Work-in-Progress Girl


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Little Things

I’ve made a lot of little things in the last little while, so here’s a big photodump of an entry talking about all of them.

I guess I should go back in time to the thing I made longest ago, back in September or October, I think, which was a little mini-quilt, based on the Ravenclaw house crest:

Ravenclaw Mini

I made this for Mari-Ann/RockIslander, who is a Ravenclaw. I took a picture of the Ravenclaw crest from online, blew it up a fair bit, traced around the edges of the eagle and transferred the pattern (in reverse) to fusible web. So then I cut it out (using the sharpest cuticle scissors ever, which are so much more awesome for cutting delicate fabric bits than for mangling finger tips) and fused the bird to the background. It’s actually two layers of fused fabric – the background wing was done separately, so that I could use a darker portion of the fabric, which I hoped would give some depth and sort of visually separate the two wings. Then I stitched around the bird, creating feathers in the wings and tail. (You can see a photo of that here from Mari-Ann – my own picture of the back turned out terribly, but I’d already sent it away and couldn’t try for another shot!) In the crest, the stripes run the opposite direction, but I paper-pieced that portion as well, and forgot to reverse that pattern! Oh well.

I like to think that if I were a Hogwarts student, I’d have been a Ravenclaw myself, but I bet I’d have wound up in Hufflepuff because I was really far too lazy a student to have made Ravenclaw when I was in high school. Hufflepuff sometimes seems to be the fall-back house: you don’t fit anywhere else? Well, Hufflepuff it is, then.

Children's Wash Cloths

About two weeks ago I was clearing out some stuff from the plastic cabinets in my sewing room, and I found a pile of children’s fabrics I didn’t even remember I had. I tend to avoid buying children’s fabrics because I never know what to do with them and I don’t have children, so no particular need for items made using children’s fabric. But I do sometimes buy scrap packs of fabric, and I’ve started to amass a fair collection of children’s prints from those scraps and from the occasional times I’ve bought children’s fabrics to make gifts for friends who are having babies. When I found this particular print, I just got the urge to do SOMETHING with it, but it was a small piece of fabric – about 8 to 8.5 inches wide at the largest point by width of fabric – and I couldn’t decide what to do with it. Then I remembered having seen a tutorial ages ago for making wash cloths out of terry cloth and cotton. Well. Terry cloth I’ve got. Several years ago I had the genius plan to make little hooded bath towels for babies. Which, needless to say, didn’t happen. So yeah. Wash cloths. (I didn’t go look for a tutorial because… it’s just not that complicated.) I’m torn between making wash cloths till the end of time (or just the end of that million miles of terry cloth) to use up all the ginormous pile of children’s fabric I didn’t realize I had and just giving away the fabric. I was thinking about getting rid of it all on Sew Mama Sew’s December giveaway day, but to be honest, there’s such a big pile, I’m not sure I’m going to want to pay to ship it all away!

Liberty Pincushion

This is another slightly older one. Back in September I bought some Liberty of London fabric to try it out and see if I’d like it as much as so many people seem to. I don’t. I find most of their prints to be fussy little florals (which is pretty high up my list of dislikes) and while I’m sure it’s wonderful for clothing, it’s so thin that I can’t understand why (some) people want to use it for quilts. Yes, it’ll last for a while, but it’s kind of delicate stuff: I don’t think it’d stand up to continual use in a bed quilt. Anyway, in the pincusion, I blended the slightly thicker than quilting cotton Essex Linen with the slightly thinner than quilting cotton Liberty Tana Lawn, so I used interfacing on the Liberty fabric to give it a little more heft, which probably did it some good. The edges of the cathedral window, particularly near the bottom ends of it, are kind of loose and open in a way I don’t love, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make them crisper, tighter corners. Maybe putting in a few whip stitches or something to join one edge to the other? (And also, maybe using a thinner fabric than the Essex linen.)

Anyway, you can make your own Cathedral Window pinnie using this pincushion tutorial on YouTube. The first one that I made, above, I made a little larger than the tutorial recommends. She says 10 cm squares for the patchwork back, which is about 4 inches, but I made mine 4.5 inches, and I shouldn’t have because it looks much nicer on the second one, which (though you can’t tell without scale in the photos) I made at the recommended size:

Liberty Pincushion

Okay, the tutorial creates a pretty great pincushion (I think) – I love the cathedral window look and it’s a pretty easy way of creating it – but it’s not the best tutorial out there. The words don’t always line up with what’s being shown in the video and there is one crucial bit of information that doesn’t get talked about that is only shown in text on the sidelines of the video (and if you’re watching the woman’s hands, as I tend to do, you might just miss it). So here’s the most important bit of information: the section that you leave open to turn the pincushion is in the patchwork portion of the sewing NOT when you sew the top to the bottom.

Liberty Pincushion

My stitches are pretty well hidden in the back, but that slightly rippled edge in the top right seam is where I left it open. When I made the first one, I sewed shut the patchwork and left open part of the side, which Did Not Work At All. I had fused on interfacing after stitching the patchwork section, so I had to rip it open and rip through the interfacing, and then restitch it closed by hand after stuffing it. Pain In The Ass.

Anyway, I made this pin cushion (and the following two projects using Liberty fabrics) for Cathy of Blueberry Patch, who won a giveaway prize from me alllllll the way back in August. Yes, it really took me until now to make and send it out. Cathy and I both own shoes made with Liberty fabrics, and I know she’s a fan of Liberty, so when her name was chosen for the prize, I decided to pick up the a Liberty scrap pack (and a couple Fat Eighths) from Pick Click Sew on Etsy so that I could try it out and have some fabric for making the prizes. At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to make with it, but I kind of love all the things I did make.

