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.

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.

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.)

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!

Stitchy stitch?

1.

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.)

Churn Dashes

3.

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!)

Mug Rug

4.

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!)

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 (close)
Scrappy Bits pouch #2 (mosaic)
Needle-book with Crewel Embroidery Flower
Daisychain ABC Sampler in progress

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…

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.

Finish: Apple Potholders

A while ago I had my 111st post and I’d decided to do a secret giveaway, where anyone who commented would be entered into a draw and the winner was going to win something handmade by me, something probably kind of silly, but hopefully useful, I’d said. The winner was Carly at CitricSugar, and I figure it’s probably time I talk about what I sent her, because the package did arrive earlier this week.

Apple potholder/hot pads!

007

The pattern for these apples was adapted, kind of, from Ayumi Takahashi’s Patchwork, Please! book which came out earlier this year. I think a lot of you have probably read it – it’s been kind of big on the craft blog scene, which makes sense because it’s a cute book, with lots of fun little projects in it. It’s nice that everything in it is do DOABLE, but also so cute and useful while they’re at it. There are quite a few things in this book that I would like to make, which is more than I can saw for a lot of craft/quilting books. I’d decided a while ago to quit buying craft books and start borrowing them from the library first and this is the only book I’ve bought since then without reading it for free first. By and large I wasn’t disappointed by that choice, though I often find the pattern directions slightly mystifying – for instance, when you sew things right sides together, it usually if not always recommends sewing the entire way around, then unpicking part of the stitches to turn it right side out, which… why? – and I mentioned some time ago being frustrated by not being able to easily print the patterns (trying to get them onto a photocopier so that I could eventually blow up the pattern – by 143%, of all the ridiculous amounts) and how eventually I just ripped a page out of the book:

Pattern, Please?

The pattern I ripped out of the book was NOT the apple pattern, but a pattern for a hexagon potholder. Which I never did make. In the book, the apples are actually bibs, but as I have no use for apple bibs (and didn’t think Carly did either), but still wanted to make this ridiculously cute pattern, I converted them to potholders/hot pads.

009

I made the green hotpad first, and it’s truest to the book – it’s the same size as the bib, with the leaf made as suggested. You stitch together a front and back with right sides together, then flip it right-side out, and stitch it down. It was hard to do. I think I stitched around the outside of the leaf three times before I got it close enough to the edge to look good and not super jerky (because I was using a quarter inch foot and couldn’t really see where my stitches were going on that tiny space). So for the next two potholders, I decided to do a lazily embroidered leaf, rather than stitching one down:

Orange Apple Potholder

Not that those leaves are perfect either – I didn’t switch over to a darning foot/FMQ foot, so I had a really hard time making smooth curves with the machine. It was more successful than unsuccessful, but yeah. Not perfect.

For the second and third potholders, I upped the size a little. The green one is big enough to put a small pot on, or a coffee pot or something, but it is a little bit small for a hot pad, so I made the next two a little larger. They only ended up about 1/4-inch bigger all around, but they are a slightly nicer size for a pot holder.

Red Apple Potholder

By and large, I really enjoyed making these. I was glad to have an excuse to use some of that apple fabric (in all three shades I own!) and it can be really satisfying to make small things (quicker turn around, and I’m far more likely actually to finish them!) and I love giving things away and I got to practise a new technique.

Bound, Binding, Unbound

The new technique being bias binding. I’ve made projects before that should have used bias binding and I very stubbornly tried to do them with straight-grain binding (and naturally it looked like crap), but this time I decided to suck it up, princess and get on with it. It was really not so hard to work with, although I had varying levels of success with the dip in the top of the apple. It was great going around curves, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that dip look good. I think they all came out pretty well despite my lack of experience. I had to smush a lot of fabric up under the binding at that point, but it looks pretty smooth I think.

Apple Potholders

Inside of each potholder is a layer of Insulbrite and a layer of batting underneath that. They feel impossibly thin and I barely thought they’d actually function as potholders, but I put a hot casserole dish on one of them for a quite a while, and the counter top stayed cool, so it must have reflected the heat back up as it was suppose to.

Anyway, I think it’s as pretty fun thing to make, and a great way to mod the bib pattern, if you haven’t got little kids to put cute apple bibs on. (I do recommend making them larger than the bib size – add about half an inch all around and it should be big enough to use with most pots.)

Finish: 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.

