DWSAL designers – she designed One, Three, and next week’s Nine) for the Livejournal Birthday Blocks exchange.

Aalia's Hufflepuff Themed Block

Aalia’s request was for a 10″ block in yellow and black, for a Hufflepuff quilt. The photo she linked for colour/inspiration is this Hufflepuff house crest, and that’s where my idea for the block came from. I do have some fabric with tiny fleur de lis on it, but it’s certainly not in black and yellow, so instead I bought a 6″ fleur de lis pattern from Jennifer Ofenstein (from her Craftsy shop), shrunk down the pattern a little so that it could be a 5″ square, and made two for the corners. The striped bit I actually paper-pieced as well, though I just drew out a 5″ square and then drew lines every half inch to make the stripe. As I was making this, I got REALLY tempted to just make a giant yellow and black bull’s eye for a block (I did the striped units first), but I’m really glad I went with the fleur de lis in the end, I think they’re really pretty. (Even IF I did get the bottom unit askew on BOTH quarters.) I mentioned this is a ten inch block, well… true facts: I used a fat quarter of the yellow and ALMOST RAN OUT. I don’t KNOW where all that fabric went to! (It’s probably all trimmings in my garbage bin – I’m not too good with angles and not wasting fabric.)

In any case, the next finished thing was just finished yesterday. It was due last week, but the aforementioned bad week really threw me for a loop. And it was an improv block, and I have a mental block about improv, so I put it off for a long time before starting it. This was my June block for the Flickr Simply Solids group:

Simply Solids June Blck

The idea behind Carly’s block was flowers and stems/twigs tumbling over a waterfall, you can see more on the idea here at her blog. I think it’s going to be an AMAZING looking quilt, even though a lot of us were a little wary of the whole… improv thing. I drew out six sample blocks before I wound up sewing my first stitch, and while I started out following my plan, I accidentally sewed a triangle on backwards and the whole thing went awry! I think it came out okay in the end, which I suppose is the good bit about improv, but it was still a bit nerve-wracking in the moment.

So next up… a paper pieced block for July’s Simply Solids block and… a mug rug for the Flickr Modern Scrappy Bits Swap and more and more stitched Doctors, but otherwise, I’m a free woman. (Well, I’m going to make a pillow case for my little sister and I think I’ve found my next project to work on – finishing up quilt-as-you-go thing I started working on a long while ago. Only four or five of 20 blocks are finished. Lots go to, but they’re pretty easy to do, since I’m just doing straight-line stuff.)


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May Bee/Exchange Blocks

Do you ever lose random craft supplies? Like, say, your good 12.5″ square ruler instead of your crappy one? When you only sew/cut fabric in one room of your house and it’s only like… a 90 square foot room and half of the floor is covered in furniture? Because I did that. My bad 12.5″ square ruler is still hanging around, so I can get some stuff done, but the numbers and lines are all faded and it’s got a slight inward curve on the side I tended to cut on the most, so I have to remember to use the opposite corner. Annoying. I really wish I could figure out what the heck I did with the good one because it’s so much nicer! I really, kind of desperately, need to clean my sewing space because it’s a gong show. But I’m really bad at organizing, somehow, and also it just seems like a boring way to spend my time. On the other hand, knowing where to find my things would probably save me time down the line. Or tomorrow, even.

Anyway, I got a few bee blocks done, one for my Simply Solids group, which is this block here:

Triangle Block

This block is for Deanna (at Little D and Me). She sent out the pre-cut fabric to make this great big triangle block. I was a little bit scared of putting this one together – so many bias edges! – but then it really just came together fairly easily. Deanna wanted it to be as random as possible, with no patterns to the fabric placement, so when the fabric first arrived, I pulled each layer of fabric out of the bag one at a time and laid it out into the triangle shape in the exact order they were in the bag, only making changes if two of the same colour were beside each other. And it seemed pretty good, but then I when I actually stitched it together yesterday and today I somehow kept managing to flip pieces or to sew the next triangle onto the wrong side, so my unplanned plan went at all out of whack, and all the greens wound up down the left side and across the bottom and all the darkest purple and blues down the right hand side. But it’s probably actually more random this way, even though things somehow seemed to clump up? So says I, anyway.

I really like that bright patch of orange in the middle of all that – I’ll be interested to see how it all ends up in the final quilt, once Deanna has all the blocks!

My second block is for the only May birthday girl in my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group. She requested a Card Trick block in forest greens with a trees/leaves theme on off-white or cream:

Card Trick

We have a few really traditional (and very triangle heavy) blocks in this years LJ group, including this Card Trick block. I’d never done a card trick block before, which surprises me a little because I’ve done A LOT of traditional quilt blocks in my ten years of quilting. I wouldn’t say this is one of my particular favourites, as far as traditional goes, nor one of my favourite colour combos. Every now and then I get the urge to cull my fabric stash and these kinds of prints are the things I tend to pull out to give away, because the colour is pretty muted and they can seem dreary if you don’t find a good way to pull them together, but then I wind up leaving them because you never know when you’re going to need something more neutral like this to tone down or pull back something else that’s a little more crazy. Or you just might need to make something for your Grandma and you know she’ll be all over that sort of thing. And it’s just as well because I might have had to buy a new tenth-of-a-metre of something similar if I didn’t have this hanging around. Anyway, for all my don’t-really-like-it, I really do hope that Suri (the recipient) will like it. And I hope it’ll work well with the quilt she’s planning, since I know she’s been collecting blocks for this quilt for a while.

So guess that’s that! Next up will be a very scary improv block for my Simply Solids group – gorgeous, but scary! I’m not good at improv! – and a birthday block for June, for Miss Aalia, in the brightest most Hufflepuff yellow I can find. (I’m pretty sure I’ve got a few things that’ll work, I just need to choose a block!) I’m hoping to get the birthday block done this weekend, so maybe I’ll have something to show early on next week, and the other… well, I still need to wait for the fabric, but once it gets here, I’m pretty sure I’ll hem and haw over it for a week or two before sitting down to work on it, freaking out about how bad it looks, deciding it doesn’t look that bad really and then questioning every life choice that lead me to quilting in general and bee sewing in specific. And then I’ll probably be happy with it in the end, because one not that improv-y block in a whole quilt can’t possibly stand out that much, right? (Because I’ll confess now: I’ve been looking at photos of waterfalls online and bookmarking ones that look like I might be able to work an improvish pattern out of them…)

See you tomorrow for the Doctor Who Stitch-A-Long! I’m even planning to pre-write my post, so it’ll be up sometime during the day tomorrow! (Still after I get home from work – I want to direct link to the ACTUAL Fandom in Stitches post, so I need to wait until it’s posted, and I don’t like doing that crap on my phone just so I can do it at work.) [ETA: You won’t see the DWSAL “tomorrow” because that’s Tuesday and the DWSAL happens on Wednesday. So, you know. See you Wednesday!]

Plum and June
Linking up to the Let’s Get Acquainted blog link-up!


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Random Saturday

Earlier today I was putting cloth into a hoop to do some embroidery and I noticed that every time I do that, I always flick my finger against the fabric to make it sound like a drum. It’s such a dumb thing, but it gives me this ridiculous pleasure to hear that sound whenever I do it.

Random Embroidery

(Woo! Crazy effects are a great way to hide details you didn’t mean to show! (And sometimes also a lazy way to make a crappy picture look better.)

Today while I worked on that I watched two movies, which is a whole lot of movie watching for one day. I don’t normally find it so easy to park my ass for that long a time period, but these were interesting movies. I’ve decided to watch all the movies the Coen Brothers have written/directed (I’d previously seen Fargo and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and A Serious Man), so I watched True Grit and Burn After Reading. Both enjoyable and exactly as long as I needed to finish the project, so that was convenient.

Yesterday I made this:

Scrappy Stars

This block was for my Simply Solids bee on Flickr, for Karen at Bungalow Bay Quilts. She requested any colours we wanted with a light background. These particular fabrics were originally bought as a set, I think they were coordinates for one of Aneela Hoey’s fabric lines – maybe Little Apples? I’m not really sure, the colours don’t quite seem to line up precisely with any of her lines, but I’m entirely convinced it was one of her’s rather than anyone else’s. Anyway, that hardly matters. I think the block came out pretty well. That mustardy yellow is just interesting enough to keep those pale blues and pinks from being too sweet.

Next up, selecting fabrics for my May Birthday Blocks block, which is a Card Trick block. (Ugh.) And working on a Super Secret Prize for Carly at Citric Sugar, who won an unannounced giveaway I did on my 111th blog post. I’ve selected fabrics, it’s just, you know, doing something with them…