Liberty Fabric Bucket

The next thing I made was the good old fabric basket from Ayumi’s tutorial at Pink Penguin. This is a great tutorial and a great size and a great way to pull together some of the smaller scraps of Liberty that I’d gotten. The scrap pack had a real mishmash of colours and prints (because I used up all the good red ones in that first pincushion) and I had hard time figuring out how to make them all work together.

Liberty Fabric Bucket

In the end, I just went crazy with the colour combos and didn’t try to match things up at all. I added the little flange of green between the patchwork and linen portions to tie in the lining fabric a little more (especially since there was none of that fresh spring green in the rest of the prints). Some of these prints are just kind of crazy – scroll up to the other photo and look on the far left side at that little carriage print, can you imagine making clothing out of that? who would want to? Anyway, I think it all comes together better than I thought it would, even though there’s nothing in particular tying one print to the next. I used the Essex linen here again, which I think is nice for the base, since it gives it a little extra heft, which helps hold the shape of the basket. (I also put a fair bit of quilting into the basket bottom because I think that helps give it some structure as well. Though really at this small size it doesn’t need too much help. The one larger one I made was too loose and kind of floppy and really could have used a few layers of a nice stiff interfacing.)

Anyway, part of the reason I didn’t have a good grouping of colours to go into this was because I used up most of the red/pink prints on the first pincushion and then I set aside most of the “good” blues (all my favourite ones, anyway…) for making the next item I sent. I don’t have a good photo of this because we’re all light-shunning vampires at my house and I couldn’t find enough sunlight anywhere to photograph it properly, but a Tiny Tree Garland (tutorial/pattern by Noodlehead):

Tiny Tree Garland

I so wish I’d had some blue perle cotton to string these up, but all I had was gold, white, pink (sashiko thread), and red. I went with red because it was the most vivid colour (and white just looked… wrong).

Tiny Tree Garland

I made these using the aforementioned Liberty scraps, but also bamboo felt from TaDaa Studio Felt. I like the bamboo stuff – it’s as soft as nice wool felt, but doesn’t have the allergy issues I know some people have with wool (or the animal ethics issues some vegans have with wool — not that I’ve got that issue myself, but I’ve made things in the past for people who have).

Tiny Tree Garland

I was trying to leave enough space between trees that Cathy could cut it down into a set of seven hanging ornaments if she’d rather use the trees that way (garlands can be awkward! and I couldn’t figure out a NICE way to end the dangling strings – I was sure I had some giant shiny gold beads that I was going to string onto the ends, but I couldn’t find them for the life of me), but looking at the photos, I’m not sure I really left enough string for loops. Anyway, it’d be pretty easy to pull out what’s there and swap in something else. (I did knot the thread on either side of each tree, but… that’s what scissors are for :D)

Anyway, that was my special prize package for Cathy, who received it excitedly yesterday 😀

Okay, jeez. Epic length post here. One last thing:

Flannel-Voile Receiving Blankets

I’ve been all about using things up lately because I’ve been going through another crisis of OMGTOOMUCHSTUFF and these receiving blankets were a way of using up some voile and flannel I had laying around. If I had more flannel in the right colours, I’d use up the rest of my (small) voile stash on blankets just like these. These were made using a Self-binding Blanket tutorial. Mine are a bit smaller than in the tutorial because I only had 1 yd of each cut. I think I cut them in the end to 34″ square for the voile and 30″ square for the flannel, but I can’t quite recall. (I do know neither of the voiles were very well cut yards because I couldn’t get the full 36″ out of them!) Anyway, it came out to about 32″ square for the blankets. They’re not perfect by a long shot – the top-stitching is pretty appalling (I couldn’t find matching thread, so I just went for contrast, but ugh, every flaw is magnified) – but I think they turned out pretty cute anyway. And they’re so lovely and light-weight. Almost makes me want to make a giant bed sized one. (Not that I’ve got a source for extra wide-width flannel or voile, but.)

Okay. 2000 words. That’s longer than some essays I wrote in university. Time to wrap it up.

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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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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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TTMT 83

In which I show a lot of stuff I got in the mail, including my swap package for my Scrappy Bits swap on Flickr, the package I sent away for that swap, some fabric and art from Cori Dantini, and some fabric postcards I made several years ago.

For more about Cori Dantini: (Beautiful) Art for Sale, Prints for Sale, Blog.

Cathy who sent me the swap stuff: Blueberry Patch. (I will write an actual post with actual pictures, hopefully tomorrow. I’m trying to watch all of Mad Men Season 1 in four days, though, and that’s a lot of tv. I’m not getting much else done.)

Okay, when I filmed the video, I hadn’t actually looked at the photos of the postcards I was talking about (the ones I made, not the ones I sent to Aalia) and I was describing them based on several year old memories. This is what they actually look like. Also, there are 5. Who knew.

Sorry for the poor quality photos – if I could go back in time and fix them…

I made it sound in the video as if it had real buttons on it. It didn’t. This was kind of appallingly made, if I were to remake it…. well, no point in thinking about that this many years later. Maybe I should remake it someday though. Hm…

Potions bottles. I didn’t have a lot of fabric back when I made these, so I’m kind of impressed these are kind of potiony looking in any way. I sort of like that green print.

This is how you make a profile without having to figure out a mouth or eyes or ears or anything at all complicated: cover it all with hair.

So blurry! This was my attempt at a cartoony Snape sneer. I wanted something with fairly straight lines because it was easier to cut out and fuse 😀

I guess I’d forgotten there were 5 cards. A not terribly great dark mark.

I don’t remember getting 4 cards in the mail, but maybe I did. I cut out of my video a rather long explanation of the 3rd card I’d gotten, which was a naughty striptease Snape. (His robes opened to flash his boxers, which pivoted away to flash his dangly bits.) It was made of construction paper and tore, so it was thrown away ages ago.