Work in Progress: February Report

I’m participating in a charm swap on flickr called the Text Me a Charm Swap, wherein 28 Canadians will be swapping 5″ charm squares from various different text print fabrics. (And I don’t have any of the ones people have posted, so far!) I have a smallish stash of text prints, mostly script prints (so pretty!) and a few others, and I cherish them like they were my own children, instead of bits of fabric that sit on a shelf in the closet of my second bedroom.

Texty

Sometimes I feel a little ridiculous about the way I treat fabric. I mean, a lot of us do it, I think. Have special favourites that we want so badly because they’re so beautiful or interesting or whatever, but then don’t ever use them because the right project never seems to come up. Because nothing’s ever good enough, or whatever. What if we ruin it and then we can’t get it any more? I’m like that with my Mendocino fabric, though I finally did cut into it enough to get started on two different projects with it. (Neither of them finished.) One is on my design wall, and can be seen in my blog header. The other is this purple quilt that I’m not working on but should be.

Mendocino Posh Tot quilt top

I think that project will get bumped to March. I still need to press everything. (Well, I pressed the little bit of octopus print that will go on the back. Does that count for much?) And then baste, quilt, and bind. I’m still toying with ideas for quilting – I like the thought of something seaweed like coming up from the bottom, but also the thought of something like moving water. (I’d say waves, but I don’t mean the kind of waves I’d have drawn in a picture as a child, more something that looks like flowing water from above, I guess? I don’t know.) I guess we’ll see.

Anyway, the text fabric. There was, previously, an entire yard of the grey Old Script print (top left of the text picture), but I cut it up into charms for the swap.

Michael Miller's Old Script

It was kind of hard to do – I’ve loved that fabric too much to use it for ages. But it’s ridiculous to have all the fabric I have and not to use it, so I put on my big girl panties, put a new blade on my rotary cutter and got to work. And now it’s en route to the swap mama in BC. I think all that cutting action let loose some of my tension about using those precious fabrics, because I went and pulled out the brown print of the same fabric (Old Script from Michael Miller), and cut off a strip of it.

You see, I suddenly realized yesterday that my parents are coming to visit this coming weekend, and I’d promised my mom back in December that I’d make her a wall-hanging for her birthday (which was in the beginning of February) so that she’d have something to hang on the quilt rack I gave her (along with two holiday themed miniquilts to hang on it) when it wasn’t Christmas or Halloween season. Oops! Where did the time go?

Well, I had my mom up in my craft room (the aforementioned second bedroom, I like to think of it as Dudley’s Second Bedroom, because it’s kind of the room where I store a lot of my crap, but instead of broken toys and electronics and unwanted books, it’s all my crafting supplies) to look through my fabrics to see what she thought would match her house for a more generic wall-hanging, and I was pulling fabrics off the shelf, but then she saw a certain stash of fabrics that I hadn’t really considered, and she fell in love with one of the panel prints. I don’t often buy panels, but the one in question (which I’m not going to show, because I want to finish the project first!) was so beautiful that I couldn’t help buying it. Like the text prints, it was so pretty that I was really afraid to ruin it, and I kept putting off making anything with it.

No more time to put it off, though, so finally I decided that I’d make the middle panel, the only one she wasn’t overly interested by, so that if I did ruin it, then it would ruin the one she liked the least (and if it turned out well, she’d probably forget that it wasn’t her favourite anyway). The panel was a little too narrow for the quilt-rack, so that strip of brown text fabric went straight into use:

Border

I got probably 90% of the project finished yesterday – it’s just putting on the hanging tabs and the binding that’s left, and then I want to add some embroidery, but I’m leaving that till last so that if I don’t have time to finish everything, at least it’ll be the non-essential part that is unfinished, rather than having to tell my mom that her birthday quilt doesn’t have a binding yet.

A thing I'm working on

A little teaser shot. Fingers crossed I’ll get this finished tomorrow, so that it’ll be ready to go home with my mom, come the weekend. Wish me luck! (And hopefully I’ll manage to take a decent photo. I’m having issues with that, lately. Always too much light or not enough.)

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WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced

WIP Wednesday: Not the things I was expecting…

I thought for certain that my work in progress for the day would be the quilt top for my Vintage Modern Wonky Stars quilt (or even better, the basting/quilting rather than just putting it together). And I thought I’d also still be working on the giftie for my recipient at the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on Flickr. And I thought I’d be done with my wall-hanging from last week.

