Work-in-Progress Girl


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Random Thursday

Is this supposed to be a link-up or is it just really… Random Thursday? Well, here’s a few random bits and bobs:

1. Next project

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I spent an embarrassingly long time sitting and staring at that one hexie yesterday trying to decide which way to go with it. The Paper Pieces package recommends sewing through the paper, but I want to use them multiple times and so I can’t help thinking it MUST be better for the paper not to sew through. The package does say you can keep reusing them anyway, but don’t they get all damaged in the corners where the stitches go? I don’t know. I’ve been planning today to watch a few videos on YouTube to see if I can decide which looks a more likely route for me.

2. Birdie Sling

Birdie Sling fabrics

Not sold on the denim yarn-dyed Essex Linen. I like it, a lot, but it feels too pale compared to the darker blue, maybe? (Special thanks to Michelle for her contribution to these fabrics being in my stash! :D) I thought from photos online that maybe it would be a darker blue than it is. I think a bag looks top-heavy if you put the darker fabric on top, and I could switch it so that the print fabric is on the bottom, but honestly I don’t want that much of the print on display. The bag on the pattern cover has a darker top band, but I think that large print on the bottom (with the smaller print up top) counter-acts the top-heaviness. I’ll have to think about it. I might have some Kona Nightfall fabric that would probably work (maybe?) and would definitely be darker. I don’t want to have to buy more fabric, in any case.

3. Leftover bits from something I’ve been working on.

Liberty Scraps

Liberty scraps. I’m not a big fan of Liberty (by and large I find their prints to be overly fussy, but there are a few I do like, even though they are fussy little florals), but wanted to see what the Tana Lawn was like to work with. I’m not 100% on board with the thing I made that generated these scraps (photos later – I want to be more happy with it before I share) and I wound up putting interfacing on the fabric because it was too light-weight (compared to the linen I paired it with). It also smelled a bit of bug spray – I have to assume that’s the fault of the seller, not the fabric maker, but I’ve been airing it out and can’t smell it any longer. (Also, I could smell bugspray at work the other day where no bug spray existed, so maybe I had some crossed wires in my brain…)

4. The solids Churn Dash.

Churn Dash

Just need a few more… Well, I need one more row’s worth, plus I’m waiting for 2 that will be sent to me. Love how this is coming together.

5. Some of my problem spots with the FMQ on the Star Surround project. If you have suggestions or advice for avoiding, please let me know!

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There’s lot of little things to nit pick with this one, which I will nit-pick in other photos instead, what I took this photo for was the kind of jerkiness of it. I didn’t get a smooth loop at all on that top one, which was just me needing to stop and get my hands in a better position (but just pushing through anyway). What really bothers me is the stitches just before it goes from a straight(ish) downward line into the loop – you can see a spot where I went from vertical almost immediately to horizontal, and although I mentioned this was a spot where I’d needed to reposition my hands, I ALSO had that same issue in places (sometimes) where I did come to a complete stop, and then started again. Sometimes I could get a smooth restart and then other times I’d go off in a completely different direction than I really “should” have. I KNOW that it’s not going to show much in the grand scheme of things (which is why I didn’t pick out any of my stitches, except where there were thread breaks and the one time I had a toe catcher), but I’d still rather learn to prevent it.

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Okay. Quarter-inch stitches vs sixteenth of an inch stitches. I know this is about the speed of my hands relative to the speed of the machine, but… how should I sew into a curve to keep my stitches smaller and more uniform? I know, practise. Yay, practise. But should I be giving it a little more gas at the beginning of the curve or easing off…? Move my hands faster as I go into that motion? I don’t know. As with all my other little issues, they seemed to hit intermittently – every time I congratulated myself for a particularly well done bit, I’d wind up doing something dumb 😀 (If I hadn’t used such garish fabrics, I’d show you my practise stitches! My best rows were the first two, before I started paying attention to what I was doing, before I remembered to turn my stitch length to zero even!, then they got progressively worse for a bit while I figured out what to do to improve things, and then they started to get better again. My one practise row of stippling is… appalling. There’s a reason I haven’t done it for realsies yet. Definitely need a whole practise sandwich just for that! But I want to go through Leah Day’s method of practising in stages – u shapes, lobster claw shapes, etc. – before joining it all up in a properly random stipple.)

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Okay, this doesn’t show super clearly because I could not convince my camera to focus on the problem spot rather than a spot an inch above it. But that particularly long looking stitch kind of in the bottom middle of the lower loop… My machine skipped a stitch. It only happened a couple times in the whole quilt, but I seem to remember reading something somewhere about what that means, but I can’t seem to find any information on the topic now! (I tried googling FMQ skipped stitch, but that didn’t help. It’s possible I just got bored of looking for answers, though, so I should probably search it again now that I’m not so focussed on getting that quilt done done done!) A couple of my skipped stitches, I went in with a needle and thread and couched the skipped bit (didn’t want to unpick, also didn’t want to leave a loop big enough for a kid’s finger to go into), but I didn’t do it every time. (It was awkward! And I don’t know how stable that couching will be, it’s not like with embroidery where you can secure it really easily on the back.)

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Okay. You can see a bit of this in most of my photos, but the bobbin thread is even more visible in this photo because the darker part of the variegated thread is on the bobbin thread here, with a very pale part on top. I always thought this was a tension issue, but my machine is set at almost the highest tension available. I didn’t adjust it to the higher setting because it didn’t do this all the time I was FMQing, so I wondered if something else was at work?

I don’t know. If any of you do much FMQing and have thoughts or suggestions, let me know! I know it’s not easy to diagnose when you can’t see what I do when I quilt, but I figured someone might have thoughts.

[Also, I’m linking up to Free Motion Quilting Friday at Leah Day’s The Free Motion Quilting Project. If you want to see the finished quilt which has all these flawed bits of stitching on them, you can find it here.]

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Wednesday Works + September Goals

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

Dr Who Quilt-in-Progress

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

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

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

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

Birdie Sling Beginnings

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

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

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