Well, I am more or less done with the wall-hanging from last week. I’m still not totally sold on the centre bit, but this might be as good as it gets. Mom, if you’ve followed a link to my blog, please close it now because this is your Christmas gift and I don’t want to spoil it.

I tried a lot – a lot – of things to solve the poof problem with the middle panel of this wall-hanging. I stitched around the outline of some of the words in a variegated green thread, but the green stitches on the back really, really bothered me. Some were up/down left/right, but others were kind of angled or… I don’t know. It bothered me. I tried coming up with some kind of miniature snowflake pattern that I could stitch in white on some of the white places so it wouldn’t stand out on the front, but wouldn’t be out of place either, but again with the way it’d look on the back. I tried outline stitching the few red places so that they’d blend on the back, but I used one strand of floss too many and it looked too heavy and dark on the front.

Finally I made a kind of peppermint stripe around the outside edge of the cross-stitched area, stitching with white perle cotton, and then weaving in red around it. Which I should have done in reverse because the white shows on the back (a lot, but it doesn’t bother me because it’s just a nice looking square) and the red wouldn’t have.

Christmas hanging close up

I really like the look of it, except that it was a bit pointless because it doesn’t hold down ENOUGH of the poof and, well, the white is totally invisible if you back away from the macro setting on the camera…

Holly Jolly

(I haven’t, by the way, had a chance to take proper photos of this yet, in decent light. We’re all light-shunning vampires at my house, so all the blinds and curtains are closed at all times and this was photographed in my kitchen, by the light of some our energy-saving area lights. I won’t do a proper post about this until after Christmas, with better photos that don’t currently exist.., just because if my mom hasn’t paid attention and is looking at this, at least she shouldn’t get the full-on rundown of it now.)

Anyway, I’m thinking that I just need to suck it up and stitch some snowflakes into the white area, back of the quilt top be damned. It’s going to be hanging against a wall and anyone who looks at the back deserves to have an ugly view for NOT doing the right thing and just admiring the front. Right? Right… I’ll keep telling myself that.

But moving along: Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt. I STILL haven’t finished my last couple blocks. Tomorrow morning. Or Friday. I’m kind of messed up this week because I work a night shift tonight, which I NEVER do, and my head’s all on backwards until I get back to “normal” night shifts, which is every Thursday night and alternating Friday/Saturdays. (This is my weekend off! So fortunately I’ll be able to spend a lot of time crafting. My sister has a funeral/memorial to go to on Saturday, so I’ll have the house distraction free even.)

Vintage Modern block bits and bobs

This is an old photo, with five unfinished blocks. There are only THREE unfinished blocks left and then I can get the top put together. I am toying with the idea of putting the blocks on point, so that the quilt will be larger, but I need to figure out what size backing I’d need if I do that, because I’ve already bought my backing and it takes 2 weeks to ship it in, so I can’t get more. It’s flannel, so I’m not sure if I’d like to piece the back with non-flannel to get it up to size. Has anyone done that? How weird is it, blending the two, on one surface?

Anyway, I’d planned to do those blocks this morning, but then I realized that TODAY was the fifth of December, not tomorrow, and that meant that I had to get my Scrappy Bits swap package in the mail. I hadn’t made it because I couldn’t get a really clear read on my partner’s likes and dislikes, and I kept wibbling over what to make for her. I mentally auditioned about a dozen types of ornaments and I contemplated adapting a particular paper piece pattern to a circle to make a particular type of pouch and I wibbled about colours and I wibbled about fabric types and if to add embroidery and what sort of embroidery and then time was ticking ticking ticking and suddenly I had to have it in the mail. I didn’t have any more time to figure it out!

Modern Scrappy Bits swap package

I’m a little worried it looks lazy and sloppy (I was hoping the frayed edges on the stars would look kind of blurred, as if they were twinkling) and maybe… childish? Somehow the idea didn’t translate as well as I’d hoped. It looked better brainside than out in the world, I think. I mean, I think it would be great for a little girl, maybe, but for an adult woman? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out. (I rather suspected my last swap partner didn’t like what I sent her – she never talked about it on her blog, though she posted a photo with an enthusiastic enough couple lines about it on the swap group.) I hate to think my indecision might have left me to turn out something my partner won’t like, though. So I’m still toying with making something else and sending her a second package. (God I’m good at stressing myself out over things…)

Anyway, that one’s not a WIP at all, is it? Unless I do make something else…

Linking up to:

The Needle and Thread Network

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced